Governors and CEO guidance launched
The significance of biosecurity to the New Zealand economy and the business community is underscored by its top priority ranking for eleven years straight in the KPMG agribusiness agenda. With the high degree of connectivity between New Zealand businesses, it is a risk that commands active governance and management at all top tables.
Therefore today, to aid discussion in New Zealand’s boardrooms and senior leadership tables, the Biosecurity Business Pledge launched two new guidance documents.
The ‘CEO Guide to Biosecurity’ and ‘Biosecurity Considerations for Boards’ were developed by Pledge signatory organisations in consultation with a cross-section of Pledge chief executives and governors.
The Governance guide is endorsed by Peter McBride, Chairman of Fonterra Co-operative Group Ltd and former Chair of Zespri. At today’s launch, he highlighted the crucial role of boards and directors in driving biosecurity excellence to ensure the long-term sustainability of their organisations, industries and the economy.
“Our role in ensuring biosecurity risk is managed and embedded into an organisation’s culture has never been more vital than now. If we are to protect our primary sectors and maintain a strong reputation for the quality of our food and fibre exports, then board leadership is essential.”
Peter McBride emphasised that biosecurity should also be considered an equal part of good business risk management for corporate governors alongside their approach to health and safety at work, and food safety, with potentially similar levels of legal liability for companies and individual directors.
James Trevelyan, Managing Director and CEO of Trevelyan’s, welcomed the CEO guidance as helping businesses identify and operationalise their mitigating responses to their key biosecurity risks and practices.
“In New Zealand, the risk of unwanted pests (plant or animal) and diseases could devastate individual businesses and sectors, our economy, our environment, and even our way of life. Therefore, and work with MPI/Biosecurity New Zealand to understand and mitigate the risk.”
Anna Cassels-Brown, General Manager Operations for Auckland Airport, said “Reducing operational risk and safeguarding business continuity is a critical motivator for senior teams to continue to focus on biosecurity. This guidance will support all executives who manage operational risk, regardless of whether they have any technical biosecurity experience.”
The Business Biosecurity Pledge is a network of almost 250 business sector organisations that have committed to being an active part of New Zealand’s biosecurity team of all New Zealanders by integrating proactive biosecurity practices into their operations and supply chains. The Pledge functions as a forum for members to engage and collaborate in ways that build collective biosecurity capability.
Biosecurity Business Pledge Executive Director Debbie Teale said the launch of the guidelines was a significant milestone for the Pledge initiative.
“The Pledge was established in recognition of the significant costs associated with unwanted pests and diseases, that Biosecurity prevention will always be better than a cure and that we all benefit from working together to foster better outcomes.”
“Pledge members identified biosecurity guidance for senior executives and corporate directors as a gap in the toolkit of many businesses. We effectively pooled our expertise to develop and supply guidance for all businesses large and small.”
Ultimately this will support earlier and more effective biosecurity risk mitigations and help prevent unnecessary costs and disruptions for businesses, communities and the broader economy due to unwanted incursions of pests and diseases.
The CEO Guide to Management of Biosecurity Risk and Biosecurity Considerations for Boards are freely available on the Biosecurity Business Pledge’s website https://www.thisisus.nz/biosecurity-business/biosecurity-business-pledge/