NZ Post takes the crown at NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards

Friday, 01 December, 2017

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The winners of the NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards 2017 have been announced, after the judges had the difficult task of narrowing down the highest number of entries ever received in the competition’s 15-year history.

According to the organisers of the awards, this year’s high level of entries reflects the growth in sustainability initiatives across New Zealand businesses at a time when sustainability is shifting to the mainstream of business and policy. The latest research by Colmar Brunton says 83% of Kiwis would stop buying a company’s products if they heard about them being irresponsible or unethical and 73% want to work in companies that are sustainable.

The winner of the NZI Greatest Contribution to a Sustainable New Zealand (Supreme Award) was New Zealand Post, one of New Zealand’s oldest state-owned companies. Rachel Brown, CEO of awards co-sponsor the Sustainable Business Network (SBN), said she was delighted to see NZ Post take out the top award.

“NZ Post has led the way in sustainability for some time now,” said Brown. “It produced New Zealand’s first integrated report in 2013 using an international framework and it has reported every year since. It uses electric vehicles, called Paxters, to deliver mail and parcels. And it is partnering with NZ Red Cross to help build resilient communities.

“Using NZ Post services has now become the first choice for businesses that are sustainability minded.”

NZ Post’s partnership with NZ Red Cross — which also saw it receive the Partnering for Good award — supports the latter’s disaster management program to build more sustainable communities. So when disaster strikes and the NZ Red Cross responds, NZ Post makes available support including logistics, postal, banking services and volunteer mobilisation.

The partnership also provides a dedicated NZ Post/Kiwibank account for Red Cross appeals accessible through an extensive network of retail stores. This gives New Zealanders an accessible and established channel to make donations within 24 hours of Red Cross launching an appeal.

Finally, NZ Post supports Red Cross’s five Disaster Welfare and Support Trucks located around the country, which can be deployed quickly in response to a disaster. These trucks can unpack to become a welfare support reception, providing shelter and food for up to 150 people.

“Being a sustainable business is a lot more than having green initiatives,” said Donna Williams, general manager customer experience and marketing for NZI and principal partner of the SBN. “It’s about creating a business model that is resilient and endures the test of time. It means taking responsibility for the people it employs and the communities and environment it operates in. This year’s supreme winner does just that, so we’re thrilled they’re being recognised for their efforts.”

Other award winners include:

  • Sustainability Superstar: Bob Burnett, Bob Burnett Architecture, for being an ardent advocate for energy-efficient and sustainable building design.
  • Communicating for Change: WasteMINZ, for overseeing the Love Food Hate Waste initiative — a behaviour change campaign to reduce food waste and increase resource efficiency.
  • Going Circular: Wishbone Design Studio, for creating a multifunctional balance bike for young children made from 100% post-consumer recycled carpet.
  • Efficiency Champion: Christchurch Airport, for pioneering the use of a large-scale New Zealand-designed system that heats and cools the building using the artesian water reservoir below the terminal.
  • Restoring Nature: Zealandia, for its restoration of 225 hectares of ecosystem and threatened species.
  • Transforming Food: Common Unity Project Aotearoa, for building a local food ecosystem to address the lack of accessible, affordable, healthy food in the city of Lower Hutt.
  • Hardwired for Social Good: Bayfair Shopping Centre, for becoming the most accessible shopping centre in New Zealand.
  • Partnering for Good (co-winner): Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari, for combining close public viewing of whales, dolphins and sea birds with important marine science research.
  • Revolutionising Energy: Vector, for partnering with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei on a revolutionary community housing project that includes a networked system of solar panels and batteries.
  • Smarter Transport: Flip the Fleet, for accelerating uptake of low-emission vehicles (LEVs) in New Zealand by measuring and communicating their performance and benefits.

“Over the years we have seen a move from efficient resource management into real system shifts, responding to critical themes like restoring nature, renewable transport and good food, and reflecting the growth of new areas like the circular economy,” said Brown.

“The finalists this year include small businesses, corporates and not for profits. This shows that all types of organisations can make a success out of sustainability.”

Image credit: ©

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