What FY2025 has in store for Thriving People 

In October last year, we launched our flagship report ‘Thriving People – Strengthening the ‘S’ in ESG’.  How time flies! The report showed the NZ business community has an exciting role to progress social impact and equity as we transition to Net Zero through a three-pronged action agenda.   

We have made significant progress in activating the report’s recommendations, and through this work we are establishing a strong foundation to achieve collective impact. Collaboration, innovation, and responsible business practice combined can be a powerful lever for change by delivering impact beyond that what a single business could achieve alone.   

Our work programme has many moving parts, we are moving at pace, and there are multiple touchpoints for members to get involved. So, I wanted to set out our priorities for the next 12 months, including key deliverables and a high-level programme overview, and most importantly – how you can get involved.

Click to read more about our FY2025 priorities below

Priority 1: Building connections 

Since the report launch, we have established, facilitated and supported communities of collective action across a growing Thriving People ecosystem, made up of more than 130 leaders from across the SBC membership. This includes HRDs, CPOs (yes I love a good acronym too!), Heads of Sustainability, community investment managers, procurement specialists and supply chain managers from businesses of all sizes and across all sectors of the economy. The result? Meaningful connections, knowledge and good practice sharing – with rich learnings drawn from diverse perspectives, capability building and collaborations, all based on the principle of reciprocity.   

To cultivate stronger connections within these communities, we host quarterly in-person networking events. Each event centres on a specific theme inspired by recommendations from our flagship report, facilitating members to connect and kōrero with other SBC members who are leading the way in social sustainability.


Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini 

My strength is not mine alone, but that of many

Priority 2: Building capability  

We are dedicated to helping our members strengthen the ‘S’ in ESG, a commitment realised through our annual ‘shared learning agenda’. Central to this agenda is our bi-monthly Thriving Voices online series, which keeps members ahead of the curve on critical issues, emerging trends and best practice, with a strong emphasis on practical ‘how to’ guidance. Wherever you are on your leadership journey you take away a next step. Recent topics of focus include human rights due diligence, procuring for impact, and impact measurement.  

Peer-to-peer learning is another critical tenet of our approach, so we use our Thriving Voices series as a platform to showcase members’ leadership and share the critical lessons learned (and the pitfalls to avoid) to inspire others to take action. We recently completed a three part case study series featured member best practice, which has been shared globally by WBCSD

A third element to our agenda is the delivery of practical guidance and resources. A focus for the next 12 months is promoting the uptake of the social sustainability maturity matrix and the delivery of  practical guidance on impactful community investment good practice.  

Priority 3: Working smart together 

Now this is where things get really exciting! The report sets a lofty goal for setting compelling aspiration that galvanises business action to support social equity. We must acknowledge that since launching the report, business is navigating a very different operating environment with increasingly complex and challenging economic headwinds.  

I am inspired to see members’ continued commitment and dedication to put people at the heart of good business. We also know that our members value opportunities to connect and collaborate with other SBC members where it makes sense. 

Rather than spending time searching for a so-called ‘north star’ for social sustainability, which is challenging due to the breadth of social issues and the complexities of people which resist oversimplification, we have adapted our approach to develop a ‘southern constellation’ model of collective action and impact. 

This started with our future skills pilot ‘THRIVE’, when we brought three organisations (NZ Post, Meridian and NZ Steel) together around a shared goal of building adaptive skills and future-ready workforces that support the net zero transition, leaving no one behind. A key insight was the need to meet the people where they are, build visibility and mobilise existing under-utilised skills which often lay hidden beyond a job title. You can check out the phase 1 results here

As we continue to foster deeper connections across the Thriving People ecosystem, we and members will explore where there is a shared ambition, appetite and readiness to work together or collaborate, targeting as many SBC members as possible. 

Over the coming financial year, we have capacity to facilitate three sequentially time-bound collaborations which support the shared action agenda set. 

In helping to cultivate collaborative leadership, we recently launched two practical tools off the back of a Working Group to help members create more impactful community investment initiatives:  

  1. We have developed a set of definitions as a starting point to build common understanding of community investment, community impact and social impact.
  2. We have launched our Thriving Community register, a simple and effective way to improve the visibility of the community investment goals and initiatives across SBC members. The register helps members connect and identify opportunities to work smarter together, collaborate around a shared goal, or combine resources to deliver greater impact together. 

Get involved

I would love to hear from you if: 

  • You’d like to access any of the resources above 
  • You’ve completed the maturity matrix and want to let us know how you found it
  • You’d like to join the Thriving People ecosystem 
  • You have a specific topic, challenge or emerging issues you would like us to cover in our learning agenda, or an inspiring leader whose mahi you would like to hear about
  • You have a social super power we can showcase to inspire others, an example of good practice, case study or a learning opportunity you would like to share with others 
  • You’re a system provider and would like to work together. 

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at [email protected].  

7 Jun, 2024

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