The overriding focus of our attention this year has been Covid-19 and its’ influence on all aspects of politics and our business and social lives. It has touched everything.
The first wave of the pandemic and first lockdown were a massive test of our ability to continue business in a sustainable form – by this we mean looking after our people, ability to retain forward workload, manage projects and client expectations, and deal with financial fluctuations.
It took a whole-of-team approach to successfully navigate the year, and demonstrated that we had the resilience to do so. We have learned a lot from the experience in terms of the value of communication, in trusting in people, supporting and caring for each other. In common with other business, we reduced overheads and focused spending on essentials to retain liquidity and this worked well. One of the positive consequences of reducing business activity was the dramatic reduction in our carbon emissions, with emissions from travel and energy for heating, cooling and ventilation well down on average years.
In the last quarter of the year we developed and adopted two key documents. The first, a formalisation of an Environmental Policy. For many years we have operated without this codification but felt it necessary given the need for such a document from some stakeholders. The second is our Cultural Design and Relationships Framework – this recognises our identification of intergenerational stewardship in sustainable practice with kaitiakitanga from the perspective of a Māori world view.
The one other significant element to the year has been a comprehensive review of our governance and operational structure, which in the coming year will lead to a rollout of changes to our Board and internal structures for managing non-governance matters. We believe the involvement of a greater number of senior team members in managing and leading will result in a more effective and resilient business.
In the coming year we will oversee the completion of the restructure process and alongside this, modules of formal leadership training for a broad cross section of our staff. For our whole team we will be looking at implementation of aspects of a working-from-home strategy that we will be trialing mid-year. Looking outwards, our existing clients are a priority, yet we see opportunity for new relationships as the widespread effects of covid continue to influence the movement of people and capital; and create opportunities and new ways of thinking.
The high level of flux within government policies and business practice is also a risk for some of our market sectors, as is the inevitable counter-reaction of people generally to life under covid, where choices around work, leisure and finance have been severely curtailed but are beginning to open up again, and are therefore more volatile.
With the covid pandemic having reached a level of heightened but (currently) managed risk the climate emergency comes into focus once more and our attention must be on contributing to reduction in carbon emissions, regeneration of natural systems and increasing biodiversity through design and action.
Was the operating margin below budget. Liquidity ratio increased from 2.94 to 3.04
Increase in waste-to-landfill
Decrease in CO₂ emissions from 140.38 tonnes the previous year