Scion rises to climate change challenge

Te Whare Nui o Tuteata

Climate change and its effects are at the forefront of minds nationwide and globally following Cyclones Gabrielle and Hale and long-standing Crown Research Institute Scion is rising to the climate change challenge.

Scion is one of seven Crown Research Institutes carrying out research for the benefit of New Zealand. It has a key role to play in shaping new approaches to sustainable land use, low emissions manufacturing, and healthy prosperous communities.

The Rotorua-based institute is leading the way with research that supports the growth of our forestry sector and the development of new technologies using trees and other renewable materials to create environmentally friendly products.

Scion chief executive Julian Elder

“Climate change poses big challenges but it is also an opportunity to do things differently, take action and adopt circular bioeconomy approaches,” chief executive Dr Julian Elder says.

Scion’s work aims to both mitigate climate change and create prosperity from this disruption. Scion’s Strategy to 2030 is all about making the most of the massive renewable resource on our doorstep – the forests and forestry that provide multiple benefits for New Zealand.

The forestry and wood processing sector is a key economic contributor. In 2021 it contributed $6.7 billion in export earnings. “Forests will be at the heart of a low-carbon biological-based future and reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a scale unmatched by any current technologies,” Elder says.

Energy & Resources Minister Hon. Megan Woods, senior scientist Dr Suren Wijeyekoon, and general manager for Forests to Biobased Products Florian Graichen celebrated with Ecogas at the opening of their bioenergy
plant following Scion’s
pilot-level research.

Research highlights across the organisation so far this year have included research into new bio resources for packaging and waste, a colour-changing and flexible 4D printing filament, development of an algorithm to help predict plant embryo germination success and using waste textiles to reinforce roading.

Scion is also tackling issues that would help us move towards a circular bioeconomy and mitigate climate change such as research to introduce cleaner technologies into the shipping industry, pilot-level research that culminated in Ecogas launching New Zealand’s first commercial scale plant to turn food waste into low-carbon bioenergy , and developing biodegradable nursery pots as an alternative to the estimated 350 million plastic pots used in New Zealand nurseries each year.

This year, Scion has continued to drive innovation and growth from New Zealand’s forestry, wood product and wood derived materials and other biomaterial sectors to create economic value and contribute to beneficial environment and social outcomes for New Zealand, Elder says.

“A forest-based circular bioeconomy is a $30 billion annual economic opportunity and our science and research will lead the transition to a circular bioeconomy and put New Zealand firmly on track to a sustainable, productive, and inclusive low-carbon future.”

Scion has a reputation as a world-leader in forest industry research and technology development and has more than 350 staff across its headquarters in Rotorua and offices in Christchurch and Wellington.





Beyond Your Bank: Rapson Loans and Finance

Looking for expert financial advice and Tailored Solutions that go beyond what your bank can offer? Look no further than Rapson Loans and Finance....

Maybe Kiwis can really fly

Off the back of the record-breaking 2022 Year Book our team felt 2023 was destined to break even more records. Little did we know back in January the challenges that would be confronting local businesses by mid-2023

Be bold when you tell your story

There’s no doubt 2023 has been a tough year for many. After putting Covid-19 largely behind us – reaping the rewards of our borders reopening and businesses getting back on their feet – we’re facing a new set of challenges.