Be bold when you tell your story

David Downs

By David Downs
CEO, New Zealand Story

There’s no doubt 2023 has been a tough year for many. After putting Covid-19 largely behind us – reaping the rewards of our borders reopening and businesses getting back on their feet – we’re facing a new set of challenges.

Marked by floods, weather impacts, and tougher economic conditions, the post-pandemic road has been bumpy, but there is cause for optimism.

This year has emphasised that sustainability is neither a ‘nice to have’ nor an ‘add-on’. The North Island weather events in particular claimed lives, destroyed homes, flattened businesses, and pushed inflation. Embracing sustainability and taking action not only sets us up for long-term success, but it shows the world what we stand for.

That’s where Aotearoa New Zealand’s brand comes in – and when coupled with sustainability, this presents an incredible opportunity.

By wholeheartedly embracing sustainable practices, businesses can harness the strength and credibility of our national identity. It is not enough to merely pay lip service – actions must align with our commitment to environmental stewardship and the broader well-being of our planet.

New Zealand is a formidable force in the areas of air, land and sea. We are the kaitiaki of six percent of the global airspace, and Aotearoa has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of four million square kilometres – the fourth largest in the world. We are a true superpower.

But our influence extends beyond this. Aotearoa New Zealand businesses have earned international acclaim for their transparency and integrity. We’re one of the easiest places in the world to do business, and we have products and brands that are universally respected.

This is crucial because global consumer sentiment is shifting, and the demand for trusted products is rising. Now is the time to capitalise on this – and with help from the FernMark Licence Programme, the world can see value in doing business with Aotearoa New Zealand.

The FernMark represents the story of who we are and where we’re from – our New Zealand Story. More than 500 businesses now bear the symbol on their products, helping them thrive in key export markets. And because consumers are refocusing on what value means to them, we must seize this opportunity and rise to the occasion.

Be bold when you tell your story. Show the world what your company stands for and discuss your broader impact and purpose.

Climate change, nature preservation, and ethical behaviour are no longer optional conversations; they are essential. The businesses that take decisive action in the short term will position themselves for long-term success.



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