Close

Here's the social issues New Zealand CEOs will be championing for 2019

In 2019, more so than ever before, consumers expect companies to take a stand when it comes to social issues. After all, this is the era of the activist businesses that make it their company's mission to create social change – from Nike's controversial Colin Kaepernick campaign, to Patagonia donating the US$10 million it saved from the Trump administration's tax cuts to environmental organisations. Closer to home, New Zealand CEOs are increasingly vocal about issues like mental health, poverty and climate change. We reached out to the bosses of Beca, Pead PR, DB Breweries, Kiwibank, Xero and Tech Futures Lab and asked what they'd be focusing on for this year, and why it has influenced their business' mission. 

Kiwibank

“Among the many issues we’ll be addressing, financial capability is a key one for Kiwibank – especially in the youth space. New Zealanders have told us that they don’t feel confident or capable when dealing with their finances and wish that people had taught them such a vital life skill so we’re fronting in to this. We partner with Banqer, an interactive financial capability platform that provides students with an immersive experience. It’s digital and engaging, brings finances to life, and reflects the world we live in today. Banqer was active in over 2,200 New Zealand classrooms in 2018 and we’ve committed to expand that number in 2019 as well as evolving how we bring the world of finance to life for even more Kiwi kids.”

– Steve Jurkovich, Kiwibank CEO.


Pead PR



"Our philosophy is that we don’t employ staff, we employ people. We are all much more than our job title and it’s important to keep that top of mind.

Mental and physical wellbeing are both focus areas for us at Pead PR and always have been. Our industry is fast-paced and it can really push you mentally, emotionally and at times physically.  It’s a demanding career and in any one day you can be both at the top and very bottom of the rollercoaster. It can be especially challenging when someone may be experiencing stress in their personal life while juggling the demands of their job and it’s important to us as a leadership team that we provide the support when and where it is required. We need to ensure our team feels supported and valued at all times.   

It’s our responsibility to ensure that our team is both mentally and physically well and we are in the process of implementing a staff-wellbeing programme to ensure our team is well looked after.

Looking back on my own career, there have been times when I knew I had reached my burn-out point, although I probably didn’t want to admit it because I thought I would be viewed as ‘weak’ or not coping – and nothing could be further for the truth. Over the years, I have learnt that asking for help is actually a sign of maturity and strength. Unfortunately unless the environment you work in supports this thinking and enables open dialogue often the call for help goes unanswered.  At Pead PR we create personal relationships with our entire team so that they feel supported, understood and confident to ask for help."

– Sarah Munnik, Pead PR managing director.

Beca

"Beca’s purpose is ‘make everyday better’ so, for our people, addressing sustainability challenges is hugely motivating. We were a founding  signatory to NZ’s Climate Leaders’ Coalition last year, and we are committed to reducing our own carbon emissions. However the biggest contribution we can make is through our role as New Zealand’s largest professional services firm, helping our diverse clients reduce the impacts of their activities and to help them mitigate impacts and adapt to climate change. Other critical sustainability issues, such as helping clients achieve good social outcomes from their projects, and promoting diversity and inclusion in our work place will also be key this year."

– Don Lyon, Beca chief strategy and operations officer.

Tech Futures Lab



"At Tech Futures Lab, we never focus on a single issue. We have to keep our focus broad because our Master’s candidates bring a wonderfully diverse range of issues to the table. From a philosophical perspective, we're really interested in changing the discussion around technology. So much of the language is unsettling and – we suspect – a barrier. Use the word disruptive in any other context and it’s rarely positive (not to mention overused). We need to explore new ways of thinking about the issues first and then see where the tech fits in. That’s our priority: the human side of technology. Humani-tech."

– Sarah Hindle, Tech Futures Lab general manager.

Xero

"As someone who has experienced mental health challenges, I am only too aware of the impact it can have, both on the individual and their whanau, as well as their work life. As a result, mental health has become somewhat of a private passion for me. It’s also something that comes up on a consistent basis with small businesses owners - especially considering the isolation challenges many face. Looking at the year ahead, promoting wellbeing will be a big focus for us as we continue to try and remove the stigma around mental health.”

– Craig Hudson, Xero New Zealand and Pacific Islands managing director.

DB Breweries



"When you drive, one beer is too many. Research shows that a blood alcohol content of just 0.01 percent can impair our driving, so why did our recent study reveal that 68 percent of drivers are happy to have one or two drinks? The Heineken ‘When You Drive, Never Drink’ behavioural change initiative that DB Breweries piloted at the end of 2018 showed that small interventions can work, but there needs to be a cultural shift to encourage a change in behaviour. In 2019, DB will keep using its brands, partnerships and products like Heineken 0.0 to remind people that alcohol and driving don’t mix."

– Peter Simons, DB Breweries managing director.

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).