|Your customers are asking
General interest in sustainability has grown considerably in recent years. A study done by the Moxie Design Strategy and TNS Research showed that 26% of the survey respondents are part of a worldwide market segment known as LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability). This group of individuals is characterised by their attentiveness to human rights, environmental awareness, personal development and sustainable development.
Worldwide, this segment of the marketplace is on the increase, with LOHAS in the U.S. market representing 32.3% of the adult population. Roughly $250 billion is spent on goods and services in this market segment in the U.S. and another $250 billion worldwide. As the interest in sustainability spreads, it is likely that New Zealanders will follow the global trend.
In New Zealand, the Moxie Design Strategy has identified LOHAS consumers more specifically than worldwide consumers, giving them the name “Solution Seekers”. Who are Solution Seekers?
Organisations such as the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) and the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) have guided many companies in their sustainability journeys and boast considerable membership numbers. An SBN survey, in cooperation with the University of Waikato Business School, found that roughly 50% of New Zealand firms surveyed consider the impact of their processes on the environment. Among large firms, 35% have measurable targets for reducing waste output, energy consumption and water usage. 72% of large firms indicated reputation and brand were major motivators to implement environmental and socially-related activities.
The business community overall seems to be warming
to the idea of cutting energy costs and waste,
considering the environment in business decisions
and realising the social implications of products
and services. However, the most surprising discovery
from the survey was that only about one in 10 firms
surveyed produced a public report on their policies
and progress. A major marketing and public relations
advantage is being ignored almost entirely by New
Zealand businesses. The building industry, in
particular, has suffered from credibility and
quality issues in recent years. Sustainability
planning and reporting could assist in restoring
public perception of the industry by outlining the
consciousness, transparency and responsibility
of building companies.
More drivers for change
Aside from the new Building Act implications, many
councils are developing their own initiatives to
improve business performance and create sustainable
built environments. From Christchurch City’s Zero
Waste Initiative to Waitakere City’s Sustainable
Home Guidelines and the Auckland Region’s
Sustainable Cities Programme, it is
becoming clear that sustainable development is
influencing how our buildings and built environments
are being created.
The New Zealand Green Building Council came into
existence in 2005 and will have a commercially
viable building rating tool (for commercial and
residential buildings) available from mid-2006. This
is likely to transform the industry as it has done
in other countries. For more information about the
Green Building Council, visit:
A building rating tool is a way of evaluating the environmental design or operational performance of a building. Internationally, there is a wide range of building rating tools being used in the marketplace. In New Zealand there is one rating tool currently in operation – the BRANZ ‘Green Home Scheme’. This scheme is voluntary and is applied to new houses. House designs are rated based on their attention to the following issues: