Ryman Healthcare has launched a new sustainability strategy which puts its places, people and purpose at its heart.
Group Chief Executive Richard Umbers said the strategy was the result of widespread consultation with stakeholders who knew Ryman well.
“As one of New Zealand’s largest companies, we are taking a leadership position with this sustainability strategy in response to the issues our stakeholders saw as being important for us now and in the future,’’ he said.
From the consultation Ryman identified that addressing the impact of climate change, investing in dementia care and prioritising deliberate engagement with indigenous communities in New Zealand and Australia were key priorities this year.
One key project to address the impact of climate change is the construction of the first of a new generation of apartment buildings using engineered timber which significantly cuts the use of concrete and structural steel.
Work starts in November on an apartment building using a cross laminated timber (CLT) system at Kevin Hickman Retirement Village in Christchurch.
The CLT system means the building will be up to 75% lighter than traditional structures and means the buildings’ foundations and seismic load requirements were reduced.
“These apartments are the first in a long line of initiatives which will step up our approach to sustainability across everything we do. It’s not just about buildings though, there is a lot more to come as we roll out our new sustainability strategy across Ryman,’’ Richard Umbers said.
Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Marsha Cadman said the starting point for developing the sustainability strategy was to talk to as many key stakeholders as possible, ranging from residents and team members through to indigenous communities and suppliers.
“Knowing where to focus your sustainability efforts can be tricky, so we started by consulting with the people who know us best – and who will be most affected by our operations in the future,’’ she said.
Reducing emissions, investing in further development of Ryman’s dementia care model, and engaging more deliberately with indigenous communities were the priorities to tackle first.
“We already have a strong focus on quality care, but we are determined to make dementia a priority because it is a growing area of need, and also an area where indigenous populations are over-represented,’’ she said.
As part of the new strategy Ryman is the first retirement village operator in New Zealand to join the Sustainable Business Council (SBC) and will be one of only three healthcare companies in Oceania to establish a Science-Based Target as it aims to be net zero by 2050.
SBC Executive Director Mike Burrell welcomed Ryman to the council.
“We are delighted to be welcoming Ryman Healthcare as a member, the first aged care and retirement village provider to join SBC.”
“As demand for aged care continues to grow, we are encouraged to see Ryman Healthcare putting sustainability at the heart of the future focus of their business.
“This is a sector that is going to play an extremely important role in the future of Aotearoa New Zealand, so it is excellent to see the ambitious and holistic approach the organisation is taking to secure a thriving and sustainable future for their stakeholders, and the communities they play a significant role in.”
Catherine Hall, Chief Executive of Alzheimers New Zealand, said dementia was a significant healthcare problem, and she was pleased to see Ryman’s commitment to quality dementia care in the sustainability strategy.
Richard Umbers said stakeholder consultation reaffirmed that care remained at the heart of everything Ryman did for its more than 13,000 residents.
“We’re committed to implementing this sustainability strategy, while delivering strong financial performance, achieving our corporate objectives and providing care that is good enough for mum and dad,’’ he said.