Are you ready for the Big Shift?

5 August 2014

A big shift is afoot in the business world. Global brands Nike, Unilever and Marks & Spencer have already caught on and very soon this groundswell of change will reach NZ. Find out which businesses are partnering with us and how you can get involved.

The Big Shift

‘The Big Shift’ (#theBIGshift) is an approach to business developed by Forum for the Future (UK), one of the world’s leading sustainability organisations. It’s based around a series of practical actions that can shift a system – a city, a sector or an economy – onto a more sustainable path.

Sure, but I’m just part of one business, we hear you cry. How am I supposed to shift a whole system? That’s the central premise of The Big Shift – the actions of a combination of businesses, large and small, will together effect change for the better. No one organisation can make a genuine shift towards a more sustainable future on its own.

The Sustainable Business Network (SBN) is partnering with Forum for the Future to bring The Big Shift to New Zealand. It will be launched at our national conference, Project NZ: #theBIGshift, at AUT University in Auckland on 17-18 September. We’re adopting a collaborative approach, working with businesses around the country to identify the issues around creating sustainable systems before working on commercially viable solutions specific to New Zealand.

#theBIGshift model comprises a set of simple, practical steps to map problems, identify solutions and bring about change. We’re in the early stages of working with our members to tailor the approach to New Zealand businesses, so we can come up with a framework best suited to the New Zealand business environment.

Our partners

Many businesses around the country have already come on board, and we’re delighted that the following businesses are partnering with us in the four work streams we’ve identified as being critical for #theBIGshift in New Zealand:

  • Accelerating the circular economy in New Zealand – Partners: Inzide Commercial and Philips; Support partners: Fulton Hogan, Apex Insurance, Nelmac and WasteMinz
  • Embedding social value into business models – Partner: Hubbards; Support partner: Chorus
  • Accelerating smart transport in New Zealand – Support partners: Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, Opus, AECOM and Fulton Hogan
  • Restoring New Zealand’s food system – to be announced.

We will be showcasing the progress of these pioneers in business sustainability – so keep a look out for upcoming stories in our newsletter with insights into how they are achieving results. If you’re interested in partnering with us in any of these work streams please get in touch to find out more.

The BIG Think

SBN will be kickstarting #theBIGshift through a national roadshow called The BIG Think. We’ll be putting heads together to brainstorm ideas, challenges and opportunities in each of the four work stream areas and we’d love anyone with an interest to join us. Everyone is welcome – anyone who has ever reluctantly thrown something in the rubbish bin, wondered where your food has come from, thought your employer could do better, or been stuck in traffic – your opinion is valuable.

The BIG Think is your chance to find out what’s happening in your city right now: what are the challenges and where are the opportunities? When we have some answers we can start to work on new solutions as part of #theBIGshift approach to business innovation. We’ve already visited Auckland and Wellington and the next stops on our tour are:

If you’d like to come along to these free events or find out more about #theBIGshift please contact us on The events will be followed by the NZI National Sustainable Business Network Awards Roadshow, from 5-7.30pm. All attendees at The BIG Think are welcome to stay on for this networking event and to hear about our Awards.

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Thank you to our Project NZ Partner: