They are highly-motived young professionals with a deeply held belief in the power of business to make things better for people and the planet.
They are the Now Crowd, they have arrived in Tauranga and, as their name suggests, they are ‘now’ people.
They’re motivated to drive a powerful generational shift in sustainable projects, in what we do and how we do it. They are assisting and empowering young people to lead change within their organisations, to have an impact on the world.
“No, we aren’t a bunch of radicals,” insists Now Crowd’s Natalie Robb - herself a sustainability advisor at Seeka, one of the country’s premier produce companies.
“It’s about using what we have responsibly – people, resources and the environment – so future generations can benefit as well. We are young people in the workforce who have a passion for sustainability but weren’t necessarily doing it, or driving it.”
What is sustainability? Simply put, it’s the ability to not be harmful to the environment or deplete natural resources, thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.
The suggestion is that companies need to shift their focus to the triple bottom line, looking at environmental, economic and social impacts. Social impact is considered to be an organisation’s impact on their community, employees, customers and supply chain.
Natalie uses her work experience at Lion – the big beverage and food corporate – to explain.
“I changed the whole waste system because there wasn’t much recycling or composting going on,” she says.
She introduced a few “sprints”, whereby a company will focus on one aspect of sustainability for 10-to-12 weeks. They have a resource booklet – a sustainability bible establishing timelines and setting goals. “So I was able to identify waste streams, talk to different people who were in a position to change things, then make things more efficient,” explains Natalie. The company was hugely appreciative.
On another level of sustainability, developers of commercial buildings are investing millions of dollars in green ‘features’, such as Mainfreight’s $42 million freight facility at Truman Lane, which will include solar power, rainwater harvesting and electric vehicle charging stations. The building will recycle 85 per cent of its grey water from truck wash back into the wash system to be re-used.
“This is really, really great,” says Natalie. “We back this 100 per cent. These are the sort of people you want to work for.”
The Now Crowd is an Auckland concept started by three women having similar conversations about sustainability. An idea was in motion, and when that idea was floated at a gathering at Our Place recently, more than 50 young people turned out and signed up with an interest.
That’s more than 50 bright young people, with foresight and a conscience, taking control of their world and making a difference in what we do and how we do it.