History of SBC

1999: New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development formed

Formed in May 1999, the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) was a coalition of leading businesses with a shared commitment to sustainable development. It provided business leadership advocating for sustainable development, demonstrating business progress and sharing leading-edge best practices, participation in government policy development and global outreach including through a partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

The NZBCSD represented New Zealand business at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002. Projects included guides on Sustainable Development Reporting, Business and School Partnerships, and Youth Employment. Other areas of activity were zero waste, climate change and sustainable labelling. Supply chain and emissions management projects were also developed.

Adapted from: https://www.moneymatters.co.nz/page/88/nz-business-council-for-sustainable-development

The NZBCSD’s first project, and a condition of membership, was triple-bottom-line reporting, sometimes known as sustainable development reporting. A reporting guideline was officially launched in 2002. A number of NZBCSD members issued sustainable development reports, including Hubbard Foods, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Sanford Seafoods, Landcare Research, the Warehouse and Urgent Couriers.

By 2008 the council had 66 members, from the resource, manufacturing, retailing and service sectors, generating 34% of New Zealand’s GDP.

Source: https://teara.govt.nz/en/employer-and-business-organisations/page-6

Early members

At at October 2002, the following companies were members:

  • 3M New Zealand Ltd
  • BOC Gases New Zealand Ltd
  • BP Oil New Zealand Ltd
  • City Care Ltd
  • Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
  • Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd
  • Hubbard Foods Ltd
  • Interface Agencies Ltd
  • Landcare Research
  • Living Earth Ltd
  • Meridian Energy Ltd
  • Mighty River Power Ltd
  • Milburn New Zealand Ltd
  • Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
  • Money Matters (NZ) Ltd
  • Morel & Co
  • Natural Gas Corporation Holdings Ltd
  • NIWA
  • Palliser Estate Wines of Martinborough Ltd
  • Port of Tauranga Ltd
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers
  • Richmond Ltd
  • Sanford Ltd
  • Shell New Zealand Ltd
  • Simpson Grierson
  • Telecom New Zealand Ltd
  • The Boston Consulting Group
  • The Warehouse Group Ltd
  • Toyota New Zealand Ltd
  • Transfield Services (New Zealand) Ltd
  • Transpower New Zealand Ltd
  • TrustPower Ltd
  • Urgent Couriers Ltd
  • URS New Zealand Ltd (now Aecom)
  • Vodafone New Zealand Ltd
  • Waimangu Volcanic Valley Ltd
  • Waste Management NZ Ltd
  • Watercare Services Ltd

Source: https://www.wasteminz.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/NZBCSD-Zero-Waste-Project.pdf

2009: BusinessNZ Sustainability Forum formed

BusinessNZ, the peak body for New Zealand business, established a Sustainability Forum to provide a business-centric platform for companies wanting to define and lead sustainable business matters, rather than simply respond to government-led initiatives.

The activities included quarterly forums, events and media activity, elective projects and partner programmes, as well as ongoing member and stakeholder communications. The ability to work together on Special Projects – complex issues arising under tight timeframes – allowed the Forum to
be swift and agile in providing practical solutions to newly defined sustainability challenges.

Founding members: Rio Tinto, Toyota, Genesis, Solid Energy, Westpac, NZ Post.

Members since 2010: Fonterra, Meridian, Contact, Landcare Research.


2012: Merger of NZBCSD and BusinessNZ Sustainability Forum

In 2012, The NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development became the Sustainable Business Council (SBC), operating out of BusinessNZ. Jacincta Syme was acting Executive Director January – June 2012, and then took on the role of Manager to December 2013.


Full list of milestones

1999 New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) formed
2002 New Zealand Government ratifies the Kyoto Protocol
2009 BusinessNZ Sustainability Forum formed
2012 Merger of NZBCSD and BusinessNZ Sustainability Forum to form SBC
2012 Penny Nelson becomes Executive Director of SBC
2015 BusinessNZ becomes carboNZero (pre-Paris agreement)
2015 New Zealand signs up to the UN Sustainable Development Goals
2016 New Zealand signs the Paris Agreement on climate change, committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030
2016 Abbie Reynolds becomes Executive Director of SBC
2018 Climate Leaders Coalition formed
2019 Zero Carbon Bill introduced to Parliament
2019 SBC celebrates its 20th birthday
2019 Mike Burrell becomes Executive Director of SBC
2020 SBC and CLC members and signatories set out 26 recommendations for the newly formed Climate Change Commission’s draft advice to government
2021 SBC establishes an Agriculture Working Group, which will go on to form a $172 million public/private joint venture
2021 SBC’s Freight Group sets out pathway to progressively decarbonise New Zealand’s freight system
2022 New Zealand’s first Emissions Reduction Plan is released, with many SBC/CLC recommendations included
2022 New Zealand’s first National Adaptation Plan is released, with many SBC/CLC recommendations included
2022 SBC partners with the Environmental Defense Society (EDS) to deliver the 14th Climate Change and Business Conference, with over 500 attendees in-person
2022 Climate Leaders Coalition launches new Statement of Ambition
2023 SBC and CLC deliver pre-election policy priorities to incoming government ahead of General Election
2023 SBC, EDS and CLC deliver the largest Climate Change and Business Conference, with over 600 attendees in-person
2023 SBC and ten member sponsors commission a report to look at how to strengthen the ‘S’ in ESG
2023  Climate Leaders Coalition celebrates its fifth birthday
2023 Representatives from SBC and around a dozen member businesses attend COP28 in Dubai