The Sustainability Society is a Learned Society established to foster sustainability engineering. The Society provides training and fosters dialogue on sustainability through workshops, seminars, forums and international conferences. It takes a complex systems approach to sustainability, recognising that human and natural systems are increasingly interconnected and interdependent. Formed in 2003 (as NZSSES), The Sustainability Society is a Technical Interest Group of the Institution of Professional Engineers of New Zealand (IPENZ). The Sustainability Society is the new name for NZSSES, having rebranded in July 2011.

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Upcoming Events

Winter Webinar Series

The Sustainability Society Winter Webinar Series is starting up. There is now no need to leave the warmth of your home to be involved in some stimulating sessions! These webinars are part of the Society’s commitment to create learning and engagement opportunities that are accessible to our nationwide network.





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Water Sensitive Wellington

In September 2014, The Sustainability Society hosted an inaugural Water Sensitive Wellington Forum bringing together a diverse group of water leaders from across the Wellington region.

Download the summary of this Forum which was created to capture the insights and ideas generated and will be used to stimulate further exploration of a Water Sensitive Wellington in the future.

A further event was hosted in February 2015 to explore water governance. Download the audio of that event here.

TSS looks forward to the continued evolution of this Water Sensitive Wellington agenda.



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David Thom – Onset of The Environmental Age

Sustainability Society life member and awardee David Thom has a new book The Onset of an Environmental Age which contains many of his talks and papers throughout his career.

David is a Distinguished Fellow of IPENZ and widely recognised as New Zealand’s foremost Environmental Engineer. He has spent a working lifetime and in retirement, actively promoting sustainability and minimisation of adverse environmental effects from engineering works. The book with a limited edition of 100 copies was launched on the occasion of David’s 90th birthday on 19th October 2014 by Emeritus Professor David Elms. more info

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Dr Ron McDowall ONZM on Radio New Zealand

Feature Guest – Dr Ron McDowall
Auckland engineer Ron McDowall is an expert on sustainability and toxic waste management. He’s worked around the world in dangerous conditions, as a UN specialist scientist/engineer working in the area of sustainable development in developing countries and travels the world on UNEP missions. His consulting focuses on sustainable technology design and toxic chemical waste (33′29″).
Download: Ogg Vorbis | MP3 | Embed

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Auckland Green Drinks

If you are based in Auckland and have an interest in sustainability within the city, come and join us!

TSS and NZAEE partnering to offer a monthly Green Drinks to provide a regular incubator for ideas and connections.

When: First Wednesday of every month from Sept 2016 onwards

Where: Brothers Brewery, 5 Akiraho St, Mt Eden

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Winter Webinar Series 2016

The Sustainability Society is looking forward to growing the Winter Webinar series in 2016.

These online interactive workshop sessions will engage some exciting presenters from across New Zealand and globally, sharing both research and practice case studies across a spectrum of sustainability issues.

  • Stimulating learning and engagement opportunities
  • Easily accessible to our nationwide network wherever they are
  • Sustainable approach to connecting with international leaders

Check out our current webinars on offer

Green Drinks Auckland

Green Drinks

In partnership with NZAEE we are initiating a monthly Green Drinks in Auckland.

It’s all about people with a connection to sustainability getting together for a regular catchup on the first Wednesday of every month. Simple really. We just want to offer a little incubator for ideas and connections. 

When: First Wednesday of every month from September 2016 onwards

Where: Brothers Brewery, 5 Akiraho St, Mount Eden

Thanks to Brothers Brewery for providing a fantastic venue, free nibbles and $2 off your first drink.

2016 Workshops 

We will be announcing some upcoming one-day workshops focussed on :

  • Systems thinking
  • Economics of sustainability

Both of these workshops will be focussed on the tangible application of these concepts and use interactive sessions and case studies to facilitate participants’ working on how it can be developed in their specific context.  These workshops will be offered both publically and for organisations in-house in at least 2-3 locations around New Zealand.

Details will be coming shortly however do email sarah@thesustainabilitysociety.org.nz to register your interest in participating or hosting a workshop in your region.

Supporting integrated thinking in our future practitioners

Collaboration with Victoria University Faculty of Architecture and Design 

In 2015 The Sustainability Society initiated a partnership with Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Architecture and Design. A group of industry leaders including engineers, scientists and strategists worked with final year Landscape Architecture students on projects to create visionary and progressive precinct designs for the inner city suburb of Te Aro. The results were fantastic and included two of the projects being finalists (and one winning) in an Australasian student design competition.

In 2016 we are building on this success and working with this class again refining our process from our learnings. Newtown is the site and many of the industry leaders who worked with us last year have signed on again!

Thank you to our organisational member Morphum Environmental for leading this process alongside The Sustainability Society.

Download the conference paper about this project ALTERNATIVE INFRASTRUCTURES – URBAN STREAMS AND THEIR BIODIVERSITY IN TE ARO Stormwater Conference May 2016

Collaboration with University of Auckland Engineering School

We would like to thank three of our organisational members – Opus, AECOM and Tonkin and Taylor for their involvement in this project. Individuals from these organisations are working with final year engineering student groups who are undertaking in-depth research projects in groups on:

  • Occurance, fate and ecotoxicity of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) in wastewater treatment plants
  • Green house gas emissions – investigating the novel mitigation mechanism for nitrous oxide emissions with activated carbon
  • Evaluating various lightweight media for assessing their suitability in the use of suspended raingardens for contaminant removal from stormwater

Climate Change Project 

Calling for innovators and leaders of climate change adaptation

The Sustainability Society is initiating a project providing a collaborative platform to involve climate change leaders and institutional stakeholders in a process that enables a more informed, strategic and responsive approach to climate resilience within the New Zealand built environment.

We believe that engineers and the wider built environment community have a leadership role to play in ensuring system-wide approaches to climate change adaptation. The physical and organisational responses required to the complex problem of climate change call for more than just resilient buildings and infrastructure. This leadership also involves framing climate change adaptation as opportunities to innovate as much as requirements to avoid crises.

This process will be initiated with a symposium being held later this year. At this forum, climate change leaders working across the built environment community in New Zealand, from both public and private sector, will be invited to share best practice, engage with international examples and work together to generate innovative ideas for the future.

Please do email sarah@thesustainabilitysociety.org.nz

  • If you are interested in partnership
  • If you would like to propose a New Zealand case study of current climate change work
  • If you would like to register your interest in participating



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