Our economy and how we finance it is rapidly changing and we are entering into a new era. Increased divesting from fossil fuels means greater capital in green funds and the rise of impact investment which looks not just at economic, but also social and environmental returns. Coupled with this is the rise of the social enterprise and the sharing economy. New Zealand is just at the beginning of our Journey. Our two speakers for this discussion, mediated by Esther Whitehead, have a vast experience in social and impact investing and will give us their views on the exciting developments in New Zealand in this area and answer questions on these topics.
Barry Coates has been involved in responsible investment since the early 1990s and played a leading role in building demand for fair trade in NZ. He has been a leader in sustainability and climate change since the Earth Summit in 1992 and was awarded Sustainability Champion in 2016 from the Sustainable Business Network. He has a Masters from Yale University in management, experience as a business strategy consultant and has been the CEO of charities, most recently Oxfam New Zealand 2003-2014. He was a Green MP 2016-17.
David Woods has held an executive role as Managing Director of a large social finance/impact investing organisation, supporting financial inclusion, agriculture and renewable energy in the developing world with a capital base of EUR 1.2bn. He is currently a Director of Whai Rawa Fund Ltd, a trustee of The Gift Trust, and Chairman of the Impact Enterprise Fund, in addition to sitting on three overseas micro-finance company boards for the Aga Khan Foundation as an independent director. In early October, he will represent New Zealand at the Global Steering Group for Impact Investment Summit to advocate for New Zealand to become part of the Steering Group.
Peter Harris is the Economic Development Manager at the QLDC since July 2017. As well as economic development he has a background in innovation, entrepreneurship, education and agriculture.
Esther Whitehead, our facilitator for this event, is managing Trustee of the Dyslexia Foundation of NZ and founder of Sustainable Queenstown Charitable Trust, a social enterprise providing sustainability services and fostering community wellbeing through events, workshops and outreach. Esther is currently working with the Ākina Foundation as part of the Impact Initiative, a partnership with the New Zealand Government, to carry out research to help enable a flourishing social enterprise sector in New Zealand. The research is aimed at understanding the capital needs of New Zealand’s social enterprise sector and, based on that understanding, propose solutions to any barriers to capital flow within the sector. Building a social enterprise from grassroots in Queenstown, gives Esther the opportunity to share her first-hand experiences of the challenges and opportunities faced in this sector.