Corporate greenies join forces

The new lobby group will start about 50 member companies, including some of the country's largest, like Fonterra.

Major corporates have joined up to form a new industry organisation to promote sustainable business and policies.

Members of the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) voted overwhelmingly to form a new Sustainable Business Council (SBC) in association with BusinessNZ.

BusinessNZ’s Sustainable Business Forum (SBF) will merge with the new body.

The new SBC will start with more than 49 member companies, including some of the country’s largest, like Fonterra, in what BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly describes as an opportunity to build “a strong collective voice” on sustainability led by business.

“New Zealand has a strong interest in sustainability. It makes sense for us to have one consolidated voice representing the New Zealand business community, providing businesses with leadership, best practice and advocacy in an area that is now a key issue in mainstream business all over the world,” Mr O’Reilly says.

The SBC will be chaired by Deloitte partner and sustainability leader Brett Tomkins and a transitional executive of nine, while more companies are recruited – and a new executive of 12 is elected in late February.

Mr Tomkins says the formation of the new organisation will boost efforts to make sustainable business practices and solutions more mainstream. It will advance opportunities to work with BusinessNZ’s Major Companies Group and the 76,000 companies associated with BusinessNZ’s four affiliated regional organisations throughout the country.

Outgoing NZBCSD chair Bob Field says the formation of the SBC is “a great opportunity to join forces with another organisation which will greatly advance the original aspirations of our founders to mainstream sustainability in business”.

The SBC will begin operating as a new entity from January 1, 2012. 

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