The story of The Sustain Group is very similar to that of other
organisations in how they grow and evolve over time. Each has a starting
point and each has a unique proposition they thrust upon the world in
the hope of creating something that lasts. IBM created a business
machine that evolved into a computer and consequently changed our lives.
The Wright brothers built a plane out of rickety wooden parts and, more
than a century later, where would we be without air travel? More
recently we have borne witness to the rise of social media such as
Facebook and the use of technology, particularly Apple products, in our
lives that is transforming the way we work, live and play.
However, the world we live in has finite resources and the way we treat
our environment is the subject of great debate and discussion the world
over. For some, the debate and discussion has revolved around climate
change science and data. For others, it has been a simple discussion
about whether or not we should build this or that in a more sustainable
way. In Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the Middle East nation states
are moving down the path of implementing policies and frameworks that
seek to lower our carbon output and emissions. In New Zealand, an
emissions trading scheme began its implementation in 2008 while in
Australia the newly elected Government is having discussions about a
potential emissions trading scheme to be implemented by 2013.
So, where does The Sustain Group fit into the picture and how does our
story align with that of the changing moods and directions of business,
the community and governments? Put simply, like many others, our journey
began with a few small steps that turned into an idea, that was
transformed into a concept that evolved into a business. One of those
steps was the story of our CEO and Chairman, Matthew Tukaki, who told a
United Global Compact Forum recently that within 50 years, if we did not begin to
transform into a more sustainable society, the place he calls home will
be under water.
Like so many Indian and Pacific Ocean communities, the Island Matthew
calls home is not just a home, it is a complete family history
stretching back generations. It is where his family have lived, married,
had children, lived productive lives and at their passing it is also a
place where they have been buried. As Matthew explained it:
"How can it be that we are on the verge of the loss of so many small
nations and island communities? Where I come from we don't just call it
a home, we call it our place to stand. Once my place to stand is
removed, where then will I stand? Where does my family go? Once you lose
that place to stand you lose a fundamental piece of your identity and
once it is gone, it is a very rare thing to recover."
So, The Sustain Group is an organisation that wants a make a difference
and find both the simple and complex solutions to the challenges we
face. We don't debate the science of climate change or argue the case
for or against - we simply get on with the job of transformation.
We are very much square pegs in round holes, creative thinkers and
subject matter experts. No challenge is to great.