New Research Confirms Sustainability Drives Growth
Improved productivity, lower costs, a strong image and a platform for competitive advantage are just some of the benefits of running a sustainable business.
NZI has just released compelling research showing that those who run a sustainable business (taking into account environmental, social and economic factors) are twice as likely to grow as those not engaged.
Despite this, one third of kiwi businesses aren’t embracing sustainable practices.
Donna Williams, NZI’s General Manager of Customer Experience and Marketing and a regular on the judging panel for the annual NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards says there’s still more work to be done to help more companies get on board.
“The survey shows most businesses want to be more sustainable, but lots don’t completely understand what it means and are putting the concept in the ‘too-hard’ basket.”
Chief Executive of the Sustainable Business Network, Rachel Brown says cost is the main barrier to starting the sustainable journey, which is ironic considering reduced costs is actually one of the main benefits.
“For those less involved with being sustainable, it’s about allaying fears regarding costs and for those more proactive, the sense is it’s simply about helping them activate a vision already central to their business.”
“Sustainable businesses do well financially, and shareholders and staff are happy- it’s a positive outcome for all involved.”
There are signals from Government for stronger policies and greater investments that will see sustainability in areas like climate change, renewables, public transport and circular economy receive greater attention.
Williams says businesses already operating in this space will benefit as a result.
“It’s time businesses embrace sustainable practices otherwise they’re going to be left behind,” she says.
“The sustainability story needs to be told to unlock growth.”
The research was commissioned by NZI in collaboration with the Sustainable Business Network https://sustainable.org.nz/
Sustainable Business Success Stories
Bayfair Shopping Centre (Tauranga)
Bayfair Shopping Centre is a global exemplar and passionate advocate for environmental improvement and social justice in retail and business.
Bayfair’s three key environmental impact areas (energy, water, waste) are proactively managed through collaboration and education to create an understanding that small changes daily have the ability to create mega change over time. The mall has implemented a waste minimisation strategy, has reduced its lighting energy consumption by over 60% and has a combined rain and greywater recycling facility servicing its main public amenities.
Bayfair’s alignment to the social change movement, positions it as a model of first class accessibility, maintaining the top rating of Platinum from Be. Accessible. The mall has installed charging facilities for electric vehicles and mobility scooters and even has a parking space for dogs.
Bayfair aims to show others that initiating change does not have to come at a high cost, and demonstrates that by making its centre accessible for everyone, it’s sustaining it in the long run.
The centre is currently undergoing plans for an $115 million expansion including 50 new shops.
Bob Burnett Architecture (Christchurch)
Bob is an ardent advocate for energy efficient and sustainable building design. For more than 20 years he has been committed to creating better places for the people of New Zealand.
He designed and funded the development of New Zealand’s first 10-star Homestar rated homes.
This project demonstrates that a warm, healthy, energy positive home is not too expensive to build and can actually have ongoing financial benefits.
Bob founded the Superhome Movement which is now a national, industry-led, not-for-profit initiative that aims to normalise energy efficient, sustainable homes through open source sharing of new technologies, design innovations and building techniques.
He wants to help people understand the link between our suboptimal building code standards, that are 20 years behind other OECD countries, alarming health statistics, and frightening environmental impact. Building and use of buildings create 30-40% of greenhouse gas emissions, so low carbon, low energy buildings can have a mammoth impact on climate change.
Wishbone Design Studio (Wellington)
Jen McIver and Richard Latham, co-founders of Wishbone Design Studio, are proving it’s possible to have it all. They began their toy business in 2008 with a passion for good design and a dream to live more simply with time for family, friends and travel. The bottom line? To do good for the planet.
Ten years later, Wishbone now sells through more than 1000 retail outlets in 40 countries, as well as a successful global webshop.
Winning acclaimed awards in both design and sustainability on three continents, Wishbone has been named by TIME Magazine among the 100 most influential green designers and by Huffington Post as “setting the bar” in its category.
Wishbone applies Circular Economy thinking to guide all business decisions and family-friendly work policies are core to the business philosophy.
Jen and Rich have seen a growing line-up of collaboration requests from larger global businesses wanting to learn and share the sustainability spotlight.
Auckland Whale and Dolphin Safari (Auckland)
General Manager of Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari, Brad Kirner sees operating in a sustainable manner as not only something positive to do, but also good for business. Their core mission has always been to use the commercial side of their operation to help facilitate the understanding and ultimate protection of the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
Everything about their operation is geared towards this goal - from providing the boat free of charge to marine research partners, to educating passengers on the importance of clean water in our oceans, right down to what loo paper they use on board.
In the past 12 months in particular they've seen a huge jump in the number of kiwis and international visitors alike who have chosen them over alternatives because of this proposition. It is quickly becoming one of their key selling points, proving that investing in sustainable business practices is not only good for the earth, but now actually makes good business sense.
NZI is one of New Zealand's largest and longest-serving general insurance brands, providing a broad range of personal, rural and business insurance products through both its broker network and financial institutions channels.
NZI and Lumley are business divisions of IAG New Zealand which in turn is part of Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Australasia’s largest general insurer.
NZI has a proud reputation for delivering innovative insurance solutions, supported by a solid record of focused, responsive performance. This is reflected in a Standard & Poor’s financial strength rating of AA- ("Very Strong").
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