August 26, 2020
Last updated on October 22, 2020
Gold Coast social enterprise Natura Pacific provides a free environmental education program for more than 10,000 kindergarten, primary and senior school students per year, delivering important lessons as to the value of preserving our natural environment.
Thanks to a contract with global property and infrastructure group, Lendlease, Natura Pacific has recently expanded the program by more than 10%, reaching a further 2,000 new students, in a great example of the power of social procurement.
The double-impact social enterprise funds the education program through its consulting arm, which provides industry-leading ecological and environmental consulting services to developers and infrastructure clients like Lendlease, ensuring our cities of the future are planned and built sustainably.
“We worked directly for Lendlease on their Yarrabilba Project which is a 30-year priority development build. It is like mini city – it will consist of seven schools, 20,000 homes and will house up to 44,000 people,” said Natura Pacific Founder and Director Kieran Richardt.
“We wrote the ecological planning documents to direct the master-planning for the city, and work on all the approvals and compliance for them to ecological matters.
“We get ecological and social outcomes from the work we do with Lendlease – it’s a great example of a tier one business working with a small social enterprise – in other words, we do charity by doing trade.
“Our team of scientists is engaged by Government, developers and other infrastructure businesses to provide awareness and resources to assist them achieve more sustainable outcomes.
“Natura Pacific was established 15 years ago, and it wasn’t until around mid-2018 that I found out what a social enterprise was and realised that we were one – we immediately applied for certification with Social Traders.”
Kieran added that the contract created five new full-time positions within the Natura Pacific team, helping to expand the reach of the education program.
According to Lendlease Senior Development Manager Rob Ball, the contract serves as a fine example of what can be achieved if corporate Australia partners with the social enterprise sector.
“In addition to the Natura Pacific team’s expertise in flora and fauna and related support services, their social enterprise structure has provided the Yarrabilba team with access to education, training and other initiatives,” said Mr Ball.
“We have greatly enhanced our ability to engage with our growing community on what benefits their local environment provides and how to protect and enhance it into the future.
“We have been able to deliver social outcomes as well as commercial outcomes through this contract with Natura Pacific.
“For example, indirectly we are able to pass on updates on our koala and general fauna monitoring activities to the community – fostering greater engagement of the community with their surrounding environment.”
Among the numerous schools and education organisations, an indirect beneficiary of this arrangement has been the early learning centre Little Apple Tree on the Gold Coast.
According to Owner Sascha Valewink, working with Natura Pacific has enriched the environmental education which they are able to provide to the children at Little Apple Tree Early Learning Centre.
“It has really helped the educators at the centre with ideas and inspiration for fostering eco-awareness in children,” said Ms Valewink.
“The children at Little Apple Tree are regularly involved in the workshops provided by Natura Pacific and gain an understanding of the importance of society taking care of the environment. Natura Pacific helps us to prepare children to be ecologically aware citizens.”
Image courtesy of: We Are Goldcoast