Valuable sustainability lessons for small businesses

This article was originally published by Stuff. You can read the original article on Stuff’s website.

Lisa Bentley, financial adviser and owner of Hawke’s Bay business Peak Portfolio Management.

The summer is now long gone, and most Kiwis are settled in for a long winter ahead with our New Year resolutions checked off several months ago. As we settle into our established routines, the winter months can be a great time to take stock, refocus and try something different.

Furthering our education is a hugely valuable use of our time, and getting stuck into a new course can help people get inspired, add to their skills, and build on their personal development. Tackling further study can bring like-minded individuals together, spur innovation, and lead to some great business ideas.

Kiwis can benefit from taking the time out to do extra study, and The Mind Lab’s eight-week micro-credential, Leading Beyond Sustainability, has proven to be a valuable learning experience for Lisa Bentley, financial adviser and owner of Hawke’s Bay business Peak Portfolio Management.

After completing the new NZ qualifications required to practice as a financial adviser during the first Covid lockdown, Bentley entered the financial sector. After initial experience in the Hawkes Bay advice market, she was wanting to grow as an adviser and was very interested to upskill further with a focus on ethical investing. She took The Mind Lab’s Leading Beyond Sustainability course last October which she was able to apply to her role within the financial services industry.

The course — complementary to The Mind Lab’s Leading Change for Good programme — provided the perfect opportunity for Bentley to upskill. The micro-credential helps people go beyond the basics of sustainability and introduce practical steps to drive a sustainable future, regardless of the sector they work in.

“I’m passionate about how we can use investing in a good way,” she says. “To make sure we can invest in a way that makes our future better. This course was a great way to dive deeper into sustainability and develop my knowledge so I could look at KiwiSaver provider credentials.”

The online course is structured to be as flexible as possible, and Bentley fitted in her study as she worked in Hastings in a full-time role.

“I completed my financial adviser studies in 2020 and heard about The Mind Lab’s use of technology to deliver education. The way they used technology in the learning process was incredible and gave me confidence,” she says.

Leading Beyond Sustainability looks at topics including the state of sustainability, current global challenges, social and environmental justice, economic inclusiveness, climate change, and leadership for change.

Bentley says the programme equipped her with the tools to become an expert for her clients on sustainability issues — a key skill as investors become more environmentally and socially conscious with their savings choices.

“I’m able to go further than the flyer a KiwiSaver provider gives you,” she says. “I can look at a provider in detail and question their sustainability claims, and whether they are greenwashing.”

Eight-week micro-credential Leading Beyond Sustainability helps people from different backgrounds make more informed choices to positively impact future generations.

“People in any industry could benefit from, and apply lessons from, this course,” Bentley says.

The course also includes sections on community and collaboration, culturally sustainable approaches to sustainability, and indigenous values and perspectives.

Following the eight week programme, learners will have the knowledge, tools and capabilities to make practical changes in their lives and lay the foundation for a more sustainable future.

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