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Business and sector insights

ANZ Insights Paper: Telling your business’ sustainability story

August 2023

Maximise your business’ sustainability investment and connect with people at an emotional level by telling a compelling sustainability story.

Summary of the paper

Sustainability is fast becoming a key factor in long-term success. While this paper has a food and beverage focus, the lessons are relevant for businesses across all sectors.

Consumers have an almost limitless range of choices and short attention spans. So, whether your focus is on domestic or overseas markets, success depends on cutting through the clutter to grab consumers’ attention. One way to do that is by having a great sustainability story to tell.

Creating an authentic sustainability story

There’s often tension between businesses’ genuine intention to make a positive difference in sustainability and the commercial imperative they face.

This sometimes leads to a lack of transparency, which can undermine sustainability credentials. Regulators and consumers have an increased focus on checking that sustainability claims are substantiated.

Sustainability certifications can be a valuable way to assure your customers that your business or product have been verified by an independent third party. Having a recognised certification on your packaging and marketing material can be an instant visual cue to consumers.

“Going through a certification process makes you better equipped to avoid greenwashing, because it means you’ve done the mahi to get the data and information to back up your claims.”

Tobias Tripp, Toitū Envirocare’s Marketing and Communications Manager

Where and how to tell your story

Carmen Castro-Verbeek from IncaFé Organic coffee explains their approach: “The challenge is to continually inform and educate people about why organic coffee is better for them, better for our farmers, and better for our planet. There’s no doubt awareness is growing but there’s still a lot of confusion as well. You have to inform and keep informing.”

“Our website is probably the most powerful tool for that, as it gives us an opportunity to really explain what our business is all about. Our social media presence can also be an effective tool for communicating a specific event or a focused message.”

Packaging is another opportunity to demonstrate IncaFé’s proposition to potential customers. Their BioGro and Fairtrade certifications are prominently displayed, along with each product’s origin. The packaging is home compostable, an attribute that is also prominently displayed on the packaging itself.

Toitū’s top tips

Toitū Envirocare helps businesses achieve environmental certifications and communicate what these certifications mean. This ensures that any claims are accurately presented and fact based. Getting certified is not the whole answer, so Toitū has also provided some additional tips.

Keep it simple

Sustainability can be confusing. There’s lots of jargon, certifications, and data, which can be hard for people to differentiate. So it’s important to use non-technical language and keep your story simple. Think in terms of layers – most people will want the headlines, not the detail. You can provide links to the detail, ideally on your website, for those who want it.

What about international shores?

Because New Zealand businesses are remote from most overseas markets, differentiation and brand image are crucial to success overseas. 

Overseas consumers see New Zealand as a safe, clean country with a beautiful natural environment and respect for people and place – all aspects which are highly attractive to ‘conscious consumers’.

“While sustainability is the strongest element of our brand image, we are at risk if we don’t live up to that perception, as a country, and as an individual business.” 

David Downs, New Zealand Story Group Chief Executive

There’s plenty of resources to help tell your story

New Zealand Story Group provides a free resources to help businesses leverage the New Zealand brand offshore.

The New Zealand FernMark licensing program provides businesses with authentication of their connection to New Zealand.

Remember that your customers don’t expect you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be taking action. If your goal is to build sustainability into your business, the most important thing is to get started. Tell your customers what you’re aiming for, then share your journey and your learnings along the way.

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 telling their sustainability story and insights from New Zealand Story.

Contact an ANZ Business Specialist

Our specialists understand your kind of business and the challenges you face as a business owner. We can help you figure out how to make your business grow and succeed.

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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. This summary is current as at August 2023 and the details in it are subject to change.

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