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NZ Sustainable Business Conference, Auckland

NZ Sustainable Business Conference, Auckland, October 24 -25

August 15, 2002

Walking the Talk is key theme at October NZ Sustainable Business Conference, 24th & 25th October - Waipuna Hotel and Conference Centre, Mt Wellington, Auckland

The newly launched programme for an October sustainability conference shows that New Zealand businesses are coming of age in this important growth area (see

Instead of listening to overseas examples of sustainable best practice, the New Zealand Sustainable Business conference programme promises an interesting range of local examples. A number of business leaders will explain how others can transform their businesses into sustainable organisations.

The line-up for the two-day conference programme includes leading sustainability advocates from the four supporting organisations - the Auckland Environmental Business Network (AEBN), New Zealand Businesses for Social Responsibility (NZBSR), the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) and the New Zealand Business Council for Ethical and Sustainable Development (NZBCESD).

Chris Morrison, Chair of the Auckland Environmental Business Network, says the conference will appeal to a wide range of business audiences: "We have developed a programme that will be useful for both small and medium sized enterprises, as well as the larger corporate. This event provides a timely opportunity to share experiences in the area of environmental and social business practice. Sustainable business practice is a key part of sustainable development, so the emphasis will be on exploring practical examples.

"Some say New Zealand has a long way to go in the area of sustainable development. While I support this view, there are many good of examples of progress that has already been achieved in both large and small businesses across the country. The Auckland Environmental Business Network, which is part of a national environmental business network, believe this conference will provide concrete solutions to issues raised in the new government report Creating Our Future: Sustainable Development for New Zealand."

The government report, recently released by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, warns that broad-based sustainable development programmes are urgently needed to integrate economic, social, and environmental growth. The report also urges the Government to set up an advisory body to monitor sustainable development progress free from political interference, and to urgently complete the "sustainable development strategy" it proposed last year.

All supporting organisations agree that sustainable development is about businesses taking responsibility for the impact of their organisation on their community and the environment, ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and for generations to come. This concept embraces a triple bottom line approach, where businesses complete annual reports outlining their environmental, social and ethical responsibility commitments.

The conference programme line-up contains a range of keynote local speakers, including: Jude Mannion (who will give an challenging perspective on corporate philanthropic partnerships between business and not-for-profits, describing how she is helping both sectors to 'speak a common language' as founder of the Robin Hood Foundation) and Peri Drysdale, founder of the Snowy Peak fashion house and the 2002 South Island Business Woman of the Year. Jude Mannion, who has run several multinational companies including Elizabeth Arden, Hallmark and Kellogg's, is not the only keynote speaker to bring the global perspective.

Globally accepted business and professional ethics is the topic of a third keynote speaker - Dr Simon Longstaff, Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre in Australia. The centre is an independent non-profit, non-political organisation that encourages the process of integrating ethical considerations into the strategic thinking of the business community. Dr Longstaff will speak on the need for business and professional ethics in the management community. He will draw on his expertise as the inaugural president of the Australian Association for Professional and Applied Ethics, as a Fellow of the World Economic Forum and as a director of a number of Australian and multinational companies.

Whether local or overseas speakers are featured, the conference theme will ensure participants will be given practical 'how to' descriptions of how other organisations are 'walking the talk' of triple bottom line thinking.

Dick Hubbard, Chief Executive of Hubbards Food and Chair of New Zealand Businesses for Social Responsibility (NZBSR), says: "Over the past few years, questions after my presentations have switched from why have sustainable business practice to 'how to'. This conference succinctly answers the 'how to' question, by giving practical examples of how to 'Walk the Talk'. Sustainable business practice is an investment in a business and I have no doubt that some of the concepts and techniques presented will strengthen and benefit the business activities of those attending the conference," Dick Hubbard says.

Dr Rodger Spiller, Executive Director of NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development and the NZCBESD, echoes this view: "This conference programme shows that New Zealand has come a long way on its sustainable development journey, and the early adopters in the business community have an important contribution to make in terms of inspiring others. I'm sure that business attendees will be inspired to follow the lead of others."

He says the business case for sustainable business is increasingly recognised internationally, as well as locally.

Examples of award-winning organisations, which have featured in the Brookfield's Top 200 Business Ethics awards and the Rotary Business Ethics awards, will be profiled at the conference. The conference will also showcase other best practice examples in New Zealand, including award-winning examples from the New Zealand Council for Ethical and Sustainable Development's research.

Dr Spiller concludes: "A number of examples of New Zealand's leadership in sustainable development will be showcased at the Johannesburg UN World Summit on Sustainable Development at the end of this month. Prime Minister Helen Clark, Stephen Tindall (Chairman of the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development) and myself will outline New Zealand's ability to assist the world in understanding this global business trend. We will then give examples of the experience of various NZ businesses exporting Kiwi know-how on environmental management, innovation and responsible entrepreneurship."

For further information on the NZ Sustainable Business conference, contact:

Chris Morrison Chair, Auckland Environmental Business Network Director Phoenix Organics Tel. (09) 836 2272 - Ext 3 OR Dick Hubbard Chair, NZ Businesses for Social Responsibility Managing Director, Hubbard Foods Tel. (09) 634 2510 OR Dr Rodger Spiller Executive Director, NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development Executive Director, NZ Business Council for Ethical and Sustainable Development Managing Director Money Matters Mobile (021) 679 779

For background information and pics, contact: Angela Penteado, Stratcomm Consulting Ltd. Tel. (09) 379 3000 Mobile (021) 46 00 47 Email:

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