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NZ Engineering Champions Sustainability Debate

NZ Engineering Champions Sustainability Debate

The Institution of Professional Engineers is hoping to ignite the sustainability debate by inviting Hunter Lovins, a leading American advocate of sustainable development for over 25 years, to give the IPENZ Newnham Lecture and be the keynote speaker at the IPENZ convention later this month in Christchurch.

"IPENZ hopes to inject new ideas on sustainability into the national debate as sustainability has always been an area championed by the engineering profession." Said John Gardiner, Deputy Chief Executive of IPENZ.

"Many sustainability subjects that are now regarded as mainstream were initiated by engineers, so having a speaker of Hunter Lovins caliber should spark some national debate," he said.

The IPENZ Newnham lecture is given annually on the first day of IPENZ's annual convention, this year sponsored by Meridian Energy. It is an opportunity to illustrate to the public the contribution engineers make to society - and a forum for engineers to raise professional issues.

Lovins', co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute, an environmental think tank, and more recently, Director of the Natural Capitalism Group, calls her approach natural capitalism because it's based on the principle that business can be good for the environment. She will discuss how leading-edge companies are practicing "a new type of industrialism" that is more efficient and profitable, while saving the environment and creating jobs. She also believes companies that pursue well-designed sustainability initiatives achieve increased profitability and greater competitive advantage in their industries.

Lovins also consults for public-policy makers and capitalists internationally. She works on a wide range of issues linking energy, the environment, development, and security, and has co-authored many books including the successful Natural Capitalism. Lovins' has been the recipient of numerous awards including Time Magazine "Hero for the Planet". She shared a 1982 Mitchell Prize, a 1983 Right Livelihood Award ("alternative Nobel Prize"), the Nissan Prize at ISATA, and the Onassis Foundation's first Delphi Prize, one of the world's top environmental awards.

Past Newnham speakers have been Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir William Pickering.

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