The business of doing good

As a proud New Zealand organisation, we believe we have a responsibility to operate sustainably. We got Frances Speer to investigate our day-to-day decisions to ensure we're doing the right thing.

Kiwibank's purpose is making Kiwis better off. It’s the ‘good sort’ Kiwi way that we as New Zealanders hold dear — so much so that it’s even a defining part of our national character. Everyday, we make decisions that are in the best interests not just of ourselves and our whānau, but of our wider community, Aotearoa and the environment.

Kiwibank Corporate Social Responsibility Lead Julia Jackson says this purpose was what drew her to work for Kiwibank. "Our people have a strong sense of Kiwibank's purpose and that is to make Kiwis better off. When we’re making day-to-day decisions, we use that as a way to test whether or not we're doing the right thing by our customers and New Zealand.”

Doing right by New Zealand is synonymous with doing right by the land — it’s a holistic worldview that we as a country are adopting across the board: from home, to business, to government .“Sustainability is something that our customers and our community expect us to be doing and it’s something that makes total sense for who we are as an organisation,” Julia says.

“Kiwibank has a unique opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to a more sustainable Aotearoa.”

Starting to think sustainably

Sustainability can feel overwhelming, but it’s about making a start and establishing an intent (like cloth shopping bags in the boot of your car and taking your reusable cup to your local café) and working at it everyday. Kiwibank’s approach to sustainability is in the process of being worked on, developed and embedded to directly benefit staff, customers and New Zealand as a whole.

Around the office

Bike stands and showers at Kiwibank head offices make it easy for their employees to bike to work, a small way of benefitting both the environment and the wellbeing of staff. In Kiwibank lunchrooms, food scraps go straight into the compost and all new Kiwibank employees are provided with a reusable cup for their morning coffee. When it comes to working with external suppliers like cleaners and caterers, Kiwibank’s supplier code of conduct sets out standards expected to help ensure that they manage their environmental impact, operate ethically and treat their employees fairly and respectfully.

Meanwhile, Kiwibank manages their own environmental impact by monitoring carbon emissions from their head offices and retail outlets. Julia describes how over the past year, Kiwibank’s carbon footprint has decreased by 10%, a result of working to ensure that their buildings are operating efficiently and initiatives like workplace composting.

“We’re delighted about this reduction in Kiwibank’s environmental impact and while there’s still work to be done, we’re all on board with continuing to work at reducing Kiwibank’s environmental footprint.”

Conscious consumers

Kiwibank has been offering online statements for years, recognising that they are just as valid as paper statements, more secure, much kinder to the environment and let’s be real, how many people have found unopened envelopes of banks statements stuffed into drawers each time they moved house?

Homeowners with Kiwibank mortgages can access sustainable energy loans, with a bonus cash contribution, to encourage them to add a renewable energy system to their home, like installing solar panels on the roof or harnessing wind energy.

After installing solar panels at his own home using Kiwibank’s sustainable energy loan, a Kiwibank customer in Ashburton was so impressed by the benefits of his solar panels (which massively exceeded the installation costs), that he went on to install solar systems in a couple of his rental properties.

Julia says, “This flow-on of enabling tenants to access lower electricity bills and enjoy renewable energy systems probably wouldn’t have happened without the cash contribution from Kiwibank to help lower the upfront costs of installation.”

Sustainable future

Kiwibank’s approach to sustainability isn’t an on-trend ‘greenwash’ for Julia and the team at Kiwibank; their commitment to the environment is genuine and comes back to that purpose of Kiwis wanting to make a difference for all Kiwis. Sustainability takes time — it’s not a one-off, or a ‘set and forget’. To sustain your sustainable impact requires attention, effort and commitment, but it’s something that Kiwibank is wholeheartedly committed to for all of New Zealand.