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Sustainability Programme Praised by Local Businesses

31 January 2013

Sustainability Programme Praised by Local Businesses

An innovative business programme which focuses on educating business owners about strategic sustainable practices in their businesses was praised by participants at the graduation ceremony in Palmerston North last night.

The Sustainable Business Programme is offered in partnership with Vision Manawatu, UCOL, the Palmerston North City Council, and the Manawatu District Council. The programme focuses on encouraging businesses to drive sustainable practices in their workplaces, with an emphasis on sustainability of profit, people and planet.

Last night, the 10 Manawatu businesses that have completed the programme over the last two years came together to celebrate the positive changes they had made in their businesses and to encourage others to take part. All graduates told stories of beneficial change and growth in their businesses as a result of taking part in the programme.

For many of the graduating businesses, the programme was transformational and encouraged them to critically look at every aspect of their business and make changes that would support their activity for years to come. The programme was described by participants as “critical for business success”, “inspiring”, and “highly practical”.

The Sustainable Business Programme is offered through the Centre for Sustainable Practice, a business unit of Otago Polytechnic. The individuals that completed the programme earned a NZQA Certificate in Sustainable Practice from Otago Polytechnic. The deputy mayor of Palmerston North, Jim Jefferies, and the deputy mayor of the Manawatu, Matt Bell, were at the graduation ceremony and presented the graduates with their qualifications. Matt Bell was impressed with the speeches by the graduating participants.

“What impressed me was how all the graduating businesses each spoke so positively about the course, the course facilitator, and how good it has, and will be, for their business. They certainly weren’t there just to tick the box and pick up a certificate.”

He also acknowledged the importance of the programme being offered to businesses in a region such as Manawatu. “With much of Manawatu’s economy based on food production from the land, it makes absolute sense that sustainable thinking is our future.”

Vision Manawatu is proud to facilitate the programme and encourages all businesses in the region to educate themselves about environmental change in order to create workplaces which foster sustainable practices. Elaine Reilly, CEO of Vision Manawatu, praised the businesses that stepped up to participate in the programme.

“These businesses are leading our commercial sector towards our vision of a sustainable city and a sustainable region. We strongly encourage businesses to take advantage of limited funding for this programme. It’s the right time to invest time in the future. The environment is changing, change is relentless - those who take part save money and resources, and learn to develop and enhance their business. This course is recognised as a leading, top quality programme backed with the academic rigour of Otago Polytechnic.”

The graduating businesses ranged from large corporates to SMEs, and came from several different industries. They include NZ Pharmaceuticals, Jumprope, Freedom Print and Design, Paper Plus Fielding, and CLAAS Harvest Centre, plus others. The programme was delivered by one of New Zealand’s top sustainability business coaches, Simon Harvey, who is the Chief Executive of The Natural Step New Zealand. Simon was also at the graduation ceremony last night and highlighted the value of the business programme.

“The programme helps businesses develop a competitive edge and drive innovation by helping them to see what it means to be successful over the long-term, and understanding how to tap into the growing market of consumers who care”

The programme will be offered again in 2013 and Manawatu businesses, both small and large, are encouraged to apply for the limited places available in the next course which begins in April. Please contact Vision Manawatu today for more information about the programme and to register for the 2013 intake.

ENDS

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