Video updates from Mike Burrell – May

Video updates from Mike Burrell, Executive Director on how SBC, BusinessNZ and SBC members are dealing with Covid-19.

28 May: Video update Week 9 – 28 May


Hello everyone.

This week I travelled to Auckland to take part in a two-day strategy “lock up” with James Walker and Jay Crangle.

It was good for the three of us to meet up in person for the first time since the lock-down and we made excellent progress.

We are on track to have the first draft of the strategy out for feedback and discussion on Friday 5 June.

Like most of us, I haven’t travelled further than my home suburb for two months and so it was an odd feeling to be walking through deserted departure lounges and to drive on uncongested Auckland roads.

As I mentioned last week we’ve continued to meet with key partners to progress SBC’s role and influence in the Covid-19 recovery phase.

Tomorrow I am speaking with the lead official in Treasury about how SBC can be part of what they refer to as “Wave 3” of the recovery process.

Next week I will be on a panel at the Vision Week web summit, convened by Paul Blair, the CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand.

Visionweek is the start of a conversation on a national vision for New Zealand coming out of the Covid-19 crisis.

My session will focus on Sustaining New Zealand and I will be joined by Alison Andrew, the CEO of Transpower and Ian Proudfoot, the Global Head of Agribusiness at KPMG.

We have more details in Pānui on the various ways can be part of this conversation and it would to hear from you about your ideas.

This week we launched an important piece of collaborative research with Oxygen Consulting, the Sustainable Business Network, and Auckland University of Technology focusing on the role of sustainability professionals.

The results provide a useful insight into how we can provide further support for today’s sustainability professionals and those who are planning to make sustainability their career of choice in the future.

What stood out for me is that although this research took place prior to the Covid-19 crisis, sustainability has become even more relevant as we work together as a nation towards investing in a sustainable recovery.

The results show that climate change is by far the highest sustainability priority for most organisations.

You will have received an invitation to hear the new leader of the National Party, Todd Muller, speak to the Business NZ network on Friday.

Todd was on SBC’s advisory board for two years when he was at Fonterra and was very supportive to the Carbon Zero Act last year. We do hope you can join us for that.

Last week I attended an online roundtable to re-launch the Malaysia chapter of the Business Council for Sustainable Development.

It was an excellent opportunity to meet the leaders of other sustainable business organisations from around the Asia-Pacific region, including colleagues from Singapore and Australia.

In an address by the Asia-Pacific Regional President, he singled out New Zealand as showing leadership in our response to Covid-19 and our multi-party approach to addressing climate change.

It was gratifying to see that a small country of 5 million people can be inspiring to much larger countries in our region.

As always, do get in touch if you want to chat about any of this.

Enjoy the long weekend and I look forward to speaking with you next week.

21 May: The recovery package, and a new addition to the international sustainability network


Hello everyone and I hope Level 2 is treating you well.

I want to update you on the work we’re doing with the Government and some likeminded business organisations to develop the policy framework and project pipeline for “Wave 3” of the government’s $50b recovery package.

This will focus on projects that generate jobs, drive sustainable growth, and accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy.

We are working alongside BusinessNZ< Infrastructure New Zealand and the Sustainable Business Network and others, to ensure your ideas for suitable projects are included in that next tranche. To do this, we’ll be coming to you for your ideas in the coming weeks.

I’ve had more meetings with key partners to progress SBC’s role and influence in the Covid-19 recovery phase. In early June I will be presenting them at the Visionweek web summit, convened by Paul Blair, the CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand, to start the conversation on a national vision for New Zealand.

This will give purpose and direction to the remaining $20 billion of public recovery expenditure and ensure that this is well targeted. You will find more details in Pānui and I urge you to be part of the conversation.

These discussions underline for me how important sustainability will be on an ongoing basis, and Nikki Wright has written a great piece today for us on what we can draw from the 2020 Corporate Reputation Index – which is a joint venture between Colmar Brunton, Kantar Research and Wright Communications.

This week we also had our second advisory board meeting of the year, virtually of course. We talked about how we continue to best support our members during the recovery phase and how our strategy refresh will frame this work.

We’ve held three strategy workshops this week plus a lot more 1:1 sessions to ensure your voice, perspectives and ideas are included in the process, so thank you for your input so far. We will have a draft strategy out to you all by 5 June and I look forward to getting your feedback on that.

And today I will join a roundtable discussion to share SBC’s and CLC’s work with some of our international colleagues at the launch of the Business Council for Sustainable Development in Malaysia, which we are very pleased to see established. I’ll have more on that next week.

As always, do get in touch if you want to chat about any of this. Until next time.

14 May: Welcome to level 2, members embrace agile and resilience


Hi everyone and welcome back.

As we move into Level 2 today, we have reached another milestone for New Zealand in our response to Covid-19.

I am sure many of you have been incredibly busy as you prepared to reopen or scale up your operations.

It’s also a big day with Budget 2020 and what that will deliver to help our economic recovery.

Since last week, I’ve continued to meet and speak with our members online.

I continue to be inspired by their growing number of stories of resilience, collaboration and innovation in these tough times – stories from within your companies, about your customers, your communities, as well as across the country.

SkyCity have partnered with Deloitte, Go Tourism and other organisations to launch two new initiatives to provide support for employers and displaced workers from the tourism and hospitality industry to connect with the employers currently hiring. You can read more about these in this week’s Pānui.

You can also read a blog about our Sustainability Leadership Programme workshop and just how powerful virtual events can be for participants.
And don’t forget we’d love to hear, and share, what you’ve being doing too.

In an interview this week, Leon Clement, the Chief Executive of Synlait, talks about their focus on agility and resilience while responding to the challenges of milk processing during a pandemic.

In tandem with this, a group of young future leaders within the business is working on new future-focused opportunities.
I encourage you to read the interview if you haven’t already.

We all know that sustainability is more critical within business now than ever before and we are delighted to welcome new members to the SBC network. We will be profiling them in Pānui in the coming weeks.

Today I’d like to welcome Mondelēz International and you can read about their sustainability story in today’s edition of Pānui.

We continue to make good progress with our strategy refresh. We met with our Reference Group last week, made up of six members of our Advisory Board, to discuss the next steps of the strategy. They reviewed a slide deck which summarises our insights from the engagement process so far. This has now gone out to members to review and we look forward to hearing your feedback.

We’ve also been working with government and other business organisations to ensure that as much of the Covid-19 recovery package as possible is invested in future-focused projects.

You can read more on this in an opinion piece I wrote for Newsroom which is featured in Pānui this week. There will be lots more on this in the coming weeks.

This is our collective chance to identify infrastructure and large-scale investments that are truly sustainable, bringing forward long-term investments that will accelerate our pathway towards our zero-carbon targets.

And I do hope that many of our SBC members will be able to join us at tomorrow’s BusinessNZ webinar with Minister James Shaw to hear him outline his views on the recovery. See Pānui for more details on that.

Take care as we move into Level 2 and please feel free to contact me directly, any time.

07 May: Adapting to the new normal, and have your say on our strategy

Hi everyone and welcome back. There’s a lot to update you on this week.

I have now spoken to about a third of our membership over the past weeks and I want to thank all of those who made time to speak to me at such a challenging time.

I‘ve heard stories of incredible resilience and innovation as companies seek to live their sustainability values in their response to Covid-19.

For example, our financial services and insurance members have a raft of initiatives to help not just their customers, but also their communities.

Non-profit organisations are seeing a big drop in donations at the moment, and companies like Westpac and Suncorp are stepping up to help the rescue helicopters and the Shine domestic violence charity.

The scale of the economic crisis has also meant that some of our members have had to make very difficult decisions as they seek to ensure the financial sustainability of their companies. I would like to acknowledge the work and dedication of those sustainability professionals who have been affected at this time.

We want to do all we can to ensure you continue to be part of the sustainability community and we are exploring ways to do this. Please stay subscribed to Pānui so we can keep you up-to-date.

Over the past few weeks Dane Ambler, a Communications Advisor for BusinessNZ and part of the SBC comms team, has been interviewing members to talk about how they are adapting to the new normal.

His first interview is with Becky Lloyd at Toitu Envirocare – so check that out in Pānui this week. He finds out how Covid has changed what they do, and how we can keep up momentum to reduce emissions in the recovery.

Also looking ahead to the recovery, since I started at SBC I’ve been impressed with how prescient the Good Life 2.0 Playbook has been on identifying the moments New Zealanders really value. Jay has written a great piece outlining how those moments are even more relevant to telling your brand story post-Covid.

In other news, the Sustainability Leadership Programme started this week, online for the first time, and the first session by all accounts was very engaging and refreshing for some of our sustainability managers grappling with a world that is becoming more complex by the day.

Our new Strategy is making good progress, and we have sent out invitations this week for the online workshops as well as one-to-one sessions, where you can have your say about our new direction. We’re also holding another member online drop-in session today which I know many of you have found useful. Please do check that out.

And we have been working with Government to ensure that the Covid-19 recovery package is invested in future-focused projects that will reduce New Zealand’s emissions and accelerate progress towards a zero-carbon economy. Look out for an op ed from me in an upcoming edition of Newsroom for more on this.

Looking forward to next week, SBC members will have the chance to join a BusinessNZ webinar with Minister James Shaw to hear him outline his views on the recovery. See Pānui for details on that.

Please do take any of the opportunities I have mentioned to contact us, or just get in touch with me directly. I look forward to hearing from you. Take care.

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