Technology and Sustainability Governance

The New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard project is a 6 years research programme started in October 2012 and funded by MBIE and the Industries. It is built on a core of existing capability and knowledge of the Agriculture Research Group On Sustainability (ARGOS) researchers, supplemented by additional specialist researchers and their international networks to build strong collaborations.

The Research partners are Lincoln University (AERU), University of Otago (CSAFE), The Agribusiness Group, Landcare Research, Scion, Ngai Tahu, 1000Minds, Ecosystem consultants and Lincoln Agritech.

Industry partners include New Zealand Winegrowers, Zespri International and other Kiwifruit partners, Forestry organisations, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and BioGro New Zealand.

The main project objective is to develop – with these partners – on-line user-friendly tools to facilitate sustainability assessment and reporting to meet market and regulatory demands. These web-based tools will facilitate uploading of regular monitoring results and instantly summarise and report back trends to the producers, to industry representatives, and to agriculture regulators and policy makers at regional and national government levels. It could as well provide information to enhance management decision making for businesses and assist in enhancing their overall sustainability performance and to provide regular feedback to producers for learning.

More information about the New Zealand Sustainability Dashboard is available on the project website. My role is with the social pillar of the project. This involves looking at the social dimensions of sustainability, while also considering how the technology influences social relations. So far, I have been looking at the use of sustainability monitoring in the New Zealand wine industry and its effects on relationships and practice.