Magazine article New Zealand Management

Jane Arnott on Governance & Conservation

Magazine article New Zealand Management

Jane Arnott on Governance & Conservation

Article excerpt

Good governance is synonymous with prudent investment, risk management, vision, strategy and other measures ultimately designed to secure and build shareholder wealth over the long term.

In making the case for investment in the conservation estate, which includes preventing the extinction of our unique species, good governance measures are often devolved to middle management in the form of sponsorship responsibilities.

Assessing the economic impact of environmental and conservation challenges is however incompatible with the need to provide simple brand alignment, brand visibility and nights out in the form of corporate hospitality. Governance outcomes versus sponsorship outcomes are very different in timeframe and measurement.

Very few sponsorship managers understand the potential economic impacts of environmental or habitat degradation and the decline in our unique wildlife to the extent needed to convince them of the value of even a small investment in the conservation estate.

With the benefit, however, of an avalanche of new knowledge around global warming and climate change there is now little reason to doubt that our conservation estate, upon which many of our economic activities and sentiments rest, warrants serious thought.

I argue that this level and type of investment is best steered through mechanisms of governance as opposed to a checklist of sponsorship criteria that run to a 12-month budget allocation and seek to address a primary need for key executives to network and build relationships with both suppliers and clients.

This is not to degrade the role of sponsorship. It is a valid marketing tactic--but the need to invest in the conservation estate is part of a much deeper and long-term issue. Some companies grasp it more easily at a senior management level. Mitre 10's Takahe Rescue, for example, won the support of the entire company and customers but was actioned at a senior management level because of a brand value alignment and the wish to build upon being New Zealand owned and operated.

But for many sponsorship managers the fact that company logos or events do not sit well in National Parks where the integrity of the natural environment is of more value than the recall of company name graphic, font or colour palette comes as an unwelcome surprise. …

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