Landmark status for Otago high country station

Geoff Ross with wife Justine and son Finn in the regeneration paddocks at Lake Hāwea Station....
Geoff Ross with wife Justine and son Finn in the regeneration paddocks at Lake Hāwea Station. Photo: Supplied
An Otago high country station has become the first farm in New Zealand - and the first merino sheep farm in the world - to earn B Corp status.

Lake Hāwea Station’s owners say the new status paves the way to “a competitive advantage for New Zealand exporters”.

B Corp businesses have been verified by B Lab - founded in 2006 in the United States - as having high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

Lake Hāwea Station is a climate-positive farm - high-profile owners Geoff and Justine Ross, the founders of 42 Below, have spoken extensively of how they have transformed the 6700-hectare farm and farming practices, and their longer-term climate, environmental and commercial goals.

Lake Hāwea Station says its B Corp Certification reaffirms the station’s mission to regeneratively farm for the future and increase the international competitive advantage of New Zealand wool.

“Certified B Corporations are leaders in the global movement for an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy,” a station press release said.

“The B Corp certification is a holistic view of a company’s entire social and environmental impact through rigorous measurement of its policies and processes, supply chain, environmental outputs and social contributions.”

Lake Hāwea Station earned a 109.5 score representing the station’s unwavering commitment to its climate-positive, animal welfare, regenerative farming and biodiverse ecosystem credentials.

“We are thrilled to welcome Lake Hāwea Station to the growing Kiwi community of certified B corporations. In an industry responsible for half of New Zealand’s carbon emissions, Lake Hāwea Station is modelling a new approach to agriculture, centred on regeneration and respect for the land and livestock,” B Lab Australia & Aotearoa New Zealand chief executive Andrew Davies said.

“Their innovative approach ... reflects the kind of leadership we need to see across the industry and broader economy.”

More than 7350 companies across 92 countries have achieved B Corp certification.

The South Island Merino sheep station said the recognition would give it access to a growing number of wool buyers.

“World famous fashion labels such as Chloe, Patagonia, All Birds, Another Tomorrow and Maggie Marilyn all share in choosing a more impactful path and are looking to grow their B Corp certified supply chains.”

Lake Hāwea Station’s sustainability lead Finn Ross said: “The B Corp community is growing each year and becoming an important tool for trade”.

“The thriving network is focused on transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities and the planet and being the only merino farm in the world certainly gives Lake Hāwea Station an advantage on the international market”.

Business advantages stretched beyond the wool market, he said.

“Almost all New Zealand export categories have companies that are moving to the B Corp certification and aiming to source from other certified businesses.

“We see our agriculture, food and tourism sectors constantly pushing for better sustainability and social credentials and with evidence this will increase access to a growing number of commercial opportunities for NZ Inc.”

Lake Hāwea Station owner Geoff Ross said New Zealand must constantly innovate and collectively aspire to higher environment and community standards to stay globally competitive.

“New Zealand has a unique opportunity to be at the forefront of sustainability innovation, products and services. There is both a commercial opportunity in this and also an opportunity for New Zealand to be a world leader in decarbonisation.”


Southern Field Days 2024 - Featured Businesses