John Berry completed the course in September last year and, in just under a year since, he and his team have managed to turn the idea into a reality. “A forum for sharing ideas among like-minded people with similar values really helped refine my thinking. It both challenged and validated the CareSaver model” he says.
On the SBN Leadership in Sustainable Business course, participants pitch a business idea or sustainable action, which is then discussed and critiqued by the group. John pitched the idea for CareSaver, which is essentially a KiwiSaver product that allows customers to save ethically and consciously, as well as ethical fund returns, CareSaver also supports 17 social and environmental charities.
John says “I’d pitched the idea before and was really surprised at the lack of interest in ethical investing. It was energising to hear about sustainable ways of thinking – there were so many aspects of the course that gave me clarity for CareSaver. It was also awesome helping contribute to the sustainable ideas of others in the group.”
When asked how the course helped get that clarity for his product, he said ““we were encouraged to think aspirationally and ambitiously around our sustainability mission. Those sessions helped me succinctly articulate my aspiration – to offer New Zealand’s most ethical KiwiSaver – and this has become the driver and inspiration behind all our work”.
The SBN Leadership in Sustainable Business Course has field experts sharing tools and knowledge. David Savage, a leadership collaboration specialist, shares tools which help improve relationships and create solutions that meet practical needs. SBN’s own Rachel Brown and Andy Kenworthy share their combined 40 years’ experience in driving sustainability and effective communication. Psychologist and Professor Niki Harre presents strategies on how to inspire sustainability in business, and much more.
“The result for me was a KiwiSaver scheme for people who care about the planet and people, and who want to invest wisely for their retirement. It’s a product that truly affords Kiwis the opportunity to become conscious investors, that is – conscious of getting good financial returns, conscious of protecting the planet and conscious of doing the right thing for people. It’s more than simply avoiding ‘bad’ industries or companies, it is also about choosing positive investment themes (like water, renewable energy and forestry) and focusing investment into ‘good’ companies”.