WATER – Could your firm give more back to New Zealand’s landscape?

9 May 2017

Sustainable Business Network members help lead the effort to restore New Zealand’s waterways. Exhibit Group is one of several firms that have backed this initiative further. Could your business be next?

The Million Metres Streams project is SBN’s flagship conservation initiative. Each member automatically donates 5% of their membership fee to SBN’s riparian planting scheme, Million Metres Streams. The project was created in 2014. Its mission is to crowdfund the replanting of one million metres of New Zealand’s waterways with native plants and trees. This helps filter pollutants from reaching the water. It creates shade. It re-establishes natural wildlife habitat both in the water and beside it. It demonstrates that Kiwis care about the state of our landscape, and together we can do something about it.

The project has already raised enough to fund the replanting of 17,000 metres of waterway. The work has supported the work of thousands of volunteers in 16 projects up and down the country. It is attracting support from many New Zealand businesses – SBN members and beyond.

Exhibit Group has been around for more than 30 years. It is a New Zealand owned and operated exhibition, events and trade display business. As part of a three year partnership, Exhibit Group is supporting Million Metres with a stunning state-of-the-art portable display. This is being used to help raise awareness at the many events the team attends each year.

Georgina Hart, project lead, describes the impact this has.

“It completely sets the scene when we are out and about,” she says. “It definitely helps to get us noticed and talked about, which is extremely valuable to us.”

And you can help too, while getting your own display needs sorted. Exhibit has also generously agreed to donate 10% of the total invoice value from any SBN member buying display materials from them back to Million Metres.

Craig Joynt has owned Exhibit Group for nearly 18 years. Over that time he has seen a lot change in how sustainability is viewed. But for him being a sustainable business is simply about doing the right thing.

“There is definitely a move to do what we can,” he says. “We are in an industry where there is no completely clean and green way to make some of the products we sell. But there is a cleaner and greener way. Our approach is to use the very best. We make things that last and are recyclable.”

Exhibit Group joined SBN and began supporting Million Metres last year.

“We were looking for way to put something back,” says Craig. “We get calls every week asking for some sort of donation. We wanted to do something meaningful where we could make a substantial contribution. We didn’t want to just give something to one thing one year and something else the next.

“Over the years we have worked extensively with the agricultural sector. We have been heavily involved in Field Days and a lot other aspects of their business. This made Million Metres a really good fit for us. On a personal level I grew up in this country, I grew up swimming in its streams. I am disappointed that they are now not healthy to swim in.”

The partnership with Million Metres helps Exhibit Group motivate its staff and customers through positive action. The breath-taking Million Metres display tours the country, showcasing the quality of the firm’s work.

It’s successful interchanges like this that make the increasing number of business partnerships with Million Metres successful.

Craig says: “It’s important that it works for both of us. That’s what makes it sustainable. If a partnership like this doesn’t work for everybody then it won’t last.”

Georgina says: “Business support for conservation is a core component of Million Metres. We are building a reputation for adding value from the business to the stream, and back again.”

If you would like to know more about business support for Million Metres, contact georgina@sustainable.org.nz