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KiC People in Profile: Izzy Fenwick

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

By Tessa Vincent

On a sunny afternoon in Auckland, I am thrilled to be sipping an iced coffee with Izzy Fenwick – a Kiwi in Climate (KiC) member who is not afraid to bring climate centre stage, and who is intent on driving climate action within the business community and seeing New Zealand’s businesses “do better”.

Who is Izzy?

Izzy Fenwick has impressive titles: a Board member of The Aotearoa Circle, CEO and Founder of FENWICK, NEXT Fellow and Co-Chair of Koitu’s Rangatahi Advisory Group. But she’s not working on climate issues for titles. Rather, she’s motivated by her father, the late Sir Rob Fenwick, one of New Zealand’s leading environmentalists and businessmen. Right up until the day of his death, Izzy tells me, Sir Rob was “writing letters to Jacinda Ardern about Predator Free 2050”. He had the passion, energy, and knowledge for the message that “you can do business and be sustainable”. Izzy wants to continue his legacy – for the benefit of generations to come.

Projects for collaboration

Izzy lights up when she talks about FENWICK – a company she founded last year that connects professional next generation talent and leading organisations to create social, environmental and impactful change. The next generation advisory panels established out of FENWICK push New Zealand organizations to be more ambitious, more creative and more accountable to the next generation. She also shares her ‘big idea’ for 2023: a tech platform that incentives organisations ESG commitments by leveraging the retention and acquisition of top talent.

New Zealand climate solutions

Like her father, Izzy believes New Zealand businesses could be doing more to tackle the climate crisis. While New Zealanders are slowly appreciating that sudden cyclones in summer mean “climate change is no longer a hypothetical danger”, businesses are not being bold enough. She sees the need for a massive shifts to ensure businesses do not profit from inaction, or worse - sacrifice the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Compared to politicians, who are beholden to three-year terms and voter appeal, Izzy suggests business leaders can be bold. Her advice to CEOs of companies, “if you’re not bold, you are a manager – not a CEO or leader”. Simon Limmer, CEO of Silver Fern Farms, is an example Izzy gave of a great leader, encouraging bolder action - biodiversity action, not just carbon - within that industry.

Kicking off Kiwis in Climate

Izzy is thrilled to read KIC’s latest newsletter and sees the potential of this network, suggesting sub-groups on thematic climate topics. Her advice to Kiwis working in climate is simple: “If you’re a talent in climate, it’s your responsibility to share your enthusiasm and wisdom for change”. New Zealanders are nimble and willing to test ideas – to try and to fail. It’s these failures, or sometimes the hardest things in life like losing the ones we love, that can motivate us even more.

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