Catching the sustainability wave

BY NOW, the word ‘sustainability’ will be more than familiar to the majority of organisations working in the manufacturing and engineering fields. What may not be so clear is what this means to business from a practical sense, and more importantly, how the adoption of these practices can result in financial benefits derived from reducing wastage, energy use, and transportation costs. 
Sustainability is the imperative of this century – businesses not responding to environmental and social issues are at risk and will miss future opportunities. The Sustainable Business Network (SBN) is in a unique position to support and mobilise businesses so that they can collectively and creatively achieve success through sustainability. SBN does this by providing a ‘roadmap’ of member offers, ultimately designed to progress and develop organisations.  
To support business (whether members or not) we offer opportunities to Learn, Do, Create and Share so that the businesses we work with are successful. 

Learn – Any new course of action must begin with information-gathering. How better to learn than from those that have already travelled the path? SBN provides many options for engaging and interacting with those organisations considered ‘trailblazers’ in this area.  Networking events, seminars, think tanks, forums, and workshops are all designed to assist any business identify where the opportunities lie. With the annual SBN Awards recognising and celebrating the high achievers in the sustainability space, it’s relatively easy for emergers to identify who best to emulate.

Do – Once you’ve uncovered where the opportunities lie and have begun to deepen your understanding as to the actions required, it’s time to roll up your shirtsleeves and begin to ‘do’. Begin by using ‘Get Sust Online’, a benchmarking tool which identifies some easily implemented cost saving measures. From here SBN invites businesses to consider which of the tools offered (Get Sustainable Challenge, GreenFleet, Carbon4Good, and Greenlist etc) will support your business’ success. Once a business has demonstrable programmes in place, the Awards beckon.

Create – Every thriving business seeks to create.  Be that a new product, service, tool, strategy, or model, all organisations engaged in the business of being successful, hope to both test and prove its mettle in the area of creativity in some form or another. SBN encourages and facilitates this via relevant think tanks and in collaborative projects. Strong relationships with forerunners in this field such as DINZ (Design Institute of New Zealand) and Better by Design assist here. By bringing our network’s expertise together, we can create useful information on market and consumer trends with the explicit purpose of allowing our members to reconsider and re-examine the suitability of their own products or services for future markets.

Share – In the same way that your organisation sought to learn from the original trailblazers, you will also be in a position to provide learning opportunities to other emergers. By entering the Awards, you will have sought and been provided with well-deserved recognition and rewards. Continually feeding back into the loop means that your business with carry on generating possibilities and realising opportunities.
SBN member and 2009 National Sustainable Design and Innovation Award winner, LanzaTech, is an excellent example of a manufacturing firm riding the sustainability wave with much success (see separate story in this issue). 
Former manufacturing winners of the SBN Awards include Resene (2008) and Dulux New Zealand (2007). Both showed commitment and flair when confronted with issues around waste and community impacts, demonstrating that innovation is just as evident in the back offices of the organisation, as in the product itself. To read more relevant business case studies visit
Sustainable development initiatives provide a touchstone for current and future business.  To position yourself in the future and to capitalise on the endless opportunities that sustainability presents we encourage you to visit our website and find out more.

Article by Rachel Brown, CEO, Sustainable Business Network.

Brenda Harkin
National Communications Manager
Manager: Central and Southern Regions
Sustainable Business Network

P: 04 384 4715  M: 021 686443  
PO Box 8095, Wellington






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