Nelson Building Society (NBS) is getting behind local conservation efforts this year, generously funding 200 TET predator traps—and something special in the wardrobe line.
Howie Timms is General Manager Commercial at NBS.
He’s also a keen mountain biker, with a deep appreciation of the natural environment. So with a million-dollar sponsorship budget to allocate this year, he’s been looking at supporting a wider number of conservation initiatives.
“We are now making a conscious choice around how NBS as a business approaches climate change,” he says, “with a strategic framework and action plan around both climate risk and trying to be a better corporate citizen by reducing our business’ impact on the environment.
Howie says sport and recreation have historically been the focus of NBS’ sponsorship spend.
“Whilst sport is important, we want to make a difference across the entire community, so the decision was made that we would sponsor things that made an impact without perhaps having such a clear ROI [return on investment]—and the environment is one of those things.”
“You’re clearly growing”
So why did TET show up on Howie’s radar? “I think TET is interesting. You’re clearly growing. And a lot of the activity you’re doing is organising and assisting other community groups to do really good work around planting and trapping. So that was attractive—[you’re] not a big, top-heavy environmental group hiring lots of people to do the mahi,” he says.
He also likes TET’s local focus.
“And people want to be engaged because they’re out there, doing the work and seeing the difference that these projects make.
“Once I got my head around that, it was like, ‘This Tasman Environmental Trust is an organisation we should be looking to get behind’.”
How NBS is supporting TET and community conservation
Towards the end of last year, NBS funded 200 predator traps and contributed to costs for regional predator control and TET support. When asked why he chose to support trapping over planting initiatives where the results are more visible, Howie says he wanted the decision to be TET’s.
“I said, ‘Come back to me with something that would make a difference… and that would have the greatest impact’,” he says.
NBS has also given an unlooked-for but very welcome bonus—some TET-branded gear for staff.
“As a charitable trust, spending money on branded clothing for staff is harder for you to find in your budgets,” says Howie. “So I’m really pleased to also be able to support this initiative.”
TET manager Sky Davies agrees. “We definitely wouldn’t! But what a wonderful boost—and a practical one. We’re over the moon; very happy to enter into this partnership with NBS and appreciative of their approach.”
Taking a long-term view
As far as Howie’s concerned, this is the first step in a long-term relationship with TET.
“I think the next bit of support we provide…will be around a planting programme that we can involve our staff in and other stakeholders as well,” he says.
He encourages other local organisations to support conservation work in Nelson Tasman.
“I totally support businesses, if they can, to look at what impact their business is having on the environment and invest in mitigating some of those impacts,” he says.