SBN’s recent conference, Project NZ: The Big Shift, looked at how we can transform New Zealand to a model sustainable nation. Here are five simple learnings from the conference we can all take on board.
Project NZ: The Big Shift, SBN’s 2014 conference, launched a new approach to business innovation in New Zealand which is already used by global brands such as Nike, Unilever and Marks & Spencer. The Big Shift uses a range of tools to identify practical ways of bringing about change. It was created by SBN’s UK partner Forum for the Future.
Five key themes emerged throughout the conference speeches, master classes and workshops, representing ways we can all help bring about change.
- Work together.
These issues are too big for companies to tackle on their own, so collaboration between individual businesses, between business sectors, and between business and government is essential in order to shift systems onto a more sustainable path.
- Invest in Generation Y.
In order to plan for the long term, businesses need to take into consideration the new trends and issues driving the younger generation (those under the age of about 35). These can be integrated faster if we can encourage the wealthier ‘baby boomer’ generation to invest in new businesses whose purpose is social-based.
- Remember what it’s all about.
Not solely about profit, the future for business is all about Purpose and Profit. We need to bring a set of values to the way business operates. In a post-recession world, there is evidence that new values are driving consumer choices and behaviours, and business needs to respond to that
- Keep telling stories.
Story telling is an incredibly important part of inspiring change. The more people who share their sustainability stories, the more mainstream it will become. Everyone needs to contribute to the conversation.
- Make your mark as a leader.
Inspirational leaders are crucial in creating change. They need to be bold and take risks to bring about transformation.
The Sustainable Business Network (SBN) will be putting The Big Shift into action in New Zealand in four work streams, to help bring about change for the better:
- The circular economy (to drive massive efficiencies of resources for zero waste)
- Smart transport (to move away from fossil fuels)
- Social value in business (to address social issues and inequality in business)
- Restoring NZ’s food system (to improve environmental and social conditions in food).
SBN is producing an Opportunities Report, which will detail the main opportunities identified in each of the four work streams based on discussions at the Project NZ Conference and Big Think events held around the country. The Report will be launched at events in seven cities around New Zealand in November and December 2014. It will form the launch pad for the next stage of The Big Shift – to take the opportunities to scale.
Want to be involved?
We’d love you to be involved in our four work streams. If you’re interested in finding out more please contact: James Griffin (circular economy), Julia Jackson (social value), Emily Dowding-Smith (restorative food) or Matt Ayers (smart transport).