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From Living Earth to Reinventing Earth’s Energy

From Living Earth to Reinventing Earth’s Energy

A New Chapter for Rob Fenwick

Monday 28 April, 2014: Leading New Zealand businessman and company director, Rob Fenwick, whose experience is closely aligned with sustainable development and innovative start-ups will chair Kiwi-based ‘Clean Tech’ company, Greenlane Biogas.

Greenlane Biogas is a leading developer and exporter of technology for upgrading biogas to renewable biomethane internationally. It is seen as an environmentally-friendly alternative to fossil fuels like petrol or diesel and can be used in natural gas pipelines to power industrial plants, for domestic cooking and fuel for vehicles.

Greenlane Biogas also builds and exports gas compressors with a wide range of heat transfer and industrial equipment. While the business has been around for a number of years, previously as Flotech Ltd, it ran into difficulty during the GFC and is now rebuilding its international markets as both an exporter of local intellectual property (IP) for international manufacture and as a New
Zealand manufacturing exporter.

Late last year Hunter Powell Investments Ltd, led by Tenby Powell and Sharon Hunter, both with a track record of business success, acquired a cornerstone stake with Powell as Chief Executive and interim acting Chairman.

“We saw it as an exciting challenge and one which represented a real global growth opportunity for New Zealand,” says Powell. “We wanted a Chairman who shared our confidence in the potential to grow this business which has always been at the forefront of the sustainable energy movement.

“This business was ‘Clean Tech’ and ‘Carbon-Neutral’ long before those phrases became fashionable.

“So we are delighted Rob has accepted the position as Chairman and is also acquiring a stake in the business. Rob is a highly credentialed business leader who has long been an advocate of the need to integrate sustainability and environmental protection into the mainstream of business and politics in New Zealand.”

It is 20 years since Fenwick and his partners established Living Earth Ltd in 1994 to make and market compost by diverting organic waste from landfills around the country. Living Earth is now the largest business of its kind in New Zealand and last year it celebrated the production of a million tonnes of compost, all sold under the Living Earth brand at garden centres or in bulk to commercial growers and farmers.


In addition to his private company interests, he’s chaired Antarctica NZ since 2007 and recently established NZ Antarctic Research Institute - there’s a glacier named after him in Antarctica.

He co-founded the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development in 1998, chairs various conservation groups, has lobbied for marine reserves, agitated for greater soil protection and gifted parts of his Waiheke coastal property to conservation.

He is credited with driving the introduction of the Waste Minimisation Act and has no problem describing himself as an ‘environmental activist’ having pricked the conscience of the business community for a number of years. He was awarded the CNZM for services to the environment in Fenwick says he believes Greenlane Biogas is on the right side of history.

“The world is awash with organic waste streams that represent significant value when they are captured - and huge risk when they are not.

“Wherever there are cities with sewage, metropolitan food waste streams and wherever there is agriculture, there’ll be organic waste.

“If it’s not processed it creates greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and pollutes oceans, soils and waterways. When it’s captured and processed, either aerobically or anaerobically, it’s a valuable “As a leading innovator of bottling methane technologies, Greenlane Biogas has immense potential producing renewable energy while reducing environmental impacts - and this is what just about every city in the world needs…”


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