Business and sector insights

ANZ Insights Paper: Future-proof your business for sustainable success

April 2023

The rise of eco-conscious consumers  is shifting global focus onto the impact of food on the environment. Read about what this means for New Zealand businesses. 

Summary of the paper

Twenty-six per cent of all Kiwis say sustainability will soon be their most important reason to choose a product (2021 EY Future Consumer Index). Although New Zealand is a highly efficient food producer, are we ready for the impact of the eco-conscious consumer?

Climate change is impacting food production and disrupting supply chains. Input costs are rising. Producers are dealing with complex regulatory environments. The environmental impact of food production is increasingly being priced into operating costs. And the rise of eco-conscious consumers is shifting global focus onto the impact of our food on the environment.

So how can businesses come to grips with sustainability successfully?

While this paper has a food and beverage focus, the lessons are relevant for businesses across all sectors.

The business case for sustainability

The key to a profitable business is delivering what your customers want. Sustainability is important to consumers around the world – and its importance is growing. In New Zealand alone, the level of commitment to living a sustainable lifestyle has more than doubled over the decade between 2011 and 2021 (Kantar Better Futures 2023 report).

Sustainability is particularly important for younger consumers (Gen Z and Millennials) – reflecting a generational shift in how sustainability is perceived by both consumers and businesses.

A 2020 IBM survey of 19,000 people across 28 countries found that:

  • 57% of consumers are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce negative impact on the environment
  • Of those, 70% are willing to pay a premium for brands that are sustainable and environmentally responsible.

Grow your market, grow your profits

Sustainability can be a source of real competitive advantage – and bottom-line benefits.

“The key to having a sustainable business is having a profitable business, because sustainability requires investment. And there’s no doubt that running our business sustainably has delivered long-term efficiency gains which in turn have increased our profitability.” 

Mike Sutherland, co-owner, Sawmill Brewery

Here are some tips to help you get to grips with sustainability in your business:

It doesn’t need to be perfect

The most important thing is to get started.

Know your market

What’s important to consumers in one market can be less important in another market so it’s vital to understand what consumers really value.

Narrow your focus

There’s a lot you can do across your business to improve sustainability, but it’s more important to prioritise your efforts.

Ensure the whole business is on board

It’s crucial that everyone understands the need for change and what it means for the long-term success of the business. Before you convince your customers, you must first convince your people.

“It’s particularly important for exporters – we’re a very small fish in a very big pond and a credible sustainability story can help get cut-through in crowded, competitive markets.” 

Raewyn Bleakly, Chief Executive, New Zealand Food and Grocery Council

It’s a long game

Incorporating sustainability into your business can also help make it more robust and able to withstand challenges. It could help with:

Cost reduction

Sustainability is about doing more with less – working more efficiently and using less resources in the process.

Getting ahead of the game

The implications for businesses who fail to meet changing obligations can be significant, including loss of market access and other penalties.

Staff recruitment and retention

Job seekers are increasingly favouring businesses who value sustainability.


Investors are increasingly seeking opportunities that align with their own values. Having a clear sustainability proposition can help attract these investors, who know that the ability to manage the risks associated with climate change is a key determinant of future success.

“Taking a long-term, sustainable approach has helped us make the business more robust and more ‘future-proofed’.” 

William Beetham, Managing Director, Beetham Pastural

Seek help – there’s plenty out there

There are many sources of information for businesses looking to improve their sustainability performance, including:

Sustainability in the food and beverage sector

Hear from Mike Sutherland of Sawmill Brewery, William Beetham of Beetham Pastural, and Insa Errey from the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA), on why having a sustainability action plan makes good business sense, now and in the future.

Rise of the climate conscious consumer

Steve Dixon, ESG Specialist at ANZ, explores current and future trends we’re seeing with conscious consumerism, people’s desire to live a sustainable lifestyle and how this affects your business. 

Read the full paper

Read about how some New Zealand companies are incorporating sustainability into their business strategies and the benefits it can have for businesses.

Contact us

When you’re ready to talk about the next steps in your sustainability journey, we’re ready to help.

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Important information

This information has been prepared by ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited (ANZ) for informational purposes only. It is a necessarily brief and general summary of the subjects covered and does not constitute advice. You should seek professional advice relevant to your individual circumstances. While the information contained in this document is from sources perceived by ANZ to be reliable and accurate, ANZ cannot warrant its accuracy, completeness or suitability for intended use. ANZ shall not be obliged to update any such information after the date of this document. To the extent permitted by law, ANZ nor any other person involved in the preparation of this document accepts any responsibility or liability for any opinions or information (including the accuracy or completeness thereof) contained in it, or for any consequences flowing from its use. ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited © 2023. This summary is current as at June 2023 and the details in it are subject to change.

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