We’re making some changes and focusing on impact!

By Rachel Brown

The announcement that we’ll start moving to Level 2 from tomorrow was great news for many! At the same time I have to admit that there are some aspects of the lockdown I’m going to miss like the quieter, less hectic, way of life.

I have felt more productive and I have really enjoyed connecting more with my neighbourhood and nature. I have also loved seeing the positive impacts of our reduced emissions and knowing that Papatūānuku was being given a chance to breathe.

But, I know I am lucky. The lockdown has been very challenging for many businesses, and their staff, and, sadly, some won’t be reopening over the coming weeks. It’s really important that the kindness, love and generosity we’ve shown each other, and nature, over the past two months continues as we enter this new phase.

As we have been saying over the past weeks, the silver lining to Covid-19 is the huge opportunity to build back better.

For SBN 2020 was always going to be an important year for progressing sustainability in Aotearoa. The global pandemic hasn’t changed that. In fact it has really highlighted the need to change some of the ways we live, work and play so that we’re giving back more than we take. In simple terms that’s what regeneration is all about.

Last year the SBN Board directed us to focus on an exciting and ambitious regenerative strategy that delivers tangible impacts in three key areas – climate, water and waste.

The whole SBN team is now focused on those issues. Here’s how we’re doing that.

Collaborating with influencer organisations on a series of systems change projects

We’ll be investing in impact for good. For example, last week we launched our Climate Action 20/25 programme that’s designed to help smaller businesses take action on climate change. If you missed it you can read about it here and watch the video here.

We’re tackling the issues of waste through our circular economy programmes that focus on plastic packaging and product stewardship. For water, we have our Million Metres Streams Project, which is helping restore New Zealand’s waterways, and our project to protect and restore the mauri, the life-giving essence of the Hauraki Gulf.

Capability building

We already have a reputation for upskilling businesses in sustainability and helping organisations and individuals to take action. We’ll be increasing that support through our Advisory Service, leadership course and a diverse range of capability training. As a result of the lockdown we’ve been running more online training with experts from the SBN team and our network. This has allowed us to reach a much wider audience. We’ve had a great response and, as a result, most of our training will continue to be hosted online. We have just created a series of new and updated resources covering some of the key sustainability topics to help your business. And, here’s a summary of all our top sustainability tips to help you through these challenging times.

Encouraging businesses to make sustainable choices when buying services and products

We’ll be reinvigorating our procurement work to ensure that real progress happens through actively favouring sustainable businesses. We will focus on building strong business to business activities with the aim of making our network into a one-stop-shop and Aotearoa’s largest sustainable supply chain. Check out our Sustainable Business Directory to see which companies are already involved.

Increasing our reach and engagement

You will notice our communications are going to be really targeted. We’ll be focusing on the impact of our work and that of our network, so you can see the results of our collective action. Our communications team will be putting more energy into sharing inspiring case studies, resources and training to encourage the mainstream to be a part of building back a fairer and more regenerative nation. We’ll be showcasing the best of the best through our annual sustainability awards. Again, this is an event that we’re looking to host online rather than bringing 700 people together into one room – we want our awards to be seen nationally and internationally. After all, the world needs solutions New Zealand can offer!

Finally, we know you’re busy so we want to avoid overloading your email inbox – instead we’ll share our news via a monthly round up of all you need to know. You can subscribe here.

Thanks for the contribution you make to sustainability through your own businesses and for continuing to invest in our work. We couldn’t do it without you and we really do appreciate your support.