Built To Give Back

The Kiwi Leaders Fighting for a Greener, Wealthier New Zealand

New Zealand from space

Pure Advantage challenges New Zealanders to seize the opportunity to build businesses that use natural resources in a sustainable way. In the first of a series of articles about innovative Kiwi businesses embracing green growth, Pure Advantage sets out its mission to advocate for a clean, green and more prosperous New Zealand.

Pure Advantage has a bold vision for New Zealand. The not-for-profit, formed by Kiwi business leaders, believes this country has a unique opportunity to lead a global shift to green growth, forging a pathway that creates wealth and skilled jobs while defending and preserving our natural environment.

A challenge with high stakes.

By embracing the commercial opportunities associated with using natural resources in a sustainable way, says Pure Advantage, we could transform New Zealand’s future. The costs of not answering this challenge, however, could be significant.

Pure Advantage was founded in 2012 by business leaders including Rob Morrison, Phillip Mills, Sir Stephen Tindall and Sir Mark Solomon. They share a strong belief in the role the private sector has to play in creating a greener, wealthier New Zealand. There is a significant opportunity, they say, to increase prosperity for all New Zealanders while protecting the environment that has played such a huge role in shaping our sense of national identity.

It's time to set audacious goals for New Zealand.

For CEO Simon Millar, it’s time to set audacious goals around New Zealand’s green growth opportunities. He urges New Zealand business leaders to look at their businesses to work to achieve a triple bottom line – financial, social and environmental.

“Thinking about the environment can be way down the list of priorities when you’re a small business owner and you’re thinking about paying the mortgage and supporting your family,” he says.

“As much as this is about business, this is a social movement too - customers increasingly want to know what brands are doing about the environment.

“Business owners increasingly field questions from their customers and eventually – of course - questions from their own children about the impact their business has on the environment, so for many reasons it’s better to start walking the talk sooner rather than later.”

It’s a cause that Simon believes is an urgent one. “The risk to New Zealand by not leading on green growth that matters to us most will strike at the very essence of who we are. We benefit immeasurably from the perception that we are a clean green country but the reality is there are gaps between our eco-friendly image, our economic aspirations, and our current modes of doing business.”

Identifying the opportunities.

The organisation began by commissioning the University of Auckland Business School and UK strategic economics consultancy Vivid Economics to identify New Zealand’s best green growth opportunities.

Researchers produced two reports, New Zealand’s Position in the Green Race and Green Growth: Opportunities for New Zealand, which outline the potential benefits of green growth and the ways we could improve our environmental performance.

Pure Advantage used the research to identify seven main areas - or ‘Advantages’ - that it sees as our best opportunities for green growth.

The seven Advantages are:

  1. AgriTech
  2. BioDiversity
  3. BioProducts
  4. Housing
  5. Renewable Energy
  6. Smart Grid
  7. Waste to value

The Advantages were chosen because they meet a number of criteria, including the ability to deliver both economic growth and improve New Zealand’s economic performance, and the ability to succeed without immediate government support or policy changes. A full description of the Advantages and the criteria used to select them can be found on the Pure Advantage website.

The organisation investigates, promotes and communicates opportunities for green growth in New Zealand, and aims to influence those opportunities into tangible action plans for government and business. Since April 2014, Pure Advantage has published more than 80 original articles across the seven Advantages from New Zealand business and green growth thought leaders on its website.

Telling the stories of Kiwi businesses leading the way.

Kelly Weston, Kiwibank’s Head of Corporate Responsibility, is excited to help Pure Advantage tell stories about businesses that have already started working towards sustainability.

“From Kaitaia to Bluff, there will be lots of businesses doing amazing things out there to do with environmental sustainability,” she says.

“It’s good to be able to shine a light on some of those stories in a way that may inspire other Kiwi business owners to look at what they can do to help create a more environmentally sustainable future.”

Pure Advantage and Kiwibank are now joining forces to bring to a broader audience stories about inspiring New Zealanders motivated by the business opportunities of a low-carbon future. The two organisations have forged a communications partnership to create a series of articles focusing on Kiwi businesses thriving in each of the seven Advantage areas.

First up will be a profile of Yellow Brick Road, the sustainable seafood company established by Wellington entrepreneur Rachel Taulelei in 2006. Rachel founded the business based on the belief that the key to New Zealand’s future in the fishing industry is value rather than volume, and that responsibility, respect and provenance are paramount to preservation.

Watch out for more inspiring stories from Pure Advantage and Kiwibank about Kiwis finding innovative ways to safeguard our stunning natural environment while improving outcomes for all New Zealanders.