Venture Southland — a joint initiative of the Invercargill City Council, Southland District Council and Gore District Councils — is the economic development agency for the Southland region. Since its inception in 2001, Venture Southland has provided a unified voice for the region and established a nationally recognised model of regional co-operation.

Venture Southland is committed to ensuring that the Southland environment thrives alongside the region’s economic and social development, and promotes the benefits of communities and businesses working together in this area to leverage support and resources. Recognising the value of this work, in 2018 The Tindall Foundation (TTF) donated $70,000, which is also being repeated in 2019 and 2020, to support this environmental work and focus.

One of the major beneficiaries of this donation is Carbon Neutral Advantage, a three-year project focused on driving Southland’s transition to a low-carbon environment. As the first regional project of its kind, it will make a significant contribution to addressing carbon emissions, poor air quality and waste pollution, while providing a blueprint for other regions in implementing sustainable practices and meeting New Zealand’s commitments under the Paris Agreement.

Isabel Huther, Venture Southland’s Business Projects Coordinator, says the donation has enabled community consultation, events and initiatives to raise awareness of carbon reduction, as well as providing information on the new technologies and initiatives that will contribute to a low-emission future.

“With the support of TTF we will be able to develop a regional carbon-reduction framework and encourage community groups and businesses to contribute to our regional targets,” she says.

TTF has taken an active role in helping to deliver Carbon Neutral Advantage, working with the local steering group to achieve the project’s objectives. “The Foundation’s support has helped the project team and steering group to connect with leaders in the fields of climate, impact finance, research and business ventures and provided confidence to the project delivery,” notes Isabel.

Venture Southland’s work supports TTF’s goal of keeping global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius, in line with the Paris Agreement. It also meets a number of priorities including achieving long-term positive change and working collaboratively for long-term sustainability.