Porter Novelli NZ launches sustainability practice

Agency appoints James Walker to lead new offer.
(From left) executive director Jane Luscombe, executive director Louise Wright, managing director Sarah Williams, executive director sustainability James Walker.

Porter Novelli NZ has launched a specialised sustainability practice. James Walker will join the agency as executive director – sustainability, to lead development of the new practice alongside managing director Sarah Williams and executive directors Louise Wright and Jane Luscombe.

Mr Walker has extensive experience driving sustainability programmes across the public and private sector, most recently at the Ministry for the Environment, and Woolworths Group. 

Mr Walker will work across the Clemenger Group, which Porter Novelli NZ is a part of, to support businesses and clients to achieve their sustainability ambitions and to communicate their actions effectively.

In his most recent role, as deputy secretary partnerships and customers at the Ministry for the Environment, Mr Walker led the ministry’s division responsible for mobilising New Zealanders and partnering with change-makers. He led work on the transition to a circular economy; collaborative action on plastic packaging and bags; the ministry’s sustainability strategy; environmental innovation; and the public consultation on the development of the Zero Carbon Bill. 

Previously he was general manager corporate affairs at Woolworths Group (New Zealand), where he led Countdown’s sustainability strategy and reporting programme. There he led initiatives such as the company’s single-use plastic bag ban – the first supermarket to do so – and industry-leading domestic violence and transgender transitioning policies. Earlier, he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a policy officer (trade and environment) and as deputy ambassador to the Netherlands.

Porter Novelli managing director Sarah Williams says the agency has long recognised the importance of sustainability to New Zealand businesses and has witnessed an acceleration of corporates wanting to make a positive environmental and social impact.

“CEOs and executive teams are increasingly asking for help on how they can make a tangible difference. We’ve moved beyond ‘why should we’ to ‘what can we do’ to benefit customers, employees, investors and the environment.

Porter Novelli’s sustainability practice will include strategy development, identifying community and social programmes, brokering partnerships and connections, working with government and creatively telling stories.

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