The first Climate Action Hawke’s Bay workshop, aimed at helping businesses begin their sustainability journeys, has gained overwhelmingly positive feedback, with more planned.

The workshop was hosted by sustainability experts 3R Group on August 27 and 31 in Napier, with 23 organisations attending. These ranged in size from SME’s to large corporates and represented a broad cross section of industries from hospitality to the primary sector, and local government.

3R Group Marketing and Client Engagement Manager Toni Bye says she’s very pleased with the response. “It’s been a very difficult year, and when times are tough sustainability (including reducing carbon emissions) is often seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than a critical component of business success. However, this great response to the workshop shows business and local government understand that the climate crisis won’t wait and needs to be a high priority.”

“We don’t need to look overseas to see the impacts of climate change – we can see them right here in Hawke’s Bay on our coastlines and in more frequent prolonged droughts.  Plus, we see first-hand how it’s effecting our most vulnerable, for example Hohepa which is now planning an expensive retreat from rising seas.  We also know that changes in seasons such as warmer winters will impact on our vital horticulture and viticulture sectors.”

The workshop focussed on how organisations can start measuring and monitoring their carbon emissions, as well as how to build their brand through sustainability initiatives like action on climate.  The workshop featured speakers from 3R Group, Toitū Envirocare, and Moxie.

“COVID-19 disrupted our plans, as it did to so many others, and given the current economic climate we decided to waive the attendance fee and instead have the workshop on a koha basis,” Toni says.

Port of Napier Environmental and Cultural Advisor Te Kaha Hawaikirangi says he found the workshop of great value. “The Toitū conversation (covering carbon offsets and science-based targets) was great to understand the different management and certification systems. The branding conversation was good to understand the importance of branding and changing markets.”

“It was a good overview of what is happening in the carbon space. It was useful to me personally and from the Hawke’s Bay Winegrowers People & Environment Committee perspective,” says Horticentre Technical Advisor Bridget Wilton.

The success of the workshop has meant 3R is planning a third date in mid-November: “Business that missed out are encouraged to register for a repeat of the first workshop which will be followed closely by practical workshops addressing how to reduce emissions,” Toni added.

The workshop followed the launch of the Climate Action HB (CAHB) initiative in November 2019. The initiative, supported by the local councils, aims to encourage, equip and support organisations in the region to take action on climate change.