Toitū Envirocare Chief Executive to drive $18m transformation to speed up carbon emission reductions

Toitū Envirocare Chief Executive Teressa Betty (Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga) is leading an $18 million business transformation to speed up Aotearoa New Zealand’s carbon emissions reduction by making Toitū’s programmes more accessible.

Toitū Envirocare sets the standard for Aotearoa’s carbon and environmental certification programmes, with more than 900 businesses, from well-known corporates to privately-owned companies, certified under its carbon reduction programmes. What sets Toitū’s programmes apart is the requirement to evidence emissions reductions year on year – thereby proactively minimising an organisation’s environmental impact over time.

Investing in this significant transformation project will enable Toitū Envirocare to meet the growing demand for its carbon measurement, verification and reduction services says Betty.

“Climate change is high on the agenda for Aotearoa New Zealand's businesses, politicians, investors, and consumers alike. As providers of market-leading, standards and science-based carbon reduction and environmental programmes and services, we are transforming our business operations to be more efficient, digitise our service offering, and create a partnership model across the sustainability spectrum that will elevate Aotearoa’s climate ambitions.

“We can no longer view the economy and climate as separate issues. Climate action used to be a standalone topic or be challenged for the economic impacts that often go hand in hand with mitigation and adaptation initiatives. However, businesses are now realising the advantages of merging operational performance with decarbonisation practices to create a brighter economic future.

“It might be tempting for businesses to take their eyes off the climate change ball, to say they’ve got other, higher priorities but we strongly urge they do not do this. We all need to keep moving forward as climate change is very real and we are feeling the impacts in very tangible ways, such as the devastating and ongoing effects of 2023’s severe weather events. We all need to lift the bar on climate change leadership to help unlock opportunities. Welcome to the Climate Economy era.”

Betty is excited to be leading Toitū at such a pivotal time. She says the climate emergency demands recognition, focus and a commitment to doing things differently to preserve, protect and nurture te taiao (the environment).

“As a purpose-led organisation, our primary reason for being is impact. We are incredibly privileged that our shareholder, Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, does not require us to pay a dividend, which enables us to reinvest profits for maximum scale and impact.”

Toitū Envirocare’s purpose resonates deeply for Betty, to guide positive change and help businesses to be more sustainable - enabling them to shift their impact on the environment from negative to positive, at pace.

“Since returning to Aotearoa in 2014 after 16 years overseas, I have been reconnecting with my culture, learning te reo Māori and exploring ways to bring mātauranga Māori into my working environment. To reflect this, Toitū is developing a Te Tiriti o Waitangi Model as part of our business strategy, recognising the unique and vital perspectives that Māori culture brings to the preservation and protection of nature and te taiao.”

Betty also acknowledges that the kōrero and action in relation to addressing climate challenges must shift to encompass nature, recognising the fundamental interconnectedness of the two, particularly in relation to human health and lifespan. “It is not just the health and wellbeing of our planet that is compromised, but the day-to-day health and wellbeing of humankind.  I am proud to be part of Toitū Envirocare, as we strive to deliver on our purpose for the betterment of our planet and people.”   

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