Top five takeaways from A Zero Carbon Christchurch
Recently Enviro-Mark Solutions paired with the Sustainable Business Network to host “A Zero Carbon Christchurch”, a conference on the impacts and opportunities of climate change and sustainability for business. It was a vibrant, buzzy and thought-provoking day. If you couldn’t make it, here are our top five takeaways:
1. Climate change is here and we aren’t responding
Enviro-Mark Solutions’ Chief Executive Dr Ann Smith outlined the latest updates in climate science, including the recent release of the Science Advisory Group report from the UN Climate Action Summit in New York. The report found that the globe has just experienced the warmest five-year period on record, which brings with it a continued decrease of sea ice, accelerating sea level rise, more acidic seawater and record levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The key point? We’re not doing nearly enough.
2. Business can and will shape our 'carboNZero' future
We’re in the middle of a major consumer shift. Consumers are demanding businesses take the lead on climate change – and are putting their money where their values are. Sustainable Business Network Chief Executive Rachel Brown highlighted the opportunities for businesses to innovate and fundamentally change how we deliver goods and services, work, live and travel. Inspiring local examples included ride share company Yoogo, Au Natural/Beebio refillable skin care, and medical supplies recycler Medsalv.
3. Storytelling is key to customer understanding
GoodSense marketers Kath Dewar and Allanah Robinson led a workshop on the importance of story telling to help customers understand your sustainability story – and inspire other businesses to do the same. Bringing in emotion, authenticity and honesty is key, as well as meeting customers where they are and responding directly to their main drivers. A few businesses doing it really well include The Fermentist, who recently launched New Zealand’s first carboNZero certified beer, and Sudima Hotels, a long time carboNZero programme champion.
4. Sustainable business isn’t just doing less bad, it’s about pushing the boundaries
Wrapping up a quick fire pecha kucha style session, groundbreaking Christchurch architect Bob Burnett challenged the audience to be bolder and try harder. Bob is the creator of New Zealand’s first ten-star Homestar house and founder of the Superhome Movement, which aims to normalise high performance building for New Zealand homes. His ethos is to continually challenge t he boundaries of what can be achieved, and to look beyond achieving the bare minimum and into bold imagining of the health, well-being and atmospheric benefits of high quality housing.
5. Christchurch is already doing great sustainability work
For a conference with a difference, the attendees went on a field trip off-site to see sustainability in action. Groups went to Tūranga Library and Kilmarnock Enterprises, both of which emphasised the close relationship between environmental stewardship and positive social and community outcomes.
Tūranga Library’s ground floor is designed to interact with the public spaces outside, while the terraces and upper floors were designed with iwi to respond to cultural significant natural landmarks. The Library houses a vibrant set of spaces which have become a key community hub, including children’s play zone, facilities for sound recording and craft, and spaces for listening, reading, talking and playing. The building is targeting Green Star NZ certification for its sustainable design and operation.
Kilmarnock Enterprises is a unique social enterprise, empowering adults with a range of abilities to reach their full potential through employment and training. Many of their commercial partnerships enable other organisations to reduce their waste-to-landfill. With their B Corp status, and internal focus on delivering the UN Sustainable Development Goals, they are a business for good. They showcase broader lessons for business; be adaptable and agile to new opportunities and ensure diversity, inclusion and welfare are at the heart of what you do to be a sustainable business.
There were so many more insightful discussions and engaging presentations that we enjoyed on the day. It was great to feel the energy and passion in the Christchurch region for action on sustainability and climate change. Thanks to everyone for coming!