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Sustainability makes sense, say leading businesses

Sustainability makes sense, say leading businesses

“Sustainable business makes sense.”

That’s the message from leading Bay of Plenty businesses entering this year’s Environment Bay of Plenty Sustainable Business Awards.

The awards, which are the only regional awards of their kind in the country, recognise outstanding sustainable business practice, innovation and sustainable economic development.

Alan Bougen, Sustainable Business Network (SBN) Chairman and Director at Comvita, says the awards are “a great learning experience”. Comvita, a Paengaroa-based natural health products company, will enter for the first time this year. “Entering the awards challenges us to look at how sustainable we are and provides a benchmark from which Comvita can develop ongoing improvements,” he says. “Sustainability is core to the success of our business, it’s part of our business plan and it makes sense.”

Tauranga company Design Mobel won the supreme Sustainable Business Award in 2003. Quentin Quinn, CEO, explained at the recent breakfast launch of the awards how media coverage of their success in the awards last year had opened up export opportunities for them in Germany. Harvey James, winner of last year’s medium sized business category and Managing Director of Waimangu Volcanic Valley near Rotorua, said the awards helped them to maintain their industry leadership in the field of sustainable tourism. Marketing sustainability to their educated, informed and affluent tourists was core to their business, he said. Environment Bay of Plenty is again major sponsor of the awards. Chairman John Cronin says this year’s theme - Sustainable business makes sense - reflects the growing realisation that sustainability is good for business, the environment and the community. “These awards give us an opportunity to support businesses on the path towards sustainability. By doing this, we hope to contribute to the creation of role models for the community.”

To assist businesses to enter the awards the Sustainable Business Network is running free workshops in Whakatane (March 23), Rotorua (March 24) and Tauranga (March 25). SBN Regional manager, Calum Revfem, says the workshops are there to make it easy for businesses to take the first step towards sustainability. “Businesses can learn a lot from entering the awards and they get some great resource material to refer to, as well as an individual written report from the judging panel of sustainability and business experts,” he said.

The awards are supported by Environment Bay of Plenty, the major sponsor, as well as the University of Waikato Management School, TrustPower and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise. Nominations stay open until April 23. Forms are available from SBN 07 9288778 or

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