SBN Annual Conference: The End of Plastic As We Know It

Empowering NZ business and acting on plastic

We are in the middle of a worldwide movement away from the waste and pollution of discarding fossil fuel-derived plastics. It is having profound impacts throughout every business and sector. This is an exciting time of innovation, where opportunities await those getting ahead of the curve.

New Zealand’s relative remoteness and small scale provide unique challenges, yet our internationally heralded innovations make huge waves. We have the opportunity to lead the world. This is especially true with regards to new materials development and packaging use.

The Sustainable Business Network is hosting this special event. Together business leaders and experts will take an in-depth look at this issue. We will explore what it means for your business and for sustainable business in New Zealand.

The day will provide you with the practical information and inspiration you need to thrive in the emerging low carbon circular economy. Together we will investigate how to eliminate, circulate and innovate. Unrivalled networking opportunities will give you the system-wide connections you need to succeed.

Who it’s for

The NZ business community. The people at the heart of creating a new thriving sustainable economy – SMEs, social enterprise, corporates, government. Connecting solutions providers, innovators and entrepreneurs, youth, expertise and those ready to take action.


The speakers are leaders in plastics innovation and the circular economy. They include:

  • Phil Somerville – former Hollywood stuntman, Phil sailed across the Pacific Ocean last year to raise awareness about plastic pollution. Phil is an environmentalist, actor, sailor and philanthropist. His Pacific expedition gathered data on ocean-based microplastics, often in remote locations, while filming a documentary called Eat Less Plastic.
  • Minister Eugenie Sage – Minister for Conservation and Associate Minister for the Environment
  • David Trubridge – renowned NZ furniture and lighting designer. David is instigator of the trend of ‘raw sophistication’ and environmentally responsible design.  He recently removed products containing high levels of plastics from production.
  • Brianne West – entrepreneur and biochemist, Brianne West is the Founder of Ethique, a plastic-free beauty company. So far Ethique has prevented the manufacture and disposal of more than 3.3 million plastic containers worldwide.
  • Professor Juliet Gerrard – Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor. Juliet’s research cuts across biochemistry, chemistry, health, agricultural and food science and biomaterial design.
  • Dr Florian Graichen – Science Leader for Scion’s circular bioeconomy science and innovation. Florian works on biobased polymers and chemicals, to solve new product and process challenges.
  • Rui Peng – Director and Founder of Critical Things, a social enterprise focused on environmental sustainability through waste reduction while creating local employment opportunities.
  • Nada Piatek – Founder of Again Again, innovating new systems to tackle single-use consumer behaviour, for convenient takeaway coffee without the landfill.
  • Rachel Brown ONZM, CEO Sustainable Business Network. The founder of SBN, Rachel has played a critical role in advancing sustainable business for 20 years.
  • James Griffin, General Manager Projects and Advisory, Sustainable Business Network. James is leading SBN’s work to accelerate the circular economy in New Zealand.

With more to come.


Optional additional activities include:

Early-morning guided walk

Taking place before the opening of the conference, this will feature stories and history of a precious resource now hidden under Auckland’s city infrastructure: the once-sustaining waterways of Tamaki Makaurau.

Ocean Plastics Field Trip

After spending the previous day immersed in revolutionising the plastics system, we invite you to learn up close about what happens to plastics when they travel down through our landscape and end up in our freshwater and marine ecosystems.

SBN has partnered with Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari to take you on a deep dive into ocean plastics out on the waters of the Hauraki Gulf. You’ll hear from expert speakers on the local-to-global scale of the impacts of plastics in the ocean. Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari’s Ocean Health Module will get you up close and personal with what’s actually in the waters of the Hauraki Gulf.

Speakers include:

  • Devina Shetty: Institute of Marine Science, University of Auckland
  • Phil Jones: Gulf X programme Lead, Sustainable Business Network

Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari won the Restoring Nature award at the 2018 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards. They put marine conservation and responsible tourism at the heart of everything they do.

The Ocean Plastics Field Trip will take place on Tuesday 27 August from 8.45am-12.30pm. The trip is out on the Auckland Whale & Dolphin Safari boat.

Date and venue

Monday 26 August from 8.30am-5.30pm, followed by networking

ASB Waterfront Theatre, Auckland


Early bird tickets are now on sale until Friday 12 July. Tickets include catering.

  • Early bird SBN Member – $250
  • Early bird SBN Non-Member – $450
  • Early bird Now Crowd/Youth – $150

Ocean Plastics Field Trip (includes morning tea)

  • SBN Members – $35
  • Non-SBN Member – $55

Buy tickets now

Thank you to our Conference Partner Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and our sponsors Ministry for Primary Industries and thinkstep.


SOURCE: Sustainable Business Network