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In Association with The University of Auckland





The NZBEF 2022 Conference has been postponed until 2023. As soon as we know the exact dates that the conference will be held we will let you all know.

New Standards of Excellence

Climate change, pandemics, labour morality, and digital innovation are re-shaping the world of business. New consumer and investor values and behaviours are driving new definitions of business excellence. In particular we see the emergence of Environmental, Social and Governance standards (ESG)  in a fast moving digital world.

NZBEF brings this new world to you.

A world where excellence will be assessed and reported in new ways, to ensure consumer values are delivered, and old frameworks of excellence are challenged.

The Quest for Excellence conference seeks to clarify what excellence means to business, now; what these new standards are, and how innovation is essential to deliver them. It also looks at the new requirements for cybersecurity and data privacy.


It proposes an Audacious Goal: To become the most Innovative ESG and Cyber safe country in the world in order to establish a competitive advantage and attract talent and financial capital.


But we need to understand these new standards, have smart systems and have competent practitioners to ensure that we deliver these brand values.

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Conference Theme

Please note: this programme is subject to change and will be updated. 

Day 1 - New Standards of Excellence

Focus on ESG

By the NZBEF spokesperson.
Opening Address - Stephen Whiteside - University of Auckland: Head of Organisational Performance Improvement and Head of Digital: Stephen leads the Organisational Excellence and Continuous Improvement Program at Auckland University, who are a model of sustainable excellence, having been ranked 6 in the world in the 2022 Times Higher Education University impact ratings.
ESG - Where are we now? 
Lorna Davis - Ted Talk Celebrity and past CEO of Danone, North America: A world leader in ESG; Danone deployment as a B-Corp is seen as a world leading activity. Read more here.
April Mackenzie - Chief Executive, XRB: NZ is set to be one of the first in the world to implement mandatory climate action reporting. April will provide a briefing on behalf of NZXRB that will set the timelines for action. 
10:30am - Morning Tea
A Commercial Opportunity for NZ
Mike Burrell - Executive Director, Sustainable Business Council: How can following ESG standards lead to business advantage? Mike will provide insights into how companies like Unilever have achieved this through transparent and trusted reporting. Read more here 
David Downs - CEO, NZ Story: As leader of a NZ country brand initiative, David Downs will discuss the value of a 'country ESG brand' and the importance of delivering on that brand. NZ does not want a reputation for 'Greenwashing'.
Panel Discussion: Can NZ take the lead and have the world's most sustainable companies? How do we navigate through the different standards? How do we ensure transparent and trusted reporting?
12:30pm - Lunch
The Impact of ESG on Financial Systems
Jo Kelly - Chief Executive, Sustainable Finance: How have capital markets shifted? What are investors looking for from companies now? 
Julia Jackson, Head of Purpose and Sustainability, Kiwibank - Leading the way: Kiwibank has joined a small number of NZ financial institutions in achieving a B Corp rating. What have been the investment impacts? 
Vanessa Stevens, Sustainability Data Analyst, Craig's Investment Partners: The impact ESG is having on the financial system.
Panel Discussion: How important are transparency and trust of auditing and reporting? What should we report on? Which standards? Why is sustainable finance critical, and which reporting matters?
3:00pm - Afternoon Tea
ESG Tools for Auditing and Reporting
Keith Phillips, CEO, QLBS: Why are technologies and tools for assessment and reporting against frameworks important? How do we build transparency, trust and continuous improvement into the ESG systems? Who is already doing this?
Andrew Baines, President & CEO, Exemplar Global: Why are professional auditing and reporting systems important? Why are specialist process and systems auditing skills required, beyond financial reporting? 
Ronja Lidenhammar, KPMG Senior Manager with expertise across ESG & ESG reporting. How do you help organisations assess their ESG maturity? How can they identify transitional and physical risk and opportunities, and develop sustainability strategies for impact? Ronja will demonstrate a tool that KPMG have developed to assist in answering these questions.
Dr Robin Mann: International Awards Program - Best Practices - Innovation and ESG Awards. Introducing some of the ESG best practice award winners, as a celebration of the NZ and International Best Practice competition hosted by NZBEF.
Wrap Up Panel: Wrap up of the day, chaired by Auckland University.
5:00pm - Drinks sponsored by Lion
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Day 2 - Focus on Cyber

Sir Ian Taylor: Sir Ian Taylor is ESG! He built his company on its principles and recently discovered how to reduce his carbon footprint to near nil. He will entertain with his journey and extrapolate into the future.
Hilary Walton, CISO, Kordia Group:  Defending New Zealand Against Cyber-attacks? How is this being done? What does business need to do about it? Hilary brings to the conference her global cyber experience including her role in charge of Cyber security at the London Olympics and her local experience as CISO of Kordia. Read more here
Panel Discussion: The role of innovation in delivering ESG goals.
10:15am - Morning Tea
Jennie Vickers, CEO, Zeopard Consulting: Can NZ business develop a reputation as a secure, safe, data haven, that attracts talent and investment? And what standards of excellence are important to make this happen?
Speaker to be confirmed:
Phillip Whitmore, KPMG Partner, Cyber Security: Achieving Safe Cyber NZ: A global view from the KPMG perspective.
Jason Wood, ISACA Auckland Board Chair/President and Managing Director of Triple Ledger Limited: Cybercrime and its impact on the banking community.
Carew Hatherley, The IQM Group: The growing importance of ISO 27001 for data security and privacy.
Panel Discussion: Achieving a safe cyber NZ; the need for rigour and vigilance.
12:30pm - Lunch
Keith Phillips, CEO, QLBS: Small Business Excellence; How can excellence be applied across small organisations to ensure participation in supply chains?
Vaughan Winiata - MD, V Formation: Opportunities for Māori businesses - greater capacity, opportunity and social inclusion.
Marco Marinovich - a serial advertising agency CEO and Guru - chairs a panel of experts: discuss the possibilities and benefits of establishing NZ as the world’s most sustainable and 'cyber-safe' place to do business. The panel includes: Corina Corina Radovanovich, Microsoft’s Head of Industry Marketing, Australia and New Zealand, and passionate advocate for their sustainability program. Corina will bring a global perspective to the panel.  
Conference wrap-up: Key participants from the conference will give their views of highlights and key learnings.
3:45pm - NZBEF Conclusion: The Quest for Excellence

One of the most dramatic transformations of business excellence is taking place as we speak. Societal attitudes and global awareness is extending the purpose of business from 'delivering shareholder value’, to delivering 'sustainable value' for a planet that we all share.