Dr Sandra Velarde, Economist & Associate Research Leader Environmental Economics & Governance at Scion attended Ohanga Amiomio. This is her visual essay capturing highlights from the day.
On April 3rd 2019 I attended the 1st Pacific Summit on Circular Economy in Rotorua, New Zealand hosted by Ellen MacArthur Foundation, Ministry for the Environment and Scion. Here I highlight my key takeaway messages in the shape of a visual essay.
The morning started on a high note, with a personal Mātauranga Māori perspective on Circular Economy by Teina Boasa-Dean from Tuhoe. The power of storytelling becomes front and center tool to communicate the connection with nature through whakapapa (genealogy), and the actions towards intergenerational restoration, governed by tikanga (Māori protocol).
Leilani Unasa from The Cause Collective highlighted the importance of talanoa (dialogue), and of aligning with and meeting the aspirations of existing groups. The process takes time but provides enormous value to enrich knowledge systems in urban settings like South Auckland.
Traci Houpapa, Federation of Maori Authorities Chair, remarked that “it is the Western World that needs to catch up”. We should be talking about a spiral economy instead, learning, building up and regenerating.
Traci’s message was strong, powerful, clear and refreshing. Thank you!
The Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme noted that first we need to clean up all the plastic rubbish already floating around Oceania. It let me thinking, what’s New Zealand’s & Australia’s impact on the Pacific? Anthony Talouli remarked the need for a “whole of islands systems approach” as well.
In the afternoon Councillor Penny Hulse (Auckland Council) reminded us of the importance of hope and a vision such as “Blue Pacific” that goes beyond short sighted political cycles. Lofty goals (e.g. Auckland Zero Waste 2040), are key to keep moving forward.
So how do we put in practice the “circular economy”? The Ellen MacArthur Foundation highlighted that “circular economy” is a trillion dollar opportunity. They address three materials problems: Plastics, fashion and food, through engagement at higher levels such as World Economic Forum, education through universities and with big companies too.
Vicky Robertson, Chief Executive Ministry for the Environment, concluded with a strong call to action for changing behaviour, our choices impact our world. Plastics are not the main problem but only a first step to address environmental issues.
Hemi Rolleston (Scion), provided the best closing I have seen in a while at a conference, bringing in the challenges of a new economy but also the opportunities for the magic of combining Mātauranga Māori and Western Science.
We are ready for a new economy!
*Graphics, photos and text by Sandra J. Velarde (2019). Twitter: @sandrinha2021
(First published on April 6, 2019 on LinkedIn).
Some thoughts from our team on this piece: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/04/why-ceos-need-to-become-activists-in-sustainability/
Two paragraphs stood out:
“Consumers are turning to CEOs in search of leaders that not only provide long-term commitments, but leaders who push their brands to catalyse consumers and other brands in new and collaborative ways.”
“CEOs must actively join the public discussion. Consumers expect CEOs to prioritize sustainability in operating their businesses. Consumers need role models and leaders especially when public opinion expresses disappointment that some governments are not prepared to make tangible commitments. There is a clear opportunity for CEOs to take responsibility by joining and leading the public debate on sustainability.”
These are both powerful statements - but we’ve talked and talked and we now need leadership to take action. Sustainable solutions already exist today, why aren’t we embracing them. Companies need to show stewardship or in some cases adopt as-a-service models where the brand owns the end of life of their product.
These are the discussions we want to have with CEO’s and also designers, iwi, Government and others at Te Ōhanga.
We look forward to the major brands meeting their sustainability pacts as part of last year’s New Plastics Economy initiative to reduce plastics and delivering better packaging - maybe these companies should check their warehouse, there may be an old box from the 1950’s hidden in the back that already holds the answer.
Although this is now 3 years old, it’s more relevant than ever today, though it's unclear whether we’ve really made any impact for change, with talks of plastics consumption doubling in the next decade. 50% of all plastic consumed in last 15 years. This is our generation’s legacy. Full movie is on Netflix