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Auckland gets set to host the NZ SBN Conference

News Release
November 11th, 2003

Auckland gets set to host the New Zealand Sustainable Business Conference

This year’s New Zealand Sustainable Business Conference will be held in Auckland from the 17th to 19th November and features a truly international cast of speakers and delegates which reflects a global perception of New Zealand as a “clean and green” environment.

The conference is organised by the Sustainable Business Network, The Natural Step and the Australian New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics and its principal sponsors are Toyota, the Ministry for the Environment, Ministry of Economic Development and Auckland Regional Council.

Rachel Brown, Chief Executive Sustainable Business Network is convinced that few people can argue with the rationale for sustainable development when it’s described as improving the quality of life for everyone by recognising that people will be more productive if they are happy in their jobs and communities. However she admits: “I’d like more companies to get involved in the sustainable journey but many people think its “green” and rather scary and putting on a conference such as this is a tremendous challenge because we don’t want to just preach to the converted!”

The conference has been organised with this wider target audience in mind and the programme has plenty to engage key decision makers such as Finance, Procurement, Marketing and Human Resources managers.

At the heart of the conference is the belief that companies can “do well by doing good” says Brown, however this is not just a minority view.

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Representatives from across industry, academia and government all concur that looking beyond the single bottom line of profit has real commercial value. This is endorsed by recent statistics from the Dow Jones Sustainable Index which show that during October 2003, the DJSI World which has total assets under management of 2.3 billion Euros outperformed the DJ World as well as the MSCI World . Specifically, the Euro value of the DJSI World increased by 7.81% while the DJ World went up by 6.66% and the MSCI World rose by 6.47%.

Brown adds: “It is clear from these growth figures that the business case for sustainable practice is compelling and this is supported by the entrants for the inaugural national Sustainable Business Awards who have highlighted financial benefits resulting from adopting sustainable practice. Award Winners will be honoured at the Conference Dinner & Awards ceremony on November 18th.

The Sustainable Business Conference features examples of how energy reduction, zero waste, reducing the number of vehicles on the roads, introducing community relations programmes are being adopted by companies because it makes sound business sense.

Keynote speaker Dr Alan Knight, Head of Social Responsibility of UK’s largest DIY and Garden Centre Group B&Q and its global parent Kingfisher Group says that their decision over a decade ago to fundamentally review their product range for its sustainability was prompted by a challenge from a Sunday newspaper. Unable to answer the question: “How much tropical timber do you stock”, the inference was “if you don’t know you don’t care” says Knight. He adds “We did care and sustainable development has become part of the day to day running of the business.”

Next week’s conference and expos will bring together over 300 business, public sector leaders and academics all committed to addressing the issue of how New Zealand can maximise its unique geographic position by becoming a world leader in sustainability.

Brown’s message is clear: “If you think this conference is not for you, think again. sustainable business is an investment in an organisation not a cost”

For information:

Further detail about speakers is available on:

http://www.sustainable.org.nz/conference2003

International speakers include: Alan Knight, Head of Social Responsibility, B&Q Kingfisher; Susan Kramer, Member of the Transport for London Board; Malcolm McIntosh, writer and teacher on corporate responsibility; Karl Henrik Robert, one of Sweden’s foremost cancer specialists and Founder of The Natural Step.

New Zealand speakers include: Marilyn Waring, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy; Bob Field, CEO Toyota; Stephen Tindall, Founder The Warehouse; Glen Petersen, Human Resources Director Fonterra; June McCabe, Director Corporate Affairs, Westpac; Matthew Jansen, Corporate Affairs Director, Meridian Energy.

The Sustainable Business Network is a forum for businesses that are interested in sustainable development practice to get together and make it happen. It has taken on the challenge of making sustainable business mainstream; to see business flourish through sustainable practice and to design its services, resources and activities to suit the need of small and medium sized businesses.

ENDS


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