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Resource session shows Dunedin wants change

Media Release – Tuesday 20 October 2009
Waste as a Resource session shows Dunedin businesses want change

Following the Next Step – Waste as a Resource session on 19 September, a Dunedin based "Business for Change" group has been established.

The first meeting will take place on Wednesday 28 October, 10.30am at the Otago Polytechnic. The group welcomes people in business who are serious about change, specifically around issues of environmental and social sustainability.

Key Points:

The group will meet in the Ozone Lounge at the Otago Polytechnic, upstairs at Manaaki Block, Harbour Terrace, Dunedin (beside the Hockey Turf). Anyone interested in attending can contact Steve Henry, on steveH@tekotago.ac.nz.
A voluntary pre and post survey was undertaken as part of the registration process for the session on 19 September. A total of 54 surveys were completed. Approx. 70 people attended the session.

Pre-event survey results showed a large number of participants (76%) indicated that they disagreed or strongly disagreed with a statement, "I believe current waste practices in Dunedin are effective and sustainable."

The post event survey results indicated the percentage people that disagreed with perceptions on current waste practices in Dunedin, lowered from 76% to 68%. The visit to the Green Island landfill, presentations and the panel discussion at the end of the session may have assisted and informed participants as to current waste practices in the city.

However, nearly 40% indicated that they felt they were very able to influence waste management practices in their workplace. A large number (72.4%) also indicated that they felt they were able were aware of readily available information which would assist them in improving their sustainability practices either at home or at work.

50% of attendees indicated they had enjoyed the session to a very high level and 62.5% strongly agreed that they would consider attending a similar event again.

Sessions during the day allowed businesses and members of the community to discuss ideas around how Dunedin can get ready for the future and minimise waste and maximise resources. Each group worked on developing concepts and action points for implementation. Six outcomes were developed ranging from establishing a Business for Change network to a Community Info Hub.
Funding from the Ministry of Research Science and Technology was made available to develop and administer this session.

Key quotes:

Taane Royce – Territory Manager, Fullcircle - Carter Holt Harvey, Dunedin www.fullcircle.org.nz

"Many businesses don't understand sustainability and perceive sustainable practices are costly to implement. The session was a chance for local businesses to network and discover opportunities to build on existing contacts, both locally and internationally. Implementing sustainable practices can make a big difference to businesses in terms of their future profitability. This can be achieved by being proactive with how they utilise their waste streams and undertaking waste audits, which we can assist with. I’m looking forward to the "Business for Change" meeting as it will help establish and develop links with other businesses and the community."

Steve Henry - Centre for Sustainable Practice, Otago Polytechnic www.otagopolytechnic.ac.nz

"The Next Step - Waste as a Resource sessions were very productive and provided the ability for people to take action. The day also provided a forum to bring people together from multiple disciplines and the momentum to establish this networking opportunity, which to date has been informal. What we all have in common is seizing opportunities in how waste can be utilised as a resource, including the development of products and services that can create efficiency gains."

Sue Clarke – Director, New Zealand International Science Festival www.scifest.org.nz

"We developed the session with the aim of empowering attendees to take action in their workplace, organisation, community or home. One of the challenges we faced in running this all day session was how we could facilitate and support the development of achievable outcomes and longer-term goals. We are thrilled with the establishment of the Business for Change group. It shows collaboration across business and the community as to how their waste can be utilised. We are also developing other initiatives from the session including a potential community information hub."

Ends

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