On the 13th of May, the American President stood up in front of the annual Conference of Governors and delivered a powerful address on one of the defining issues of the time; conservation.
Held at the White House, the event attracted more attendees than simply the Governors of the states that united to give America its name. Supreme Court justices, senators, business leaders, and prominent conservationists were in attendance for the President’s opening oration.
That speech, which set the scene for the three-day event, included the following lines,
… it is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest, or a species of mammal or bird. Here, in the United States, we turn our rivers and streams into sewers and dumping-grounds, we pollute the air, we destroy forests, and exterminate fishes, birds and mammals - not to speak of vulgarising charming landscapes with hideous advertisements. But, at last, it looks as if our people were awakening.
The year was 1908. The President, Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt’s address was reported on in New Zealand under headings like ‘A Notable Conference’ and ‘Roosevelt’s Warning’. In spite of that global impact and the conservationist movement that followed, it is easy to imagine the same speech might be delivered today given the challenges we currently face after generations of ineffective action.
In September 2015, the United Nations (UN) made an attempt to address that inaction through the creation of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Focusing on the major economic, social, and environmental challenges of our time, the SDGs are defined as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Along with the other UN member nations, New Zealand adopted the SDGs, becoming part of the global community working to take action, provide leadership, and support others in achieving these goals.
As a business, Redvespa has a history of being connected to a broader social purpose but it was through the process of becoming B Corp certified in 2018 that we really strengthened and formalised that commitment. Our journey over the last 18 months has been filled with learning, development, and opportunity. We are celebrating our achievements and setting targets in our inaugural Business for Good Annual Report, which launched in July 2019.
In developing our Business for Good Annual Report, we looked to the UN SDGs to give some context to our work relative to the global community. However, while we recognised that the SDGs were the end goal of our own initiatives and actions, we saw that, to be part of the solution, we needed an approach that ensured connection to our business, our values, our people, and our community. To achieve that, we adapted the SDGs into our own Redvespa Business for Good Values.
These 12 Values cover all areas of our business, from the health and wellbeing of our people and communities, to the impact we have on the planet as individuals and as a business. They are a refinement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals that allow us to focus on the areas where we believe we can have, or inspire, the biggest impact.
Much like Roosevelt’s 1908 conference, where conservation went from being a private concern to a public one, we know that making change isn’t something we can do alone. By aligning with the global community under the SDGs and adapting them to resonate with our people and our strategy, we’re living our Business for Good Values.
Now, we look towards a future of making change happen, unleashing potential, and enriching lives, businesses, and the environment.
Jamie is the Head of Community at Redvespa. With a background in museums and heritage, he loves to share a good story. The more outlandish, forgotten, or hidden, the better. As you're reading this, he probably has a tab open following live cricket scores.
You can find Jamie at email@example.com