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A new catalyst for business sustainability in New Zealand


A new catalyst for business sustainability in New Zealand

The University of Auckland Business School is bringing New Zealand business leaders together to stimulate debate and action on pressing sustainability challenges in its inaugural Sustainability Week series of events.

Business has a pivotal role to play in slowing climate change, improving social justice, and stepping up to other sustainability challenges. There’s growing recognition that what’s good for the environment and society is usually good for the financial bottom line, especially in the long term.

The Business School is drawing on its deep expertise and close industry ties to launch a new Sustainability Programme with a week of debate and action, from Monday 4 April to Friday 8 April.

“Our aim is to be amongst the leading universities internationally on the issues of sustainability,” says programme leader and former executive director of Oxfam New Zealand, Barry Coates.

“We’ve looked to the examples of universities at the vanguard – Yale, Cambridge, MIT. Their experience shows that innovative practice in universities can ensure the next generation of leaders understand the values and practices of sustainability that can drive success for their enterprise and for society in a rapidly evolving future.”

Another important role universities can play is that of convenor – “bringing different stakeholders together around sustainability issues – often people who don't necessarily agree with each other or talk with each other.

“This is what Sustainability Week is about.”

High profile speakers include:

• Malcolm Rands, co-founder of Ecostore will share inspiring sustainability stories from “ecoman”.

• Phillip Mills, Les Mills International CEO and founder of Pure Advantage, a hub for thought leadership on creating a greener, wealthier New Zealand, will envision a safe climate future.

• Captain David Morgan, from Air New Zealand, will talk about the national carrier’s high-profile sustainability journey and the challenges ahead.

• Chris Morrison, co-founder of All-Good Organics and Karma Cola will reflect on pioneering sustainable business and the challenge of real leadership on sustainability values.

The week is organised around daily themes:

- Sustainability of our food system: innovative approaches to add value to our commodities, how food producers can lower carbon emissions, and what we can learn from the Fairtrade success story

- Business and economic sustainability: getting to take-off in New Zealand on socially responsible investment, and how sustainability might be affected by the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

- Social sustainability and diversity: celebrating and growing social enterprise, and making the case for more gender and cultural diversity in business

- Our environmental footprint and transport: implementing a new vision for transport in Auckland, and using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to leverage action

- Energy and climate change: unpacking the significance of the Paris climate change deal and its challenges for New Zealand

Mr Coates says the week is designed to act as a springboard for ongoing practical initiatives around business sustainability involving business leaders, academics, students, social enterprises and the Business School itself.

“There is new energy and urgency for sustainability in New Zealand,” he says. “We intend to be a catalyst for meaningful action.”

Read the programme and register here.

Most events are free, all welcome.


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