Practically underpinning sustainability and ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) approaches with values, principles and key concepts in Aotearoa New Zealand:  An emerging regional sustainability and climate action collaboration

#circular economy #regeneration #values#businesses esg regional development sustainbility planning Mar 01, 2023

Recently we had our first Climate Action Week here in  Marlborough, Aotearoa New Zealand with visits to vineyards & wineries, seafood, forestry & sawmilling businesses. We appreciated the open, informative visits and reflective discussions on progress, challenges, and learning about transforming to more sustainable practices and impacts. Over 50 businesses and organisations participated and over 150 people were involved. Visits were made to Dog Point Vineyard, Sanford Seafood, Yealands Estate Winery, and One Forty-One Kaituna Sawmill.

Key learnings: Efforts and progress are being made and examples included waste reduction, improved biodiversity, regenerative horticulture and waterways,  from R&D - the use of seafood waste is opening up new products and markets, and some chemicals used in treating timber are being stopped to reduce leaching into the ground and toxic waste.

Later each day in our action planning sessions, we used some reflective questions:

  • What values are important to your organisation? Why? How do these values impact sustainability and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) related activities and progress? 
  • What principles are important for sustainability in your organisation? Key themes were increasing collaboration with stakeholders to share knowledge and learning, communicating more with suppliers, expanding sustainability knowledge needed, and an intergenerational and holistic worldview important e.g., in Te Tauihu - an intergenerational strategy with eight interconnected outcomes by Tūpuna Pono (being good ancestors).
  • What key concepts inform your organisation's approach to Sustainability and Climate Action planning, measuring, and reporting? e.g., regenerative, circular economy, carbon positive. What key concepts are relevant to your organisation's goals, progress, and impacts?  

Discussions and learning ranged from getting started to scaling transformative practices, and evolving pilot projects to reduce waste and improve biodiversity. People and participating organisations shared their ongoing commitment to evolving practices to improve and transform environmental, social, and governance progress and impacts. We came away motivated, inspired, and ready to take more action, make more progress, and focus on contributing to intergenerational impacts.

Coming up are more visits, sharing opportunities, and an emerging collaboration on an integrated vision, outcomes, and actions for Marlborough 2030 and beyond is underway. Regional connections are expanding between iwi (Māori tribes), private and public sectors, banks, sector and regional organisations, and NGOs.  I feel so privileged to be part of this growing regional sustainability and climate action community. We will keep you updated and share our learning, progress, and impacts.  Thinking globally, acting locally!