Enabling sustainability for SMEs – SBC partnership with BusinessNZ Network

Enabling sustainability for SMEs – SBC partnership with BusinessNZ Network

As part of a quest for sustainability in small businesses, SBC and BusinessNZ Network (BNZN) are partnering to extend sustainability know-how through BNZN’s SME network of over 14000 members to build capability, deliver shared value and drive collective action to enable resilient value chains.

Enabling sustainability for SMEs – SBC’s partnership with BusinessNZ Network

Sharing resources, building capability, collaborating and growing value chain impact – sound like sustainability to you? We wanted to share a key partnership we kicked off with the BusinessNZ Network in December 2021. We have combined forces with BusinessNZ Network to enable sustainability for SMEs. You may have heard about it?

Why are we on this journey together?

  • 90% of the world’s businesses are SMEs and 50% of the world’s workforce work for SMEs. In New Zealand, our economy is made up of 97% SMEs.
  • With many challenges to their survival from global supply chain disruptions to digitisation, a changing workforce, sustainability is often the last thing on SMEs minds. Key barriers of lack of time, knowledge, resources and cost also often stand in the way.
  • This is reflected in limited action in general. For example, a new survey by ACCA found that only 8% of SMEs had set net-zero targets for 2050 while one in four of the 3,500 respondents said they felt they lacked the professional skills required to become sustainable.
  • Most SMEs are concerned about climate change yet 40% are without the processes to achieve this.
  • Despite this, there are some great examples of SMEs showing initiative and leadership in sustainability. Examples from our members include: Eagle Protect was the first business in NZ to become a BCorp; Pacific Coilcoaters (a subsidiary of Fletcher Building) has recently started change outs of the technology they use in their painting processes. This significantly reduces their carbon footprint and contributing to their sustainability programme in conjunction with their participation in the Sustainable Steel Council and Christchurch International Airport recently became climate positive.

Combined aims

Our (SBC and BNZN) combined aims are to:

  • Build capability of small businesses in New Zealand, leveraging scale operating models
  • Deliver shared value for the Network, our membership and wider New Zealand
  • Collaborate with members and other key sustainability players to deliver sustainability products and services as part of growing small businesses in NZ
  • Enable resilient value chains by supporting leading larger businesses in influencing and building capability through their supply chains. (More on this in future).

Led by Lauren

Leading our sustainability transformation programme for SMEs is sustainability specialist Lauren James. With over 12 years experience working in sustainability and commercial roles across numerous industries and geographies, including large and small businesses, Lauren is passionate about helping businesses build their sustainability capability to effect change and create an impact.

What’s happening

  • Sustainability Introduction course – our entry level course covers what sustainability is and why do it, along with an introduction to key areas of sustainability from carbon and climate change to waste and circular economy, social responsibility and where to start. First date 13th July, 9-4.30pm Auckland.
  • Materiality workshops – Focusing on what matters. Refine your understanding of what is important to your stakeholders and where you can have an impact and move forward with clarity and actionable steps for sustainability in your business.
  • All Things Carbon Webinar series – run in collaboration with Toitu, Ekos, thinkstep-anz and Deta, this covers all things carbon from measure to verification, reduction, offsetting and even science based targets and becoming climate positive.

Check out the BusinessNZ Network events page for further information.

Who are we targeting?

This programme is designed for small to medium businesses who are starting or emerging on their sustainability journey. Our courses, workshops and tools leverage the wealth of experience SBC has had working with businesses over the years refined for a SME audience.

Committed from the top

As with any partnership, this commitment comes right from the top. Mike Burrell, Executive Director of SBC shares his enthusiasm, stating “This partnership has been a long time coming and is a fundamental step towards lifting sustainability capability across NZ as part of unlocking the value chain opportunity for our larger corporate Sustainable Business Council members.” BusinessNZ’s CEO Kirk Hope summarises this in a nutshell: “Businesses of today, large and small simply can’t afford not to engage with sustainability. It’s a journey, it takes time and starts with a first step.”

Keep an eye out in future as we share more on this partnership and what we see coming next.




7 Jul, 2022

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