Sustainable Business Council releases its Election Manifesto

25 Aug 2017
Renee Graham, Communications Manager

The Sustainable Business Council has released its Election Manifesto, a collaborative report representing the views of leading New Zealand businesses.

Based on a survey of its 91 member organisations and a series of meetings with senior leaders, the Election Manifesto identifies the top environmental and social issues these businesses want to work with the incoming government on.

Sustainable Business Council Executive Director Abbie Reynolds says the top two issues for members are: the transition to a low emissions economy and decent work and economic growth for all New Zealanders.

"Following the Paris Agreement, there is unprecedented momentum around the world to tackle climate change. This issue is far too big for any one sector to tackle on its own - our businesses want to be smart and achieve more through partnerships and collaboration with the incoming government."

Sustainable Business Council (SBC) Advisory Board Chair and Toyota CEO Alistair Davis says all SBC members have committed to reduce their emissions from the products and services they sell to customers. And some have already set ambitious targets to be net zero by 2050.

"But, they are concerned the government is lagging behind. They want the debate around climate change de-politicised and they want to work with government to develop clear climate change policies,which will future proof their investments and innovations."

SBC members are significant. They make up 29 per cent of New Zealand's private sector GDP, employ 128,000 full-time workers and have a 72 billion dollar collective turnover.

Abbie Reynolds says it is heartening to see member businesses also prioritise the welfare of vulnerable citizens and communities.

"Our members say they have no interest in any New Zealander being left behind. They are concerned about our young people, regional communities, the vulnerable and poor.

Alistair Davis says, "Our businesses know we cannot have healthy businesses without healthy communities. They believe business has a leading role to play in advancing New Zealand's environmental and social performance, as well as economic performance."

"These businesses want to collaborate with the incoming government and community sector more, on initiatives that will drive household and community prosperity. Many of our members already have their own initiatives underway - and they want to broaden their impact through partnership and collaboration."

There are four key sustainability issues our members want to work with the government on, using the Sustainable Development Goals as a framework. They are:

1. Transition to a low-emission economy: SBC members want to work with the government to develop a long-term vision for the transition to a low emissions economy. They also want to work with the government to develop climate change policies, which will futureproof their investment, innovation and business growth decisions.

2. Leave no one behind: SBC members want to make sure no New Zealander is left behind on the journey to a socially,environmentally and economically prosperous New Zealand. They want to work more with government on social sector initiatives, which connect young and vulnerable New Zealanders to education, training and work.

3. Strengthen NZ Inc: SBC members know New Zealand's reputation as a clean, green and socially equitable society is important to their business. They want to work with the public sector to develop a consistent evaluation process, which ensures all potential environmental and social impacts are considered when policy decisions are made.

4. Back business to be sustainable: SBC members put sustainability at the core of their business. They want to see government incentivise innovation and remove barriers, so companies can adopt sustainable practices with more speed and certainty. They also want to work with the public sector to develop a strategic approach to government procurement that takes into account the total lifetime cost of goods or services, including their environmental and social value.To read the Election Manifesto visit our website: