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Generation Z and the environment – how can we use their passion to attract them into food and fibre sector careers?

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

The Food and Fibre sector in New Zealand can be a great place to work. However, Gen Z (those born between 1995 and 2010) does not always see the opportunities available to them in this diverse and rewarding sector. At the same time, the sector needs more people, partly due to the pace of change it is facing as environmental concerns, consumer attitudes and needs of the sector evolve.

The influence of Gen Z on the workforce is only beginning and will continue to grow. This generation is very different to those before and define themselves by their values and identity. The defining issue of this generation will be climate change and the environment. In New Zealand, agriculture is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. This could be viewed as a problem to attracting Gen Z into the sector. At the same time the sector is being asked and is actively looking to understand how it can improve its environmental impact.

This research has focused on how we can use Gen Z’s passion about the environment to attract them into the sector. The sector needs skilled and passionate people to meet the challenges it faces.

My research and survey have highlighted some key areas in which the current system could be strengthened. This involves aligning Food and Fibre sector careers with the values of Gen Z through:

  • Strengthened sector approach to career attraction in the Food and Fibre Sector in a Gen Z context
  • Reframing the story around the Food and Fibre sector to appeal to Gen Z values
  • Gen Z focused communication strategies.

These recommendations recognise that appealing to Gen Z is not only important in terms of attracting the labour required but also the attitudes and values needed in the Food and Fibre sector going forward. Gen Z have more choices than ever before for their future careers. The Food and Fibre sector needs to come to Gen Z to build the capability the sector will need in the short and long term.

Read Madison’s full report here:

Generation Z and the environment – how can we use their passion to attract them into food and fibre sector.

Bobby Calves – Industry benefits rather than wasteful perception.

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

The world population continues to grow and so does the demand for animal proteins. The primary sector exports the majority of the dairy and meat products produced nationally and as a result contributes billions of dollars to the New Zealand economy. As a nation we want to achieve the highest premiums for our products to maximise our returns, as a result we are a consumer lead industry.

Consumers have more choices now than ever before and are much more conscious of the food they purchase. They are happy to pay extra to ensure the quality of the product, but these premiums also have to meet their expectations around environment and animal welfare, two aspects that are under constant scrutiny as the world moves into an era trying to deal with climate change.

New Zealand is seen by many as a clean and green country at the bottom of the world that produces dairy and meat products with the lowest environmental footprint, but our uniqueness doesn’t come without some unique issues.

As an industry we send 1.9 million four day old calves to slaughter every year in a very short space of time, this practice has all but ceased in the rest of the world, and while we meet all animal welfare code requirements in the treatment of these calves, ethically people do not like the thought of killing four day old animals, and this is putting pressure on the future of the New Zealand bobby calf industry.

I have conducted many interviews over the last few months throughout the bobby calf supply chain, these have been conducted in person and via “Teams” meetings over the internet. Some of the interviews have been recorded, and others who wanted to remain anonymous I only took notes. Once I had conducted all my interviews I broke down the information into common themes to ascertain what current value these calves currently contribute to our economy and was their life a life worth living? Did that life add value?

While many people were happy to speak to me, due to the enormity of the topic it was less easy to acquire supporting information to validate my findings. Bobby calves are currently flying under the radar and nobody really wanted to draw unnecessary attention to their businesses.

I was able to identify that 100% of the calf is utilised and that it is broken down into many products that are exported around the world. Because of the age of the calf and New Zealand’s disease free status compared to other countries the products the calf goes into achieve export premiums due to the high quality of goods.

One of the key insights was the continuity of employment these calves brought to the industry, helping keep meat processing plants operational in a quiet period of time. Being able to offer more staff full time employment was good for the processors the staff and the local communities and the economy.

While there weren’t any products that could not continue to be produced from an adult animal, the quality of some of these products would be reduced. We could simply remove bobby calves overnight but the flow on costs to the industry would not counteract the additional value potentially achieved by growing these calves out to be slaughtered at an older age.

To remove the bobby calf from the industry is going to take considerable collaboration across the primary sector to come up with solutions and markets that we currently do not have, and is a cost that potentially have to be worn by the dairy farmer as the only way to rear these animals through to an older age is to displace some of the 4.9 million dairy cows.

While it was clear that the calf was treated humanely and added significant value to the industry, it did not answer the ethical debate of whether it will continue to be socially acceptable to slaughter four day old calves.

It seems ironic to me that the consumers in International countries like China or Europe that want dairy and meat products from animals that do not support a bobby calf industry are the same countries / consumers that will pay premiums for the co-products that are generated from the bobby calf.

To full understand the financial and social benefits that the current 1.9 million bobby calves contribute to society and to our economy I would recommend a full industry review be carried out that can them be used as the benchmark for any proposed future solution for their removal.

Read Greg’s full report here:

Bobby calves – Industry benefits rather than wasteful perception.

A proposed plan of action for meeting the immediate requirements and future expectations of the New Zealand honey industry.

Kellogg course 43

Executive Summary

New Zealand relies on bees to pollinate crops and pasture worth at least $5 billion annually to its economy. In 2019/20, honey export value reached $425 million. In July 2020, the Government released its Fit for a better world vision. While it did not separate the impact on the New Zealand honey industry individually, the numbers infer the industry is being tasked to add $65 million in export earnings cumulatively over the next 10 years. This task falls to the 935 export registered beekeepers (about 10% of total registered beekeepers) to supply Mānuka and/or non-Mānuka honey for export. So, how well is the industry set up to accomplish this task?

Industry members were asked via survey, what was working and not working in the industry across the six areas below. These areas were selected by applying a human psychology lens to understand the motivation behind the behaviour within the industry. Of the 57 respondents, over half indicated they wanted change across five of the six areas.

  1. Sustainable livelihood: 54.4% said the industry was not providing them with a sustainable livelihood, primarily because non-Mānuka honey prices have dropped below cost of production. They also voiced concerns about the oversupply of honey, the overstocking of bees, and the low demand for products like beeswax and propolis. Haar et al. (2017) explains income predicts work-life balance and job satisfaction, and concerningly, Stats NZ (2020) found average 2020 weekly wage and salary earnings in the industry was $1,090 per week, $259 per week less than average 2019 weekly expenditure. Respondents who were getting a sustainable livelihood from the industry credited Mānuka’s high prices and profitability, and their business acumen.
  2. Industry structure: 72.2% said having a more united industry would be an advantage. They believe “we are stronger together” and becoming more unified would mean more collaboration and agreed priorities, better influence over Government and regulators, and greater ability to enforce rules and stop the rogues and cowboys. Respondents happy with the industry structure cited having multiple organisations kept the others honest, ensured all voices are heard and allowed for personal autonomy. However, Coulet (2019) warns there should only be one industry body to represent the ‘voice’ of the industry as Government and regulators find it easier to talk to an industry body vs. every organisation active in the industry, and industry body board members must serve the interest of the whole industry (Boleat, 2001).
  3. Effective communication: 57.9% said the industry did not communicate effectively with them. They cited lack of an accessible national database, lack of communication, lack of one voice, lack of allowing their input, and lack of belief of information communicated were pressing issues. Laundry (2019) explains ineffective communication means important information can be misinterpreted, causing relationships to suffer, and ultimately create barriers that hinder progress.
    Respondents happy with the industry communication said it was because they were a member of ApiNZ and/or had built up personal networks which kept them informed.
  4. Good leadership: 61.4% said the industry leaders were not doing a good job. They cited lack of leadership courage, lack of listening, putting personal agendas first, lack of a unified voice, lack of communication and lack of leader visibility as the reasons. Sinek (2006) advises leadership is not about being in charge but about taking care of those in your charge and Hogan et al. (2005) asserts leadership should be viewed by the ability to build and maintain a group, and evaluated by the performance of the group over time. Respondents happy with the industry leadership said advocacy at Government level and communication with the industry is done well, they are producing results with limited resources, and they are doing their best.
  5. Clear vision: 84.2% said the industry did not have a clear vision. They felt no vision existed as the industry is too fragmented to have a united vision. Sinek (2018) explains a vision is the starting point, the basic building block. A vision provides a sense of purpose and direction and when everyone is pulling toward the same goal, people start trusting each other. Mollenhauer (2015) warns without a vision the industry is going nowhere, because members are inspired by seeing a clear vision forward and can align their energies and resources to achieving progress. Respondents happy with the industry vision cited ApiNZ’s vision of “a thriving long-term future for New Zealand honey and bee products” and universal visions of ‘bee aware’ and making good quality honey and caring about the bees.
  6. Self-fulfilment: 80.7% said their work in the industry fulfilled them. They love the bees, the lifestyle and being outdoors in nature, producing something natural, the sense of achievement from solving problems and supporting others. Respondents who did not feel fulfilled said they were worried about survival of their business and the industry. Concerningly, their feelings of fulfilment are lower than New Zealanders feeling of fulfilment as Stats NZ (Mar 2021 quarter) found 86% of their respondents reported high life satisfaction.

This research shows respondents are calling out for better returns, a unified industry, effective communication, strong leadership, clear vision and greater self-fulfilment. So, is it possible for the industry to create these outcomes? Yes it is, and this report supported by literature recommends a two-phase plan of action to accomplish it:

Phase 1: What does the industry need to change? This is about finding all industry members and capturing their voice for change following a three-step process, which looks like this:

  1. Developing a national database.
  2. Creating a national communication campaign.
  3. Sending out a national survey.

Phase 2: How does the industry change? This is about listening to all industry members responses and guiding them through change by following Kotter’s (2012) proven eight-step process of leading change, which looks like this:

  1. Creating a sense of urgency.
  2. Forming a powerful coalition.
  3. Developing the change vision.
  4. Communicating the vision.
  5. Empowering industry members to act.
  6. Creating quick wins.
  7. Building on the change.
  8.  Anchoring the change into industry culture.

Can this two-phase plan of action work? According to Moore’s (1991) adaptation of the Law of Diffusion of Innovations it can work if 15%-18% of industry members commit to creating change in the industry.

Read Kathryn’s full report here:

A proposed plan for meeting the immediate requirements and future expectations of the NZ honey industry.