Understanding the sustainability landscape

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A brief summary of key players

The sustainability landscape in Te Tauihu, the top of the South Island, and across Aotearoa New Zealand is immense. It includes carbon footprint certification programmes, support networks and funding specialists, as well as educational opportunities delivered in easy-to-absorb formats, such as through conferences, webinars, festivals and subscriber e-newsletters. 

This space is constantly evolving, and it’s impossible to capture everything and everyone, however Daniela Ramirez, Senior Climate Change Adviser / Kaitohutohu Matua – Āhuarangi for Nelson City Council – speaking to our Countdown To Zero programme members (Oct 2023) – offers a good summary of some of the key players in this space, at this moment, in our region and beyond.

Watch Daniela’s presentation to learn more, or read on for a starting list, ordered alphabetically with additional notes from Mission Zero, to be considered as a guide to further research.

Carbon footprint reduction consultants and certification programmes in Aotearoa New Zealand:

  • CEP (Carbon and Energy Professionals New Zealand) – runs training and certification programmes in carbon and energy management, provides third party accreditation
  • Ekos – grows and protects indigenous forests, connects businesses and governments with its projects through carbon measurement and offsetting services and provides accreditation based in ISO standards (not ISO accredited)
  • Toitū – part of Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research (New Zealand Crown Research Institute), Toitū acts as a consultancy business and ISO accredited certification programme offering assessment, verification and training services, as well as tools and software, to support businesses through an independent audit and certification process. Their Marks (‘Enviro’ – focussed on environmental management systems and ‘Carbon’ – Reduce, Net Carbon Zero, Climate Positive – can be applied (as logos) to a business’ website or other channels to verify its environmental impact

Carbon offset / carbon credit providers:

Organisations working to support change in business and the community – many of these offer events, webinars, e-newsletters and other resources to help people on their journey:

Te Tauihu

  • Businesses for Climate Action and its Mission Zero initiative – energises and supports the business community of Te Tauihu on its journey to zero carbon
  • Climate Action Marlborough – delivers a range of business-focussed events throughout the year, including an extensive Climate Action week in February, designed to create awareness, educate and motivate action
  • Climate Karanga Marlborough – advocates, educates and supports the people of Marlborough on climate-related issues
  • Nelsust – working for sustainable transport solutions in the Nelson region
  • Nelson Environment Centre – an independent not-for-profit organisation which repairs and sells donated goods
  • Nelson City Council Climate Change Taskforce – appointed members working with the Nelson City Council to work together to guide priorities
  • Nelson City Council Climate Strategy Advisory Group – a group of sector experts from the region who work closely with Nelson City Council and community organisations to set the direction for the Council’s Climate Change strategy
  • Nelson Regional Development Agency (NRDA) – has the mission to unlock the economic potential of Nelson Tasman to enable its people and places to thrive, by leading inclusive and regenerative economic development
  • Nelson Tasman Climate Forum (NTCF) – a community-led initiative, supported by Nelson City Council, which aims to drive urgent, strategic action on climate change in the region
  • Resilienz – an independent consultancy which provides information and advice to public and private organisations and individuals looking to take action on climate change, as well as producing a free, regular e-newsletter: Climate Matters
  • Sustainable Marlborough – works to support people and businesses in the Marlborough region to operate more sustainably
  • Tasman Environmental Trust – helps create and maintain healthy, diverse ecosystems woven through the Nelson Tasman landscape
  • Wakatū Incorporation – Whakatū Nelson-based organisation which oversees the Whenua asset portfolio, and Kono and AuOra businesses, with the purpose of preserving and enhancing this taonga for the benefit of current and future generations
  • Zero Carbon Nelson Tasman – a group which aims to support local government, industry and community groups to urgently reduce the region’s (net and gross) greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to a changing climate


  • 350 Aotearoa – a global grassroots climate movement that works to hold leaders accountable to actions which impact upon climate change
  • Aotearoa Circle – a voluntary initiative bringing together leaders from the public and private sectors to commit to priority actions that will restore Aotearoa’s natural capital for future generations.
  • B-Lab (B-Corp) – a nonprofit network which is aiming to transform the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet through the incorporation of social, environmental and governance best practice standards into BAU.
  • Chapter Zero – hosted by Aotearoa New Zealand’s Institute of Directors this membership-based organisation is part of a global network of board directors committed to taking action on climate change
  • Coal Action Network Aotearoa – takes action against the expansion of coal mining
  • ECO (Environment and Conservation Organisations) – a non-profit network of 45+ organisations who work to protect New Zealand’s natural heritage and foster relationships New Zealanders have with it
  • Ecologic Foundation – conducts research, consulting and advocacy on the management of natural resources to help find pathways to sustainable development
  • Environmental Defence Society – driving environmental protection in Aotearoa New Zealand by operating as a policy think-tank, litigation advocate and collaborator between private and public sectors
  • Extinction Rebellion NZ – the New Zealand branch of an international, apolitical network which uses non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act on the Climate and Ecological emergency
  • Generation Zero – creates localised climate action with rangatahi voices at the centre
  • Greenpeace – an independent, global environmental campaigning organisation which seeks to bring about systemic change through creative confrontation and non-violent direct action
  • He Pou a Rangi Climate Change Commission – driving climate action in Aotearoa New Zealand by providing independent, evidence-based advice to the Government of the day
  • Lawyers for Climate Action – lawyers who use their legal skills and experience to raise awareness of climate change, advocate for legislation and policies, and support community groups to reduce New Zealand’s impact on climate change
  • New Zealand Climate Leaders Coalition – a CEO-led community of 90 organisations leading the response to climate change through collective, transparent and meaningful action on mitigation and adaptation.
  • Our Climate Declaration – upholds a key goal of transition to a no-growth Economy of Enough
  • Pure Advantage – supports a broad range of sustainability, regenerative and green growth-focused research activities that generate cutting-edge theory and practice to transform how New Zealanders understand and manage the relationship between the environment and the economy
  • School Strike for Climate – organises student school strikes in demonstration of concern over climate change in order to drive political action
  • Sustainable Business Council – a membership organisation that connects businesses, partners, and sectors to create an impact by holding themselves to account and inspiring others to take action
  • Sustainable Business Network (SBN) – a membership-based social enterprise which works to drive climate action in business on a national scale
  • Sustainable Energy Forum – promotes information and supports action towards a sustainable energy future for Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Wise Response – a coalition of professionals which calls on New Zealand’s Parliament to comprehensively assess imminent risks to New Zealand and to draw up plans to deal with them
  • Zero Waste Network – represents community enterprises across Aotearoa New Zealand who are working towards zero waste

Peer Support Networks:

  • Fleet Management networking group – a Mission Zero-led networking group which meets in-person and online on an adhoc basic to hear from experts and share strategies to reducing business vehicle emissions

Funding opportunities and related services:

  • Climate Action Aoteaora – provides a useful list of Community Trusts and other funders who have come together within a pledge to prioritise investment in support of a just transition to a low carbon society
  • Community Renewable Energy Fund – supports renewable energy projects that help communities to access secure, renewable and more affordable energy. In 2024, the Fund will start operating with $27 million for community renewable energy projects across the motu
  • EECA (Te Tari Tiaki Pūngao Energy Efficiency & Conservation Authority) – focussed on moving Aotearoa towards a sustainable energy system, with funding and support options available to help local communities meet this goal
  • Green loans – see Westpac, BNZ and other banking service suppliers
  • Lion Foundation – makes funds available for charitable, philanthropic or cultural purposes that benefit the local community in the areas of arts & culture, health, sport and education
  • Lottery Community Facilities – improves or builds new community facilities
  • Nelson City Council – looking to offer contestable funds which respond to climate change (TBC in the Long Term Plan)
  • Network Tasman grant – a community grants scheme which includes an environmental and energy saving category
  • Pub Charity – provides funding to non-profit organisations who work within the following areas: community/welfare; education; fire brigade, ambulance, lifesaving; health/health-related; youth
  • Rātā Foundation – funds community organisations to reduce barriers, providing support to those in need and acting to benefit our environment and climate

Conferences, festivals and communicators:

  • Auckland Climate Festival – held in Auckland and online over the month of September
  • Climate Action Week Marlborough – held in Malborough in February/March this week-long series of events brings together business people in the Marborough region and beyond to learn, share and be inspired by the opportunities that come with living in a climate positive world
  • Climate Change & Business Conference – annual conference presented in Auckland and online by the Sustainable Business Council, Environmental Defence Society, and Climate Leaders Coalition
  • Climate Matters – Whakatū Nelson-based series of podcasts and e-newsletters covering climate breakdown and recovery topics
  • EECA webinars – specialist courses and webinars delivered by carbon energy professionals
  • Nelson Tasman Climate Forum Climate Week – a mid-year, Whakatū Nelson and Tasman-based week of workshops and events which celebrate, educate and motivate people in the region to take action on climate change
  • Sustainability Matters – a fortnightly e-newsletter which summarise both global and local ‘happenings’ in the climate change space
  • WAO Summit – held in Wanaka and online in October each year
  • Westpac Smarts Webinars – online videos featuring conversations with experts on a variety of topics, including low carbon transition and the environment

Daniela Ramirez has over 20 years of experience working as a consultant / adviser in climate change and sustainability in both the private and local government sector (Christchurch, Sydney, and Nelson), developing and implementing strategies and action plans to mitigate climate change. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering (B.E.)/Renewable Natural Resources and a Master of Technology in Environmental Management. Daniela is currently as Senior Climate Change Adviser / Kaitohutohu Matua – Āhuarangi for Nelson City Council.

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