01 Oct 2018

Sustainability Success: Stories from the South - Conference Wrap

Posted in: Inspiring Action

Sustainability Success: Stories from the South - Conference Wrap

It was an inspiring day for sustainable business in the South Island. Over 50 sustainability champions from across New Zealand came together on 27 September to hear about sustainable action by leading businesses on the mainland.

Sustainability Success: Stories from the South, a collaboration by Enviro-Mark Solutions and the Sustainable Business Network, showcased real-world challenges and creative solutions in environmental management.

Networking at Sustainability Success - Stories from the South on 27 September

“Our members are always asking us how they can be a better business from an environmental standpoint, so we knew we needed to provide tangible examples to learn from”, says Dr Ann Smith, Enviro-Mark Solutions CEO.

“Stories from the South was an opportunity for attendees to hear from organisations that have taken practical steps to reduce their environmental footprint, and tap into the inspiring sustainable business community in the South Island”.

It was heartening to hear local stories from a broad range of sectors. YHA and Camp Glenorchy discussed their ambitions for sustainability in tourism and hospitality. Southern Water Engineering provided an SME perspective. Christchurch success stories The Fermentist and Ara spoke about their ambitious visions, while The Sustainable Business Network provided tools for smart procurement.

Attendees also heard about the significant steps that larger organisations in the South Island are taking, including Synlait, Kathmandu, the Christchurch City Council and the Canterbury District Health Board.

Mark Wren, Synlait, speaks at Sustainability Success - Stories from the South on 27 September. Photo credit: Jackson White

Mark Wren, Synlait, speaks at Sustainability Success - Stories from the South on 27 September. Photo credit: Jackson White


The conference highlighted organisations already working together on a shared sustainable vision, including Fulton Hogan, Christchurch International Airport and the Department of Conservation and the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce outlined their initiatives to work alongside their members.

In the built environment, both Warren and Mahoney and Bob Burnett Architecture addressed the potential for daunting but exciting disruption facing their industry; it can either continue with business as usual for a generation or more, or support a massive improvement in our carbon efficiency and healthy buildings.

Fiona Short, Warren and Mahoney, speaks at Sustainability Success - Stories from the South on 27 September. Photo credit: Jackson White

Fiona Short, Warren and Mahoney, speaks at Sustainability Success - Stories from the South on 27 September. Photo credit: Jackson White


BOMA founder and CEO Kaila Colbin inspired the crowd as she spoke about who we can all adapt to exponential change, while ‘Professor Zero’ Dr Ann Smith, provided an large-world perspective about what carbon neutrality means for the economy and New Zealand. EMS Sustainability Advisor, Shaun Bowler, took the audience through a mindfulness exercise, highlighting the relationship between sustainability and this age-old practice.

Dr Smith believes that while individual stories were inspiring and relevant, “it was clear that the real power for change was in the power of our collective engagement in sustainability issues” she says.

“To the attendees who were a part of ‘Sustainability Success: Stories from the South’, we need to continue sharing our energy and passion, stories and knowledge”.

Kaila Colbin, BOMA, speaks at Sustainability Success - Stories from the South on 27 September. Photo credit: Jackson White

Kaila Colbin, BOMA, speaks at Sustainability Success - Stories from the South on 27 September. Photo credit: Jackson White