WWF-New Zealand bolsters leadership team with new Trustees

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Press Release

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) New Zealand has expanded its leadership team, welcoming Dame Kerry Prendergast, Brianne West, Richard Lauder, and Suzan Craig to its Board of Trustees.

Together they bring a wealth of experience in business, tourism, sustainability, entrepreneurship, and government, and will support WWF in its mission to build a future where New Zealanders live in harmony with nature.

WWF-New Zealand’s CEO, Dr Kayla Kingdon-Bebb, says she’s delighted to have such heavy-hitting entrepreneurs and innovators at WWF’s helm.

“At a time when we need to fight more than ever to protect our natural world, I’m thrilled to welcome such a distinguished group of leaders and sustainability champions to WWF’s Board.

“In Aotearoa New Zealand, nature is at a tipping point. Over 4,000 of our native species are on the brink of extinction, climate change is causing ever-more costly natural disasters, and the health of our ocean is in rapid decline.

“This newly expanded leadership team will support our vital work to protect Aotearoa’s environment for future generations and hold governments and businesses to account on tackling the twin existential crises of climate change and biodiversity loss,” she says.

Former Wellington Mayor Dame Kerry Prendergast has had an extensive career in local government and been widely commended for her services to governance and local communities.

She has held many senior governance roles over the last decade, including chairing the Environmental Protection Agency, the New Zealand Film Commission, NZ Tourism, the Victoria Foundation, and the Tourism Industry Association – among many others.

Also joining the Board is environmentalist and entrepreneur Brianne West, who is the founder of sustainable lifestyle and beauty brand Ethique. Since its inception Ethique has prevented more than 34 million plastic bottles from being made and disposed of in landfills, and prevented over 600,000kg of carbon emissions.

West has also recently founded Incrediballs, a start-up aimed at tackling the issue of single-use plastic bottles in the drinks industry. She also provides support to other start-ups and entrepreneurs on how they can create sustainable, profitable and equitable businesses that solve some of the greatest challenges of our time.

WWF-New Zealand is also welcoming Richard Lauder, who has had a long career in Chief Executive roles across process manufacturing, infrastructure services, aviation, and tourism.

As Chief Executive of the conservation-led tourism operator Real Journeys (now called RealNZ), Lauder has led a number of significant initiatives to help nature thrive - including removing all the wilding pines from 150 hectares of Walter Peak; making 2000 hectares of Cooper Island in Dusky Sound predator free to provide a habitat for Kākāpō and other endangered species; and raising over $400,000 for conservation initiatives through the annual Birds of a Feather Conservation Ball.

Lauder also holds a number of governance roles, including chairing the Trust for the Destruction of Synthetic Refrigerants - an organisation which managed New Zealand’s responsibility to stop ozone-depleting fluorinated gases from entering the atmosphere and plays a significant role in reducing New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Also joining the fold is environmental entrepreneur Suzan Craig. Craig has been pioneering ecosystem restoration, nature-based solutions, and sustainable business practices for two decades.

She is the founder of nature-positive company Tahi, which has involved transforming a degraded Northland farm into a nature sanctuary, an eco-retreat and a producer of Mānuka honey.

Since its inception Craig has overseen the restoration of Tahi’s ecosystems, wetlands and forests, with nearly 60 bird species having returned to the land, including 25 rare and endangered species. Tahi was recognised as the ‘Most Sustainable Business in New Zealand’ in 2020.

Craig also co-founded the Villars Institute, a Swiss non-profit foundation that aims to accelerate the transition to a net zero and nature-positive economy. She is also a founding member of the Long Run, an organisation of nature-based tourism businesses committed to driving sustainability.

Welcoming the new Trustees, WWF-New Zealand’s Board of Trustees Chair, Matt Valentine, says:

“Our four new Trustees are not only passionate about protecting our environment, but also true leaders in their fields. They all bring a wealth of unique experience and expertise to our board from illustrious careers across both the private sector and local government.

“I look forward to working with them as WWF-New Zealand continues to champion the protection of Aotearoa New Zealand’s treasured native species and landscapes.”