Sustainability Qualifications and Education
*Associate of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (AIEMA), Foundation Certificate in Environmental Management
*Business Sustainability Management, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, University of Cambridge
* Climate Reality Leader with Al Gore's Climate Reality Project
* Driving Business Towards Sustainable Development Goals, Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Tamara Pitelen, co-founder, Greener Matters
Kia ora, I'm Tamara and along with my good pal Erin, we formally launched Greener Matters in 2021. This was a bid to put my money where my mouth had so loudly been with regard to helping solve the environmental and social problems we're all facing.
I'd been complaining about the lack of political and corporate action on the climate crisis for a long time but was not doing much myself apart from personal efforts to refuse, reduce, reuse, repair, recycle (and nagging patient husband on same)... but was refilling our laundry detergent bottles and taking our own bags to the supermarket really helping move the needle on climate change? Nope. Not so you'd notice.
It was time to do more. But what could a career journalist with a side hustle in yoga teaching and an obsession with RuPaul's Drag Race do to help address the complex and often overwhelming problems that are turning our world into a big, round, unhabitable oven?
I could learn as much as I could about sustainable business management with some of the top institutions then, in partnership with Erin, could offer to help businesses that wanted to be profitable, without harming the planet, make the big leap of faith into the world of sustainability. Our focus would be education, change management and communication.
So that's what I did. It was a massive and life-changing learning curve and now I am fired up about sharing what I've learnt to anyone who'll listen (and those who won't).
I come to the world of sustainable business consultancy after a diverse 25-year career in the media where I gained extensive experience in print and online publishing, as well as media project management.
I started out as a newspaper journalist in New Zealand on the Christchurch Press; ended up in Dubai launching radio station websites for Arab Media Group (which is where I met Erin), and then launching the Middle East's first ever mind-body-spirit magazine in print and online, Awakenings Middle East.
As well as having written acres of news and lifestyle content over the years, I also wrote financial pieces. I was editor of a finance magazine for SMEs in the Middle East; editor of a wealth management and investment magazine for high-net worth individuals, as well as a staff writer on an expat title of the Financial Times Group.
A serial entrepreneur on the side, I've launched a number of businesses for both fun and profit, including a media services agency, two publishing houses, a social networking enterprise (Social Circles Dubai), and a mobile yoga business called 'Yoga To You - At Your Place, At Your Pace', which was doing nicely till Covid-19 came along... (gratuitous yoga pix below because who doesn't love a Downward Dog?)
Having spent 25 years as a journalist, I do love me a good quote, here are some of my faves on sustainable business:
“Nobody can be successful – or even dare to call themselves successful – in a world that fails. Businesses need to take care of the planet and of society – not just one group of stakeholders.”
- Feike Sijbesma, DSM CEO (2007 to 2020)
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.”
- Bill Gates, Microsoft founder
“’Comply’ is not a vision.”
- Ray Anderson, founder Interface, sustainable carpet manufacturers
“As long as a dead tree is valued higher than a tree that’s alive, we are in trouble.”
- Paul Polman, CEO Unilever (2009-2018)
"Business is the economic engine of our Western culture, and if it could be transformed to truly serve nature as well as ourselves, it could become essential to our rescue."
- Prof. Karl-Henrik Robèrt