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Business case  

Your customers are asking for it         

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?

  • They are New Zealanders who span all ages, regional and urban backgrounds and other socio-economic factors. They typically make under $70,000 per annum.
  • They are not “greens” or green consumers. They view greens as radicals and their approach is much more individualistic— a mainstream market trying to make better decisions.
  • They are smart, informed and globally aware. They are technology savvy and there are no barriers to getting information to make decisions.
  • They are brand and marketing savvy. They understand when they are being targeted and are weary of being over-promised. They seek authenticity in brands.
  • They expect the benefits they receive from modern society, but want them provided in a way that meets their lifestyle choice. 
  • They seek innovative solutions that resonate with their values and beliefs. They want well-designed and highly considered solutions.
  • They are seeking a relationship with companies in terms of consumption processes, not merely the act of consumption. They want to affiliate themselves with organisations whose values resonate with their own, from sourcing of materials through to end use of products.
  • The strength of their attitude is directly connected to their consumption behaviour. Their convictions become stronger the more they exercise their values based on consumption choices.
To learn more about Solution Seekers in the New Zealand market, visit Moxie at: www.moxie.co.nz

 

Business leadership

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.

 

News flash

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:
www.nzgbc.org.nz

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:

  • household energy efficiency
  • sustainable materials choice
  • water economy
  • site position
  • indoor air quality
  • fire safety
  • design excellence.

To find out more about the Green Home Scheme visit:
www.branz.co.nz