Here is a snapshot update of some of the work that's been going on in The Natural Step New Zealand office lately. It was originally posted as part of the Spring 2013 Stepping Stones Newsletter.
With its diverse network of Natural Step associates, TNS New Zealand engages in a rich array of initiatives that span Kiwi society. Whether it’s examining how a western-born framework for strategic sustainable development translates to an indigenous Māori context, offering sustainability training to businesses, community development, translating the living building challenge to local conditions, or delving into what sustainable health sector policies would look like, our New Zealand associates are working to bring a systems perspective and strategic sustainability to every arena in their beautiful country.
A Shift in Leadership Roles
|Ian Challenger, executive director of TNS NZ
The annual general meeting of TNSNZ in March brought some shifts in leadership. Simon Harvey has moved from the executive director role to chairing the board, while Ian Challenger takes the vacated executive director seat. The other board members to be elected were Steve Henry, Karen Walshe and Jerome Partington.
Ian, a Sustainable Development Analyst for NZ’s leading coastal and freshwater research institute will bring a new set of skills and fresh energy to the executive director role, with his background in local government research and fundraising.
The TNS community wishes the group well as they settle into their new roles.
He Poutama Māori: Transferring Indigenous Philosophy To a Sustainability Framework
Ian Challenger has spent the last year exploring how to make the Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (FSSD) relevant to the Māori worldview, which is is highly values based and difficult to incorporate into New Zealand’s ‘westernised’ economy. However, the FSSD appeared to have the potential to bridge the gap between worlds as there are similarities between the FSSD and how Māori perceive, value and operate in the natural world.
At the same time, if it was to fulfil its potential with this community, the FSSD needed adapting to an indigenous context. In its orthodox form, the FSSD does not suit the cyclical Māori philosophy. Nor does it incorporate Māori values.
Working with Māori to analyse the FSSD, a new model is being developed that would communicate its principles and approach using the Māori cosmology and stories of their Atua (gods), that explain their place in the universe.
This research has provided lessons on how to make the FSSD relevant to an indigenous community, the importance of communication and the place of knowledge, all of which could be of relevance to the wider FSSD community.
For more information, please contact Ian Challenger: Ian.Challenger(at)cawthron.org.nz.
Business Training: Adding Sustainable Value
Adding Sustainable Value was developed as a leading business improvement training course through collaboration between TNSNZ, Otago Polytechnic and the Sustainable Business Network (SBN). It offers a robust business analysis and strategic planning approach (underpinned by the FSSD), the Sustainable Business Network’s Get Sustainable Challenge benchmarking tool plus entry to its national business awards—the biggest in New Zealand.
The programme involves four full-day workshops plus one-on-one coaching over a period of six months. 12 businesses are welcomed to each programme cycle. Each business can bring up to four people to the workshops.
Forty-four businesses have been through the programme with many great success stories. The businesses range in size and represent a broad spectrum of industries. Full information is available on the ASV website, with case studies and video testimonials.
Communities Adopting the Strategic Sustainable Development Approach
Nelson City Council has formally adopted the FSSD in its draft long-term plan. The city’s Mayoral Taskforce, led by TNSNZ senior associate Simon Harvey, helped shape the initial plan with the community and a broad range of stakeholders using the Integrated Community Sustainability Planning process developed by The Natural Step in Canada. The draft plan is currently out for consultation and is a great example of a council that has overtly committed to the TNS strategic planning methodology.
Hasting District Council, in the Hawkes Bay region, adopted the FSSD in 2009 has been making great progress. The council has developed a range of incentives to encourage local players to deliver more sustainable outcomes. One key initiative is the streamlined building consent process for developers that integrate sustainable outcomes into their projects. The council has also set up its own property development company that is completing some showcase projects that model success, and show what is possible as a means of encouraging the local market to lift its game. Its Best Home ™ programme, a 50 / 50 initiative between the council and the building industry, delivered a 6 green-star rated home in November 2012 with bigger plans for the future around multiple dwelling developments.
Wharenui (meeting house) in Whakatu Marae, Nelson, New Zealand
Promoting The Living Building Challenge
TNSNZ Associate Jerome Partington of Jasmax Architects continues to enjoy success in promoting up-take of the Living Building Challenge in New Zealand. Te Wharehau O Tuhoe, the new Tuhoe tribe’s headquarters is a fine example. The building, now complete, is an innovative in-ground structure using timber piles. Construction company Arrow International has developed a social engagement program around the building project to train, educate and engage the community. For more information and some wonderful videos on the project, visit the Facebook site.
Toward Sustainable Health Policies
TNSNZ Associate Maggie Lawton has just started working with the Nursing School at Otago Polytechnic on a project that will look at opportunities for improving the policy framework in the health sector. New Zealand doesn’t currently have a sustainable development policy for health, and Maggie’s work will take a close look at what an ideal policy might look like.