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Sustainable Business Awards showcase NZ’s Finest

Sustainable Business Awards showcase New Zealand’s finest

Winners and finalists of the inaugural national Sustainable Business Awards will be honoured at the Conference Dinner & Awards ceremony on Tuesday the 18th November at the Hilton in Auckland.

This is the first time the Sustainable Business Network have run national awards aimed at celebrating outstanding business performance in New Zealand and highlighting exceptional achievement as an example for others to follow.

“Response to the awards has been great” reports Rachel Brown, CE of the Sustainable Business Network, “the award entries have been of a very high standard which shows how serious business is getting about sustainable practice”.

Business categories are divided into small, medium and large with an overall winner being the supreme business. Some of the entrants into the national awards have included winners from the Bay of Plenty Sustainable Business awards held in May 2003. The purpose of the Awards is to recognise New Zealand businesses that are working towards economic, environmental and social sustainability in order to encourage business role models in this area. Initiatives which will be rewarded include examples of leadership, innovation, waste reduction and efficient resource use, integration of environmental management into everyday business practices, energy efficiency plans or initiatives, employee and stakeholder relationships and community programmes.

“We believe the Sustainable Business Awards provide an excellent opportunity for much needed recognition of the incredibly innovative initiatives businesses are involved in here in New Zealand. By entering the awards companies get the opportunity for support and recognition through media coverage and publicity”, said Sustainable Business Network Chairperson Chris Morrison.

There are three award categories: Small, Medium and Large and applicants will be judged against their entries in each of three parts covering their economic, social and environmental practices. Businesses must complete all sections to be eligible for the awards. A Supreme Award will be presented to the business that shows the most progress towards sustainability over all the categories.

“It is clear from the growth figures supplied that the business case for sustainable practice is compelling” says Rachel Brown, “businesses have highlighted a number of financial benefits resulting from adopting sustainable practice.”

Details about the Awards are available on the Sustainable Business Network website http://www.sustainable.org.nz

The first of the network’s Regional Sustainable Business Awards was held in The Bay of Plenty in May. The awards were held to celebrate local businesses actively involved in sustainability. Winners included Tauranga-based Design Mobel; New Zealand Educational Tours, and Rotorua’s Waimangu Volcanic Valley. These winners are all entered into the inaugural national New Zealand Sustainable Business awards.

“There are many businesses throughout New Zealand who are leaders in sustainability. These awards will celebrate their outstanding performance and provide examples for others to follow,” said Rachel Brown, CEO Sustainable Business Network.

Examples of entries in each category are:

Small A small company creating a lot of interest is Windflow technologies. Based in Christchurch the business has become a central player in establishing a wind turbine manufacturing plant. The company has exponential growth expectations resulting from their focus on providing New Zealand made sustainable energy solutions.

Omaha Blueberries, a certified organic blueberry orchard, based in Omaha north of Auckland began only two and a half years ago with a keen focus on environmental and social responsibility. The company attract interest from oversees markets, short on organic supply, and have noted a 15% increase in focus on domestic and frozen sales.

Medium Rotorua’s Waimangu Volcanic Valley, an innovative tourism company who have a number of leadership initiatives, such as Green Globe 21, a sustainable tourism programme. This is a major tool used for benchmarking the company’s sustainability performance. Allowing them to produce a sustainable development report which reports the company’s performance against environmental, social and economic factors.

A new company on the Auckland scene is BeesOnline whose mission is to create the most innovative and inspirational range of organic honey products in the world. They are doing this through sustainable development framework. With such a strong vision and a determined business owner the company has grown from two staff to 24 staff in less than a year and profitability to match.

Large Untouched World a fashion leader, whose company’s mission is to truly inspire its customers through design and innovation, has found itself in the top 50 of the fastest growing NZ businesses with a growth rate of over 40%. Led by Peri Drysdale, the company has novel initiatives addressing areas such as environmental fabric design incorporating possum control, as well as energy reduction programmes and emissions abatement through tree planting programmes. The company has also set up a foundation which focuses on human spirit growth and development many fine community initiatives.

Carter Holt Harvey – Tasman has a fraught past but has survived under intense scrutiny and is now seeing positive social and environmental outcomes. The company are able to demonstrate an excellent history of credible benchmarking alongside ad tangible commitment to environmental improvement and links with the local community of Kawerau. As a result of this term work the company have now moved beyond compliance issues and entered into much more strategic, long term sustainable activity.

Tauranga-based Design Mobel are also on an continuous growth curve of between 5 and 25%. Initiatives such as their ‘Plant a Tree’ programme, internally focused pollution prevention programmes accompanied with socially based initiatives for staff and community have seen this business become the winner of the Bay of Plenty ‘large business’ category as well as the ‘supreme award’ winner.

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