Avocado industry can lead sustainability on a world stage, says World Avocado Congress keynote

21 February 2023

Renowned sustainable business leader and entrepreneur Florence Van Dyke walks the talk when it comes to demonstrating sustainable leadership. As a keynote speaker at the upcoming World Avocado Congress, Van Dyke will address the future of food, climate change and where New Zealand can show leadership on the world stage.

As Head of Sustainability at New Zealand’s international business development agency, New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, Van Dyke supports New Zealand exporters in their sustainability journeys and in preparing for the challenges and opportunities that come with a global transition away from fossil fuels and towards a low-emissions future. Ranking in Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for Asia-Pacific in 2019, Van Dyke co-founded Chia Sisters, an accredited Living Wage, Zero Carbon, Climate Positive and B Corp drinks company.

“In 2023 we are using 1.7 X the worlds’ resources each year. This is having a huge impact on farmers and growers across the world. When it comes to sustainability there is no winner. The only way to achieve global sustainability is to collaborate and work together and the global avocado community can be an important part of that.

“I see an opportunity for the avocado industry to prioritise sustainability. This is not just the right thing to do for our people and the planet but is an opportunity to add value to the avocado economy and attract talent and investors to the industry.”

A former corporate lawyer, Van Dyke graduated from the University of California’s Berkeley School of Law with a Master of Laws in Business and Climate Change. As part of her wider advocacy and mentorship in sustainable business, she is a co-founder of Businesses for Climate Action, which supports New Zealand businesses to measure and reduce their emissions. In this role she has led workshops with hundreds of businesses to tackle the challenges and opportunities of climate change. Van Dyke was also a finalist at the United Nations’ 2022 WE Empower Sustainable Development Goals Challenge.

At the World Avocado Congress – taking place in Auckland, New Zealand, from 2-5 April 2023 – Van Dyke will share her own sustainability journey, the role of Businesses for Climate Action and learnings from her studies at Berkeley.

“I look forward to sharing my personal journey in growing a sustainable, values-led business. Leading with values is an increasingly successful way of doing business at a time when consumers, employees and investors are asking for businesses to prioritise people and planet. That’s why the theme of the World Avocado Congress – Respectful – is especially significant. Respect for people and respect for the land play a special part in Aotearoa’s identity and I am grateful for the opportunity to share this kaupapa with an international audience.”

Jen Scoular, CEO of New Zealand Avocado and President of the World Avocado Congress Committee says that, after the impact of recent weather events including Cyclone Gabrielle, it’s incredibly important and pertinent to hear keynote speakers, such as Van Dyke, talk about the future of food, climate change and the global impacts on horticulture right now.

“Florence brings a wealth of experience on the subject of sustainability. The fact is, consumers are increasingly making more informed choices when it comes to the origins of their produce and there is real demand for products with a low environmental footprint. Growers aren’t simply out to make money, they like being better for the world. To ensure the sustainable growth of the global avocado industry, the global avocado community must come together and decide what actions need to be taken.”

For more information about the World Avocado Congress visit the website: wacnz2023.com

For general World Avocado Congress queries please contact: info@wacnz2023.com

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