Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Sustainable Business Survey 2016

Sustainable Business Survey 2016: NZ firms poised for progress

New Zealand businesses are taking mostly tentative steps into the world of sustainability, but may be gearing up to tackle the big issues, according to a University of Auckland survey.

The survey, conducted by the University’s Business School, found over half (53 percent) of the 33 respondents – chosen because they’d already made moves towards improved sustainability – aimed to become sustainability leaders in their sectors in the next three to five years. One-fifth aimed to disrupt their markets.

Businesses surveyed said they were targeting projects that deliver clear payback, such as improved energy efficiency and reduced waste. But they expected to embrace more ambitious goals, such as reducing environmental impacts and carbon emissions, in the next three years.

“The emphasis can be expected to shift to product and services demand and development, employee engagement and diversity, reporting (probably non-financial) and environmental and carbon footprint product,” says Professor Greg Whittred, Dean of the Business School.

“Businesses are realising they can innovate, differentiate and build relationships with their customers through being sustainable. Sustainability is becoming a competitive frontier. It also helps them compete for quality staff.”

The primary driver for sustainability for these businesses was the future market opportunities it offers, and efforts to seize those opportunities were being led from the top – the executive suite and boardroom. Customer and client demand was significant, too, in some areas. Investor pressure ranked lowest of the drivers listed, though.

“It is striking that pressure from investors ranks so low,” says Professor Whittred. “The reaction to KiwiSaver portfolios including cluster bombs and tobacco investments shows how quickly that can change once we start to catch up with other countries on our understanding of socially responsible investment.”

Fieldwork for the survey was conducted before the cluster bomb issue made headlines in August.

Lack of incentives and regulatory barriers were the biggest obstacles identified by respondents.

“This could refer to how stacking up a business case for sustainable initiatives is a challenge, or to the fact that costs to the environment – externalities – are still often falling on the public and taxpayer,” says Professor Whittred.

The next-biggest obstacle was insufficient customer demand. “This reflects the fact that we’re a small market and the sustainable consumer is still a small portion of that. Also, many can’t afford to pay a premium for sustainably produced goods and services.”

Cost, and resistance from middle managers and staff were also flagged as challenges to overcome.

The Business School conducted the survey as part of its Sustainability Programme, launched last year, which aims to innovate teaching around sustainability in business and act as a convenor, bringing together different stakeholders.

Survey respondents were asked how universities can best contribute to their sustainability work. Top of the wish list was ensuring all graduates have at least a basic understanding of the concept of sustainability.

Leaders in sustainable business were also looking to universities to raise awareness of the business case for sustainability and to offer student internships and case study opportunities to deepen student knowledge and engagement. Research partnerships, and producing specialist graduates were also desired.

“The feedback on what universities can do is helpful input and affirmation for the direction of our Sustainability Programme,” says Professor Whittred.

Read the full survey here.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


NZTA: Major New Zealand Upgrade Programme Projects Go To Tender

Two major New Zealand Upgrade Programme projects are beginning tenders for construction. The New Zealand Upgrade Programme is a $6.8 billion investment to get our cities moving, to save lives and boost productivity in growth areas. The first Auckland ... More>>

Reserve Bank: RBNZ Seeks To Preserve Benefits Of Cash

The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua is taking on a new role of steward of the cash system “to preserve the benefits of cash for all who need them”, Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby told the Royal Numismatics Society of New Zealand annual conference ... More>>


Economy: Double-Dip Recession Next Year, But Housing Rolls On

New Zealand's economy is expected to slip back into recession early next year as delayed job losses, falling consumer spending, and the absence of international tourists bites into growth. More>>


Microsoft New Zealand: Microsoft Expands “Highway To A Hundred Unicorns” Initiative To Support Startups In Asia Pacific

New Zealand, 14 October 2020 – Today Microsoft for Startups launches the Highway to a Hundred Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where 56 startups were ... More>>

Fonterra: Farmers Taking Another Step Towards New Zealand’s Low Emissions Food Production

They’re hot off the press and intended to help take the heat out of climate change. Fonterra farmers are already among the world’s most sustainable producers of milk and now have an additional tool in their sustainability toolbox. Over the last few ... More>>


Electricity: New Zealand Remains In Top 10 For Energy Balance

The World Energy Council’s Energy Trilemma Index has become part of the energy dialogue both globally and in New Zealand. The Index illustrates the need for countries to balance energy security, energy equity and environmental sustainability. New Zealand ... More>>


Courts: Businessman Eric Watson Sentenced To A Four-Month Jail Term

New Zealand businessman Eric Watson has been sentenced to a four-month jail term in the UK for contempt of court, TVNZ reports. More>>

OECD: Area Employment Rate Falls By 4.0 Percentage Points, To 64.6% In Second Quarter Of 2020

The OECD area employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – fell by 4.0 percentage points, to 64.6%, in the second quarter of 2020, its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010. Across the OECD area, 560 million persons ... More>>

Spark: Turns On 5G In Auckland And Offers A Glimpse Into The Future Of Smart Cities

Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland today and has partnered with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase some of the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology and demonstrate what the future could look like for Auckland’s CBD with the power of 5G. 5G is ... More>>

Stats NZ: Monthly Migration Remains Low

Since the border closed in late-March 2020, net migration has averaged about 300 a month, Stats NZ said today. In the five months from April to August 2020, overall net migration was provisionally estimated at 1,700. This was made up of a net gain ... More>>

University of Canterbury: Proglacial Lakes Are Accelerating Glacier Ice Loss

Lake Tasman, New Zealand | 2016 | Photo: Dr Jenna Sutherland Meltwater lakes that form at glacier margins cause ice to recede much further and faster compared to glaciers that terminate on land, according to a new study. But the effects of these glacial ... More>>


Dairy: Fonterra Sells China Farms

Fonterra has agreed to sell its China farms for a total of $555 million (RMB 2.5 billion*1), after successfully developing the farms alongside local partners. Inner Mongolia Natural Dairy Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of China Youran Dairy Group Limited ... More>>