Chief Sustainability Officer | The Warehouse Group

David Benattar, Mentor

"Just coming out of three days of Climate X innovation spring mentoring, I can now testify that Alan Froggatt and his team have unquestionably nailed the recipe that turns a bunch of passionate people into a ruthless gang of climate innovators. Kudos."

I started my career at Aveda, a world pioneer in natural beauty, where I learned everything about what it is to breathe and live sustainability in your organisation. It was my first job, and I thought every company was like that, but boy was I wrong.

I spent 20 years in the US before moving to New Zealand to join The Warehouse in 2016 as Chief Experience Officer. In 2018 I moved into a new role as Chief Sustainability Officer to unify all the sustainability programmes that existed in the organisation under one cohesive strategy. The Warehouse is one of the co-founders of the Climate Leaders Coalition, and I’m on the board of the Sustainable Business Council so when the opportunity to be involved in Climate-X, it made sense for The Warehouse and for me to support this movement.

Threats and opportunities

I’m extremely concerned about climate change, but I also think the people who know how to turn the threat into an opportunity will do really well, and do a lot of good for the world. The Warehouse Group, our 12,000 employees and I personally want to be part of the solution.

Climate-X has been an incredible experience, and I’ve met some wonderful people and heard some really solid ideas. This event proves the power of purpose and teamwork to deliver ideas that can be transformative. There have also been some abysmal ideas. That is what makes an event like this so interesting.

Breaking down barriers

I hope we make the absolute best of this movement and this opportunity. My advice for participants would be to go back to their organisation with a firm understanding of the corporate challenge and what the barriers are to adopting sustainability practices. That is the key to overcoming those barriers.

Rebranding and repositioning sustainability practices as performance-enhancing is critical if we want businesses to change. Everybody pays for waste; everybody pays or will have to pay for carbon emissions; everyone is concerned and impacted by public opinion and consumer preference. These are big drivers for decision making, so let’s use these drivers to change the way we do business.

David Benattar

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