Taupō Beef has been named the overall winner of the 2015 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards, which were held in Auckland recently.
Taupō Beef won the Restorative Impact Award as well as the ‘NZI Greatest Contribution to a Sustainable New Zealand’ (Supreme Award) through its vision to lead New Zealand beef farming while also protecting the water quality in Lake Taupō.
The standard New Zealand farm business model of increasing production in the face of rising costs and flat commodity prices no longer applied in the Taupō area due to the Waikato Council’s introduction of nitrogen caps.
Modelling showed that farmers would soon be insolvent when having to cap nitrogen and hence livestock numbers. Taupō Beef comes from three farms which are operating under New Zealand’s toughest environmental standards aimed at protecting water quality in Lake Taupō. They have successfully converted their farming practice to protect the waterways and produce high quality beef that demands a premium price. The impact of the model has the potential to permanently change New Zealand’s farming practices and consumers’ purchasing behaviour.
Rachel Brown, Sustainable Business Network Chief Executive Officer says “Taupō Beef stood out to the judges because it has led the way in successfully farming with fewer livestock and also connecting with consumers who will pay a premium for their products. Told that it wouldn’t work, they are instead receiving outstanding reviews for their beef and are demonstrating how New Zealand farmers can change to produce a high value product while also farming environmentally and sustainably.”
The award judges said “Taupō Beef are leading the change – Mike Barton has recently been asked to chair a Ministry of Primary Industries, Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment, Ministry for the Environment and Ministry of Conservation group with the express purpose to provide a leadership position on the future of New Zealand’s agriculture.”
The NZI Sustainable Business Network (SBN) Awards are New Zealand’s only sustainable business awards. The awards are in their 13th year and are designed to recognise businesses that are making a real difference by innovating and transforming New Zealand’s business landscape.
SBN focusses on four pillars that encapsulate the future direction of the New Zealand economy. These are areas SBN believes New Zealand has a natural advantage in and include renewables, massive resource efficiency, community and restorative business.