Industry collaboration to grow sustainability in New Zealand

Industry collaboration to grow sustainability in New Zealand

Oxygen Consulting, in conjunction with the Sustainable Business Council, The Sustainable Business Network and Auckland University of Technology, have launched a ground-breaking piece of research investigating the role of the sustainability professional in New Zealand.

Oxygen Consulting, in conjunction with the Sustainable Business Council, The Sustainable Business Network and Auckland University of Technology, have launched a ground-breaking piece of research investigating the role of the sustainability professional in New Zealand.

Very little is known about sustainability roles in New Zealand, which can range from dedicated positions through to integrated responsibilities within existing roles to address the organisation’s social, environmental or economic risks and opportunities.

Yet these roles are gaining an increasing presence in many organisations, something which has been observed by both Sustainable Business Council and Sustainable Business Network.

Mike Burrell, Executive Director of SBC says that “businesses are increasingly embedding sustainability into their strategies and business practice. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of dedicated sustainability roles coming through our membership – this is evident through their increasing participation in our events and development programmes, and the number and diversity of sustainability roles we are advertising through our channels. I welcome this research.”

“Over the last twenty years, sustainability has moved from being a grass roots movement in organisations to executives and directors now having a fiscal responsibility for it. With this we’re seeing more of our business members asking about where these roles should sit in their organisation, their remit and support requirements”, comments Rachel Brown, CEO of the Sustainable Business Network.

Insights on New Zealand Sustainability Professionals seeks to shed light on this rapidly evolving profession, the capabilities, enablers and succession pathways to these roles.

“The overall purpose of this research is to help grow the sustainability profession. It’s about removing the mystery of these roles so that they can become more accessible to individuals, and give organisations a basis and structure for establishing and supporting them”, says Sarah Holden, Director of Oxygen Consulting.

The research will also identify the capabilities and technical expertise necessary in sustainability positions, which will assist in guiding academic pathways towards careers in sustainability.

“Sustainability is such a vast subject area and if we can improve the way in which it is integrated within our programme of learning, then students are going to be better equipped for a career in sustainability,” remarks Marjo Lips-Wiersma, Professor of Ethics and Sustainability Leadership, Auckland University of Technology.

The research has been approved by the Auckland University of Technology Ethics Committee (AUTEC Reference number 20/35) and will involve an online survey open to people who have sustainability as part or all of their role who work in New Zealand organisations. The survey will run from 18 February 2020 through to 15 March 2020 and information will be gathered at an industry group level only, to enable candid participation. Results will be published in an insights report that will be free to download from the Oxygen Consulting website.

To find out more about participating in this research, please click here, or to go straight to the survey, click here.


About the organisations involved

Oxygen Consulting

Oxygen Consulting provides organisations with technical advice and guidance on sustainability practices, assisting clients to maximise their long-term business performance by strengthening social, environmental and economic outcomes.

Its services support all aspects of the organisational sustainability journey, including:

Assessing material risks and opportunities

Developing a sustainability strategy and key performance metrics

Building sustainability capability and capacity

Project management and impact measurement

Reporting and communicating progress

Oxygen Consulting is a member of the Sustainable Business Council, the Sustainable Business Network, and the Climate Leaders Coalition.

Contact: Sarah Holden – Director: [email protected], 027 620 4406


Auckland University of Technology (AUT) Sustainability Research

The sustainability team at AUT researches at the intersection of sentiment, resilience and sustainability action and regularly works with business and NGO’s to better understand employee engagement in sustainability. Its student research also gives it a strong voice on youth engagement in sustainability. AUT scored high in the Times Social Impact awards and sustainability teaching is integrated throughout all degrees in the Business School. At present the AUT Business School runs 7 sustainability courses at both undergraduate and post-graduate level.

Contact: Marjo Lips-Wiersma – Professor of Ethics and Sustainability Leadership: [email protected]; 022 409 3809


Sustainable Business Council (SBC)

SBC is a membership organisation, with a long-term aim to make sustainability mainstream within New Zealand businesses. They do this by inspiring businesses by creating a community of positive change, supporting members to go further and celebrating their leadership and success. SBC is part of the BusinessNZ family and is the New Zealand Global Network partner to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Membership now comprises more than 100 companies representing over 30% of GDP.

Current projects include: Sustainable leadership, climate action, natural capital, consumer decision-making, Sustainable Development Goals and the future of work. It is also the backbone organisation for the Climate Leaders Coalition.

Contact: Catriona Robertson – Manager Communications: [email protected], 021 242 7936


Sustainable Business Network (SBN)

The Sustainable Business Network (SBN) is the largest sustainable business organisation in New Zealand. Its purpose is to empower business so people and nature prosper. The SBN actively helps its network of hundreds of progressive companies to connect, be inspired and act.

Contact: Fiona Stephenson – National Communications Manager: [email protected], 021 233 1053


Contact: Catriona Robertson – Manager Communications

Phone: +64212427936

Email: [email protected]

18 Feb, 2020

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