Taking NZ business achievements to a global stage

4 Jul 2019
Abbie Reynolds, Executive Director

Everyone has career high points: mine have included live TV interviews that I nailed; invitations that made me feel like I’d finally arrived; celebrations of things I was truly proud of. I think I’ve got another one coming up, because in ten days’ time I will be heading over to New York to present to the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The HLPF, as it is rather clunkily known, is where the United Nations has an annual look at how countries are tracking on implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. But despite the name, this is easily the most exciting thing to happen since my team gave me a sash for my birthday.

sustainability development goals

Most of our members know about the Goals and why they are important, but if you’re new to this, check out the workshop we held last year.

New Zealand will be delivering its first Voluntary National Review on progress towards the SDGs, highlighting everything that has been happening around the country, from government agencies, to community groups, and importantly for us, business. I have a two-minute speaking slot to talk to the United Nations about what New Zealand businesses are doing to deliver the SDGs.

Thanks to all the great work SBC members are doing on the SDGs I’ve got more stories to tell than I’ll have time.  So I’ll be talking about how many of you have adopted the SDGs (more than 50% of businesses who do sustainability reports).

I’ll also talk about the work you’ve done on the three priority SDGs we identified back in 2017 - Goal 13 Climate Change, Goal 1 Zero Poverty and Goal 8 Decent Work and Economic Growth.  I’ll talk about the Climate Leaders Coalition and the work so many of you are doing on the Future of Work.

And I’ll have a chance to talk about what we’d like to see the NZ Government do next, including the possibility of an appointment of a single Minister to take the lead on the Goals for New Zealand.

And if you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking that New York is a long way and a big chunk of carbon emissions to talk for just two minutes. At SBC we pride ourselves on being carboNZero certified as part of BusinessNZ, and so we are really thoughtful about any international travel. But I felt that this was too good an opportunity to miss, to take New Zealand business action on the SDGs to an international audience and represent and celebrate the great work that so many of you have done.  And maybe it can inspire other countries and businesses to take action too. New Zealand may be small, but we can make a huge difference.

Ahakoa iti, he pounamu. (Although it is small, it is of greenstone.)

Because of the way my flights were booked, I am offsetting the emissions from the trip separately from our usual carboNZero process. On this, my thanks to the team at Air NZ for pointing me to their tool which allows you to offset your flights after a booking is made or even once you are back from your trip, using the Air New Zealand Fly Neutral programme.

I will be reporting back from New York as I rub shoulders with the who’s who of the SDGs, as well as catching up with Kiwi expats like Suzi Kerr, who is also doing great things on an international stage.

We are always looking for more stories to tell to media and through Pānui about what our members are doing with the Sustainable Development Goals, so if your work isn’t already on our radar, feel free to let us know.

And you can catch up with my podcast interview about the trip here.