I’m the Impact and Investment Lead for Nature at the Sustainable Business Network. It’s my job to raise money to help employ these young people, motivate businesses to support the project and get them taking action for nature.
Often businesses want to help, but don't know where to begin or how best to contribute. So it’s important to highlight the host of benefits that come from investing in something like this.
Often, it’s how these benefits impact the local community that gets the most interest.
As Wairoa Wall, one of the Awa Rangers said, “I see now that the taiao reflects the community. Supporting the mana and mauri of the awa enhances the mana and mauri of people and my community.”
This is so important in places like South Auckland, when people often feel so disconnected from ngā hua whakaora o te taiao (the healing effects of nature).
These connections are starting to become part of the business agenda. Forward-thinking business leaders understand the connections between climate, health, community and their own bottom line. Supporting projects like The Puhinui Regeneration Project can enhance their work, their brand, their standing in the community, their business networks and their appeal to customers.
So why aren’t more businesses doing this? What do we need to do to support them?
Our recent research shows that 82% of businesses want to “do the right thing”. They understand investing in nature will help with staff loyalty and retention, mitigate risk, meet consumer stakeholder and market demands and deliver cost savings. But they also said a lack of money, time, support and knowledge was holding them back. For many, it’s difficult to know what an impactful and investment ready project looks like.
SBN is here to help.
From the work we’ve done so far, we can point to ways to overcome these barriers.
- Align your nature initiatives with your current company strategic goals. This will help maximise your overall impact. e.g. Supporting local communities can be done by partnering with a local regeneration project, enhancing staff well-being through spending time volunteering in nature, or supporting employment through nature-based jobs.
- Ensure your work has clearly defined, tangible, measurable outcomes that can be reported and communicated easily.
- Use effective storytelling to lift your nature agenda, engage stakeholders, make the complex tangible and create meaningful connections.
- Look for additional benefits that sit alongside nature regeneration. These might include education, employment, uplifting mātauranga Māori and more. This will help you achieve environmental and social return on investment.
- Create direct engagement and personal connections to the project. This should include volunteering opportunities for your staff.
- Get started! As a leader, get stuck into the work yourself and help engage and inspire your staff. Learn firsthand from nature projects on the ground. Use these lessons to guide your strategy.
We believe that taking action is the most important thing businesses can do right now. You don’t need to wait till you get your strategy perfect or for regulations to hit. You don’t need to find all the solutions. Get started- simply partner with a local regeneration project and begin your nature journey.
SBN’s Regenerate Nature Programme was created to connect and resource businesses to accelerate nature regeneration across Aotearoa New Zealand.