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Business integration key to environmental change

Integrated environmental projects such as Te Hōnonga a Iwi Restoring Rosedale Park, which brings together business, iwi, local government, schools and community groups, are key to protecting the health of our landscapes, waterways and seas, and creating an equitable, low-carbon circular economy, according to a new report.

The Sustainable Business Network (SBN) last month released Regenerating Nature in Aotearoa New Zealand: The Transformative Role of Business which looks at what businesses need to increase their action and investment in nature.

Nature is in trouble, the report says. Right now, more than 4,000 species are threatened or at risk of extinction in New Zealand. The health of our landscapes, waterways and seas has declined dramatically in recent decades.

“There are two immediate actions that we need to take to halt that decline. One involves repairing the damage we have caused to nature over generations. The other involves changing our practices so we stop eroding our natural systems and move towards circular practices that regenerate nature,” the report states.

Businesses can play a key role in that mahi by:

· Investing in on-the-ground restoration and regeneration projects to support iwi, community groups and landowners who don’t have the scale of funding needed

· Transforming their business practices to be more regenerative

The report also outlines how businesses stand to benefit from taking these actions. By recognising and valuing nature’s contributions, businesses can get ahead of incoming regulations and reduce risk. They can enhance their brand reputation, create resilient supply chains and unlock new opportunities for partnerships, innovation and growth.

SBN conducted surveys with businesses to better understand the key drivers for investing in nature. These included wanting to do the right thing, wanting to attract and retain staff, particularly the younger generation who value working for socially and environmentally conscious companies, needing to mitigate against nature-related risks and pressure from stakeholders such as consumers to adopt nature-friendly practices.

But the barriers that businesses face include are lack of money, understanding and knowledge of how to invest, the report found.

Te Hōnonga a Iwi Restoring Rosedale Park project co-ordinator Nicky Shave says the Albany restoration’s model is set up to breakdown those barriers for local businesses.

Organisations that lack time or capacity to do the hands-on work at the site can contribute funding, other businesses get involved by donating much-needed services, equipment or expertise and workplaces that want to learn more about the environment and contribute directly to the restoration can bring their teams down for working bees and volunteer days, she says.

By combining resources, businesses, local iwi, community groups and schools can achieve so much more than they could by working alone, says Nicky.

“For many small businesses at the start of their sustainability journey, involvement with a restoration project such as Te Hōnonga a Iwi Restoring Rosedale Park opens their eyes to the need for this work and inspires them to look at how they can improve their internal practices to better protect our environment.

“For organisations that are already committed to this work, our project provides a way for them to increase their sustainability.”

Local businesses that want to get involved with Te Hōnonga a Iwi Restoring Rosedale Park can email

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