Business Sustainability

Sponsored by Otago Polytech/Te Pūkenga


NEW ZEALAND CHERRY RESCUE PROJECT - Flawed fruit becomes desirable again

The New Zealand Cherry Rescue Project is steering the summerfruit industry towards being waste...
The New Zealand Cherry Rescue Project is steering the summerfruit industry towards being waste-free. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Cromwell initiative is rescuing cosmetically-imperfect fruit that was destined for landfills. The New Zealand Cherry Rescue Project is the brainchild of the family-owned company NZ Cherry Corp, which has been marketing fresh cherries domestically and internationally for more than a decade. The project aims to take the summerfruit industry waste-free by 2030. It saves all the waste-grade cherries from four participating orchards and turns them into viable food products. NZ Cherry Corp hopes more orchards will become involved. One of its successes is the Citizen Cherry Cola that was sold at Burger Fuel through this year’s Wildheart promotion. Another is the Citizen x Morningcider Cherry Bomb cider that featured in the New World Top 30 Beer and Cider awards 2023. The project also generated Ruby’s Gold Fortified Wine — the first product to come into the project, which is a hit in China. Six Barrel Soda released a cherry pomegranate soda syrup. Next year the project will include other summerfruits such as nectarines, apricots, and plums. ‘‘The work to date is likely to lead to a rescue of the entire summerfruit ‘fruit bowl’,’’ sales manager Stephanie Cavell says. That could amount to six to 10,000 metric tonnes of waste. ‘‘The project has another 70 innovative products that are undergoing new product development in a sustainable way. This will help bring resilience and flexibility to the summer fruit industry.’’


CORALCONE LTD - Doing away with disposable products 

Coralcone founder and chief executive Yvette Shum displays the menstrual cup. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Coralcone founder and chief executive Yvette Shum displays the menstrual cup. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
An Otago startup called Coralcone is transforming the way we approach menstruation. Yes, the subject that was hush-hush for generations is being discussed openly as an issue that needs practical solutions. Founder and chief executive Yvette Shum said Coralcone, based in Dunedin, is ‘‘empowering individuals and charting the future of sustainable periods’’. Coralcone aims to reduce the burden of disposable menstrual waste upon landfill and oceans. ‘‘By improving upon conventional menstrual cup design, Coralcone addresses usability concerns and tackles the issue of varying cervix heights,’’ she says. ‘‘Coralcone’s innovative engineering ensures a user-friendly experience, simplifying insertion and removal for all menstruators, promoting comfort and confidence.’’ Of all eco-friendly period products, the menstrual cup is the most sustainable — causing less than 1.5% of the environmental impact of single-use products. One Coralcone period cup can be washed and reused for up to five years. Since was launched in December 2021, its flagship product has won the Best of Natural Award 2022 for Most Mindful use of Materials. Menstrual cup influencer Period Nirvana named it in her top three global period cups of 2022, and it won gold in the Clean + Conscious Awards 2023 for feminine hygiene products in Australia and New Zealand. Coralcone has participated in the Start-up Dunedin Distiller Incubator and Ministry of Awesome Founder Catalyst. This year it honoured its annual pledge to donate a portion of profits to Live Ocean.


GREAT SOUTH - Clearing the air down south

Participants in the Murihiku Sustainable Tourism Programme 2022. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Participants in the Murihiku Sustainable Tourism Programme 2022. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Southland is leading the way in reducing carbon emissions. Great South has gathered up 74 organisations with its Murihiku Southland Decarbonisation programme. Operating from Spey St in Invercargill, Great South’s full name is the Southland Regional Development Agency Ltd. For the last three years it has worked with groups including the Southland District Council, Habitat for Humanity, Blue River Dairy, Wairaurahiri Jet, Trip & Tramps, South Port NZ, Humpridge Track, Blue Mountain Nurseries, and Lewis Windows to help them measure, report, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As the first regional programme of its kind, Great South is providing a road map for businesses, councils, and non-profit organisations to become carbon resilient. So far 108 people have attended a series of three in-person workshops and follow-up sessions with each participant. Great South also practises what it preaches. The Great South Sustainability Plan 2023 — Te Ara Toitū has been designed to incorporate sustainability into all Great South decision-making and actions to lead by example. Its sustainability goals are to integrate environmental sustainability consideration in all it does, be a carbon neutral organisation by 2025, and reduce waste and water consumption.


DUNEDIN CRAFT DISTILLERS - Converting waste into wow factor

Dunedin Craft Distillers co-founders Jenny McDonald (left) and Sue Stockwell. PHOTO: HEIDI...
Dunedin Craft Distillers co-founders Jenny McDonald (left) and Sue Stockwell. PHOTO: HEIDI GREENSLADE, OH PEONY PHOTOS
Dunedin Craft Distillers is turning unwanted food into sought-after spirits. Since the company was registered in 2020, it has saved more than 8.5 tonnes of bread from the landfill. The distillery gets most of its bread from Kiwi Harvest, taking what it cannot rehouse. The carbon cost is minimal compared with importing grain or producing whey spirit, co-founder Sue Stockwell said. Dunedin Craft Distillers has expanded its initial range of two spirits into eight, winning gold and silver medals in the London and New Zealand spirits competitions. It has also expanded its operations in Roberts St, working with the landlord to refurbish the area. Botanicals to flavour the spirits are sourced locally where possible, and upcycled equipment and packaging is used rather than buying new. Its electricity supplier is Toitu certified climate positive. An advisory board has been established to access a wider knowledge base, and three part-time staff have been employed. Space has been licensed to a start-up distillery to share knowledge, ideas, and equipment. Dunedin Craft Distillers has supported five student projects from the University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic and taken part in Wild Dunedin Week and the New Zealand International Science Festival to highlight its sustainable products and practices. It is now working towards being climate positive for emissions, and promoting processes for making alcohol without using pristine agricultural land, Sue said.


RES.AWESOME LTD - It's in the name

Res.Awesome Ltd kaiwhakaara Fiona Clements. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Res.Awesome Ltd kaiwhakaara Fiona Clements. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
A Waitati business has coined a new word to describe what it does and how well it does it. Res.Awesome Ltd ‘‘creates awesome resources for diversion from landfill’’, kaiwhakaara Fiona Clements says. ‘‘Our kaupapa is zero-waste and resource optimisation. Res.Awesome has consistently shown success working with community events to divert waste from landfills with their full hands-on waste audit process.’’ It has collaborated with iD Dunedin and Te Pukenga this year. It gives annual support to other community events in Dunedin to enable long-term change towards our carbon-zero future, Fiona said. Res.Awesome’s involvement with iD Dunedin went beyond saving 90% of its waste from landfill. It also worked with Otago Polytechnic to teach product design students and with Polytech’s sustainability team leader about carrying out a bestpractice waste audit. At the Tūtehuarewa Centennial in April, 641.55kg of material was diverted from the landfill, equating to 415.08kg of CO2 emissions. Three-quarters of the waste from this year’s South D street fest was diverted from landfills, and 86.4% diversion was achieved at the Ōtākou Treaty Festival. Similar results occurred at Hui A Iwi last November and at the 2022 Waitati Music Festival. Other accomplishments include installing a composting system at Moana House and Araiteuru Marae.

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To buy tickets or find out more about the Grand Business South Awards 2023 on Friday 17th November click here.