New Zealand now leads the world with its climate laws, but businesses must continue to shoulder the size of the government in driving the transformation to decarbonize our economy, said David Benattar, chief sustainability officer of The Warehouse Group.
Climate change is the biggest environmental challenge facing the world and will dramatically impact future generations, he said.
Benattar is the main speaker at Office, PA and Event Planners Events in Auckland on March 23 and 24, where he will speak about the importance of culture, empowerment and transformation in accelerating sustainable business practices.
The Warehouse Group is the first major organization in the country and the third major retailer in the world to become carbon neutral in 2019.
“Climate change has affected our economy, ecosystem, infrastructure, health and biosecurity. If this is allowed, it will have a wide social and economic impact on our country, “he said.
“As New Zealand’s largest retailer, The Warehouse Group is responsible for our impact on the environment and plays our part in supporting the country in taking climate action under its international obligations under the 2015 UN Paris Agreement.
“The Gudang Group instills sustainability in everything we do. We were recently awarded an A- score by Carbon Disclosure Project, placing us in the highest global leadership category and recognizing that we are applying current best practices in the fight against climate change. “
In September 2020, The Warehouse launched a sustainable and affordable product range and has made significant changes to its product range, including having more than 9,000 products on its shelf with sustainable features.
The Warehouse targets 20 percent of its products to have a sustainable attribute by 2023. Many of its products contain ingredients certified by programs such as the Better Cotton Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council.
They also sell many recyclable and reusable products that contribute to long product life cycles and a reduction in environmental impact.
It has eliminated or reduced plastics and plastic packaging from thousands of products on its shelves.
The group, which includes The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery, Noel Leeming and Torpedo7, has significantly reduced waste.
The Sixteen Warehouse store features soft plastic recycling collection bins, enabling New Zealanders to dispose of their used soft plastics. Last year alone, The Warehouse collected 4.6 million scraps of used soft plastic. This expands the program to an additional 14 stores throughout New Zealand.
This expansion is just one of the post-consumer waste projects the Group launched this year as it continues to grow and invest in circular economy practices, said Benattar.
“E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, with an average Kiwi generating over 21kg of e-waste every year.
“By introducing a program whereby unwanted Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment can be safely recycled, we hope to divert large amounts of e-waste from landfills in New Zealand.
“We are delighted to offer another way for climate-conscious Kiwis to live more sustainably as we continue on our journey to become New Zealand’s most sustainable company.”
Benattar has extensive sustainability experience in the nonprofit sector in the US and at The Warehouse Group. He is a member of the board of the New Zealand Sustainable Business Council, which represents 28 per cent of New Zealand’s private sector GDP.