PROJECTS – Collaborate with SBN to transform your sector

26 April 2017

The Sustainable Business Network project work is accelerating. We want you to be part of it.

Do you want to make sure your business sector thrives in times of rapid change, but feel you lack the necessary influence? SBN is focused on bringing key players together to create projects to solve issues that can’t be solved alone. We use a system innovation framework connected to key work areas. Our work is tested, created and then supported by the power of our 550 member businesses. SBN has more than 15 years’ experience of sustainable business in New Zealand. Our team has decades’ worth of expertise across the sustainability movement and connections with organisations internationally

Working together, we can make shift happen.

SBN currently has active projects in five key areas. These can all be found in our new projects section on our website. There is more in development and behind the scenes. And we are always open to new ideas on how our network can work together.

The Smart Procurement project

We are collaborating with New Zealand businesses to promote and embed sustainable procurement practices for both buyers and suppliers. 

Sam McGlennon is project lead.

“We’ve brought together a Leaders Group of some of the biggest business-to-business purchasers in the country. The Group will develop support resources to make sustainable procurement easy and intuitive for NZ businesses. The aim is to shift entire industries towards more sustainable practices, and to deliver recognition and commercial success for leading businesses on sustainability.

“We want all buyers to be able to easily adopt and enact sustainable procurement principles. By doing so, they not only promote their brand values and purpose, but also support NZ’s innovators for sustainability.”

There will be many ways to get involved in this project, whether as a buyer or supplier. Email Sam at to be brought into the conversation.


BikeNow! is part of SBN’s work to help New Zealand make the switch to smarter transport. In some of our busiest urban areas cycling can be a real boost to productivity. It also reduces the unnecessarily large contribution transport makes to New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

BikeNow! is about helping New Zealand businesses support cycling among their staff and visitors.

Phil Jones is the project lead.

“Studies show regular cyclists are healthier, calmer and more alert. They can save time in cross-town meetings by not having to deal with traffic or parking. Getting staff on to bikes for short trips cuts down wear and tear and fuel costs in your vehicle fleet. And you are doing your bit for the planet.

“There’s currently new investment going into cycleways all over New Zealand. Traditional pedal power is great, and now electric bikes and scooters have developed to the point where they are becoming a highly cost effective no-sweat option with plenty of range. So there’s never been a better time to consider how this could fit into your business’ transport mix. And, providing great facilities for your commute cyclists is important too.”

Get involved in the project by contacting Phil ( Take action to make cycling an easier option around your workplace. Install bike storage, showers and lockers. Add bicycles or e-bikes to your company fleet. Subsidise bike buying for your staff. Provide a back-up taxi, car share or Uber service for bad weather and emergencies. Perhaps most importantly get senior staff on their bikes to inspire the rest.

The Circular Economy Model Office

A circular economy is one in which the lifecycles of all materials are maximised, optimised and continued indefinitely through continuous reuse.

SBN is working to apply these principles to office construction and refurbishment in New Zealand.

James Griffin is the project lead.

“Construction and demolition waste contributes about half of what New Zealand throws away each year,” he says. “In our finite world it is now vital we decouple economic growth from these major sources of resource depletion. This requires a radical shift away from the current linear ‘take-make-waste’ approach.”

The idea is to make a sustainable approach more attractive. This will increase the competitive range of appropriate products and services. It will increase opportunities to recover the cost of products through on-selling, or buy back with the manufacturer.

SBN has already created the first freely available Circular Economy Model Office Guide. Download it now to reduce waste and cost, as well as providing a platform for creativity, in your commercial build or refurbishment. Then share your success with us.

Whether you are a business refurbishing or building an office, or if doing so is your business, you should get in touch with

Good Food Nation

SBN is working towards a future where every meal in New Zealand features food that is good for the people, our society and our natural environment.

SBN defines Good Food as legal, safe, healthy and nutritious. It should contribute to the local economy. It should reduce waste and inefficiencies while protecting water, soil and biodiversity. It should be easy for consumers to find out where their food comes from, how it is grown and how it is cared for.

To make this a reality SBN is working with leading New Zealand food businesses on pre-consumer manufacturing food waste. We’re researching waste flows, quantities and types of waste. We are researching the feasibility of introducing solutions like anaerobic digestion to turn this waste into a resource. This work is being led by James Griffin. (

SBN also runs The Good Food Boost. This is an annual competition where new good food businesses can win expert mentoring. In 2018 it will be based in Wellington and led by our regional co-ordinator Laurie Foon. (

Since 2014 13 groups from around the country have come together as The National Good Food Network, led by SBN. This includes organisations working on food inequality and social inclusion. SBN CEO Rachel Brown is looking for businesses interested in taking this work further. (

Rachel says: “There are few issues more fundamental than food. New Zealand is known as a country which grows and sells great food. But like most countries in the world a lot of this food is wasted. That waste is a cost to the growers or manufactures, to the planet and importantly a lost opportunity to redirect this otherwise good food into the hands of those who need it.”

“At the same time things like diabetes and other issues of malnutrition are still shockingly common in this country. Our current systems are inefficient and wasteful. By refocusing on the production and distribution of otherwise wasted good food we can tackle these challenges, while creating a healthy flow of good food to low income families.”

Million Metres Streams

SBN is working towards a future in which New Zealand’s waterways are restored as vital havens for wildlife. We believe it should once again be normal to swim in them and drink from them.

All SBN members automatically donate 5% of their annual membership fee to Million Metres. It is a way for all SBN members to practically demonstrate their intent to protect and restore New Zealand’s landscape.

Million Metres works in partnership with the Department of Conservation. The project has developed The site is New Zealand’s first crowdfunding tool for conservation and landscape restoration. We help landowners and local volunteers set up and run crowdfunding campaigns to raise money to replant native trees and plants along New Zealand waterways. The vision is to do this for one million metres of waterway across the country by 2026.

This is tackling New Zealand’s water quality crisis in a number of important ways. It helps stabilise the banks of the waterway and reduces erosion. It helps filter pollutants from agriculture, industry, housing and roads. It provides shade to the water. It restores the habitat of waterway plants and animals. It helps focus all our minds on protecting and restoring New Zealand’s biodiversity.

Million Metres projects partner with local authorities for technical, financial and administrative support. Million Metres’ experienced marketing team promote the projects in the media and on social media. We create and run innovative promotional campaigns for our projects with our business partners. This boosts the efforts of each project’s own networks.

The project is led by Georgina Hart.

“Million Metres has come at the right time with the right tools,” she says. “Its unique combination of public and business support has proven to be highly effective. We have so far raised enough funds to plant more than 16km of waterway.”

“But we have a lot of work ahead of us. It’s going to take commitment from everybody in business and beyond to rejuvenate New Zealand’s waterways for generations to come.”

Businesses are stepping up to offer Million Metres additional support. This includes donations to local stream planting projects, gifts in kind, product-donation promotions, staff volunteering and more. In return SBN provides bespoke packages of branding and media support. This ensures supportive businesses gain maximum value from their investment in the project.

To find out more, contact

Rachel adds: “SBN’s project work is something everybody in the network can be proud of. It is our project partners and our members that make it all possible. We have more very exciting work in the pipeline, so stay tuned or get in touch. We are also always keen to hear from members about what they would like to work on, or what SBN should be pursuing.”