On 24 September, the Sustainable Business Council and Climate Leaders Coalition launched their new five-year strategies with a joint vision – A New Zealand where business, people and nature thrive together. At the launch, we heard from Sinead Boucher, CEO, Stuff, Dr Rod Carr, Chair, Climate Change Commission, Jo Hendy, CEO, Climate Change Commission, Mike Burrell, Executive Director, Sustainable Business Council, Karen Silk, SBC Advisory Board Chair & GM Experience Hub, Westpac New Zealand and Mike Bennetts, Climate Leaders Coalition Convener & CEO, Z Energy.
Highlights from the event
Sinead Boucher: I’m really pleased to be here not just as a signatory to the Climate Leaders Coalition and a member of the SBC, the work that the two organisations are doing has been so important, and for Stuff, this is the year that we have launched ourselves a really big commitment through our newspapers and website to educating and informing people about what’s happening with our climate and environment and I have to say that a year or two ago people would have thought that nobody really wanted to read that content and now every week we have thousands and thousands of people logging in to read the stories and what they really tell us is that they want to make change, and they want to know what to do.
Mike Burrell: Over the past six months we’ve come to realise that when confronted by massive international challenges such as the Covid pandemic, New Zealand is equal to the task. We take our typically practical approach to problems of any scale, and not only does this mean we are able to manage these challenges for ourselves, we inspire others to follow our example. Climate change will be the same – it can seem insurmountable but from Kupe to Sheppard to Hillary, we have shown time and again that we can lead the way.
Dr Rod Carr: The business community is leading, has taken a position of responsible leadership in climate action. In many ways you could argue that the business community is moving ahead of where government is currently acting. The business community understands more than most that climate action is now an inevitable part of future planning and strategy so that businesses can thrive in a climate-resistant low-emissions world. This partnership is critical – there is no single silver bullet, there is no single green cannonball that we can lob into the future that will resolve this challenge for us.
Jo Hendy: Your ongoing leadership and partnership is critical to maintaining the momentum we’ve started with the Zero Carbon Act, and we haven’t really got any time to sit on our hands any longer, we have to keep going one step at a time and we need to find solutions and unlock the transition.
Karen Silk: When I think about the SBC and CLC members, they’re already demonstrating that they are prepared to work collaboratively to develop solutions and build the capability required to deliver a change. They’ve also shown that they are prepared to be transparent in their actions and importantly be held accountable for delivery of those outcomes. So when you sign up to the CLC pledge or you join the SBC you are committing to taking action both on climate and also the broader sustainability agenda.
Mike Bennetts: The first thing is to use our voice around how the 14 billion-odd dollars of money that has been set aside to invest in the Covid response to make sure that is well spent where the decision makers are mindful of the ways in which we can take progress on climate change, and deal with clearly the economic realities that we have.
Mike Burrell: And soLeaders are going to need that fortitude, they’re going to need those insights, they’re going to need to be able to work together with others, they’re going to need to be bold sometimes to achieve these things. But it’s eminently doable, we’ve done these kind of massive things before as a species, we can do it again, and people are doing it which is what’s really encouraging.