TIA's sustainability journey

TIA has signed up to the TSC. Follow us on our journey to achieve the 14 Business Sustainability Commitments.

November 2017

TIA signs up for the Tourism Sustainability Commitment.

Chief Operating Officer Chris McGeown will spearhead TIA’s efforts to achieve the 14 Business Sustainability Commitments. He’s thinking big, and suggests we aspire to become the most sustainably run association in New Zealand - maybe even the world! At this stage, we are a long way from that.

Chris calls for volunteers from the 20-strong TIA team to be part of the new Tourism Sustainability Group that will help achieve the 14 Commitments.

Seven staff volunteer, with a good spread across our teams and locations (Wellington based plus one person in Wanaka).

Our inaugural meeting is set for early December to get the ball rolling.


December 2017

Tracking progress

We meet for one hour and make a quick assessment of how TIA is currently performing against the 14 Commitments, giving each a ranking of yes, 'sort of', no.

For the record, we consider we are achieving pretty well against 4 Commitments, ‘sort of’ against 7 (and it was a very limited sort of for some of them), and a definite ‘no’ for the remaining 3.

Chris sets up an Excel spreadsheet to track our progress towards meeting the Commitments.

Next steps

Depending on areas of interest, each group member is assigned at least one or two Commitments to ‘own’ and champion to the wider TIA team (some Commitments have two champions).

We agree to meet again in mid-late February, and in the interim: 

  • think about defining the Commitment(s) we have been allocated in terms of what it means for TIA


  • provide a brief plan of attack on how we will go about addressing the gap between our current performance and the desired state envisaged in the Business Commitment. The group is advised to check out the TSC website for guidelines, tips and tools.

March 2018

A two-hour meeting is scheduled for Commitment champions to tell the group what their Commitment means for TIA and what needs to be done to get it from its current level to a ‘yes’ assessment.

There’s lots of discussion around things like scope and priorities, and we only get through half the Commitments in the allotted time.

We have a second meeting later in the month to cover off the rest.

Next steps

Over the next two months, based on feedback from our meeting, group members will write a short report (1-2 pages) for their Commitment, outlining what it means for TIA and an action plan.  A template is created to give the reports consistency. We’ll also note linkages to other Commitments. There’s some crossover and it makes sense not to reinvent the wheel.

Chris provides an example for Commitment 12 - Carbon Reduction. As part of this, using an online calculator, he has worked out TIA’s carbon footprint, our long-term goal (zero), and a plan of attack to achieve that goal. Once you’ve got a plan, the goal doesn’t seem quite as daunting!

Our next two-hour meeting scheduled for late May.

Internal communications

The group’s Communications team member is asked to develop a short communications plan to keep the wider TIA team up to date with our progress.

We agree to do a “big reveal” to TIA staff in early June.

April 2018

And it’s a case of the best laid plans! April throws up a big speed bump when we are given two hours to evacuate our Wellington office due to structural safety concerns. Several of our team now have to focus on settling us into temporary premises and finding new office space. As well, the manager leading our internal sustainability work resigns.

There’s also a huge effort going into preparing for TRENZ in Dunedin in early May. In short, there’s not a lot of time for progressing our 14 Business Commitment action plans.


May 2018

Our 1-2 page Business Commitment action plans are at varying stages of completion. We are finding that it’s much easier to develop action plans for some Commitments than others. 


June 2018

We had planned to have our 14 Business Commitment action plans completed by June and be ready to present to staff, but it looks like that deadline will be pushed out (see April speed bumps).

In mid-June the team decides we need to take action to keep the momentum going. A meeting is convened to see where we are at with developing our 14 Commitment action plans. Those who have spare capacity agree to help out those who need assistance. We agree to meet weekly until the action plans are drafted. We'll then share them with the team for feedback and then present them to the wider TIA team. In the meantime we update staff on where we are at, with a big reveal now planned for August!