AWARDS – Oh What A Night!

By jay

Nearly 600 people attended New Zealand’s top sustainable business event last Thursday. It was a celebration of the ingenuity Kiwi businesses are applying to the challenges of our times.

Shed 10 on Auckland’s seafront played host to the gala black tie dinner. It was MC’d by television personality Te Radar. Guests were greeted by live jazz. Finalists and friends sat down to a specially created low waste menu from Auckland’s Great Catering Company. It featured lashings of fresh ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables that might otherwise be unused and free range chicken from Freedom Farms. Drinks came from Yealands Family Wines, Hallertau Brewery, The Mussel Inn and Phoenix Organics. The event was carefully designed as a low waste affair. Sustainability advisors GreenShoot Pacific confirmed that 99 per cent of all waste from the evening was diverted from landfill.

The winners were the centre of everybody’s attention. But the evening was also a chance to take stock of New Zealand’s place in the worldwide movement towards sustainable business. And the recent earthquakes were front of mind, with several SBN members affected.

The night was captured on film, thanks to Borderless Productions.

In her introductory speech, SBN CEO Rachel Brown said: “The speedy ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change recognises the urgency and desire for governments, councils, and business to actively address climate change. Disruption is spreading across most sectors. The move away from fossil fuels is closer.

“Social and inter-generational inequality is the story of the left behind. It’s also part of the disconnection between generations. Both are creating tensions around the world that many didn’t see coming. It’s resulting in disruption and decisions like Brexit and Trump. It’s something business needs to address.”

Media interest both during and after the event has been high. The event’s hashtag trending second on Twitter in New Zealand during the proceedings. Award winners Ceres Organics and Ecotricity were interviewed on NBR radio. Barry Coates went live on Radio NZ on Sunday morning. Regional papers around the country covered their local award winners.

It was a particularly exciting night for brothers Al and Mark Yates. They are both directors at Ecotricity. The company won both the EcoPro Cleaning Co Community Innovation Award and the Ricoh Mega Efficiency Innovation Award. Mark is also a trustee of the Better NZ Trust. The Trust won the Cadence Communications Communicating Sustainability Award. And he is part of ChargeNet, highly commended in the Renewables Impact Award.

After supreme winner Air New Zealand had received its award it was left to Te Radar to sum up how best to continue the progress being made.

“Have the difficult conversations.” He said. “Bring everybody in, because we all want the same thing, a great country for our kids.”