8 Businesses Championing Sustainability in Christchurch Ōtautahi

A wooden building nestled amongst tall pine trees.

Championing sustainability is no easy feat, but these businesses are walking the walk and making a positive impact on the world around us.

Words by: Julia Rutherford

Photos by: Nancy Zhou

Protecting our planet and the finite resources our earth has to offer should be at the top of everyone’s priority list, but often, life gets in the way, and convenience wins over. Throughout Ōtautahi Christchurch, there are businesses and organisations determined to do more than the status quo when it comes to climate change and environmental impact. Whether this be implementing state-of-the-art recycling systems, creating their own methods of handling waste, reducing their carbon footprint and working with the best local suppliers they can source, or promoting plant-based eating with delicious and exciting dishes.

Championing sustainability is no easy feat but these businesses are walking the walk and making a positive impact on the world around us.

Two people ordering at an open bar window.

Two Thumb Brewing Co.

Local brewery, Two Thumb Brewing Co. is well ahead of the sustainability curve in the beer industry and proud of it. Their flagship brewing operation and tap room on Colombo Street has embraced a number of earth-friendly initiatives, including being fully run on solar energy. They also utilise water catchment systems to minimise their water usage, use rainwater to heat the beer during the beer-making process and water their edible garden, as well as treat their wastewater on-site. Alongside these measures, when it comes to sustainability, Two Thumb believes the most important thing they are doing in this space is their support of local producers and suppliers. From local malt, hops and additives for their beers to the ingredients they source for the food menus at their tap menus. Their latest opening, Two Thumb Harbourside, perfectly showcases this commitment to local suppliers, with 75% of their wine list coming from the Banks Peninsula.

Focusing on sustainability produces a twofold result for Two Thumb Brewing Co.; not only is it a responsible business that cares for and is mindful of the planet, but it also produces a stellar range of beers and has created tap rooms well worth a visit.

Untouched World

Fashion key icon. Goods key icon.

155 Roydvale Avenue, Russley, Christchurch

Speaking of being ahead of the curve, when Untouched World was founded in 1995 with a mission to use fashion as a vehicle for change, sustainability was a niche concept and far from being part of the collective consciousness. Never an afterthought, quite the opposite, sustainability is the driving force behind the decision-making in all areas of Untouched World’s business model. One example of this is their “These Socks Are Rubbish” campaign; the small amount of wool waste they have is sent to their spinner in Wellington, shredded up and respun into new yarn, then used to knit socks. The result is random colour mixing to create a unique marled effect, and has proven to be a popular product among many of their customers. Win-win for the planet and for fashion!

Untouched World is always striving to do more regarding sustainability and their current goals include having 0% microplastics in their garments by 2030, something they are well on their way to achieving. They have almost hit their target of 0% textile waste to landfill and are next turning their attention to reducing their non-textile waste. This demonstrates their sustainability leadership in the fashion industry, always striving to be better; it truly is embedded deep within their DNA as a brand. In 2021, in recognition of everything they do in the sustainability space, Untouched World. became a B Corp. This certification is only achieved by reaching high standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to use business as a force for good.

So next time you’re in Christchurch’s northwest suburbs, be sure to stop in at Untouched World’s flagship in Burnside, where you can browse their full collection and bonus points they have an onsite cafe, the Untouched World Kitchen.

Nifty

Stay and explore key icon. Fashion key icon. Markets key icon.

306 Cashel Street, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

When it comes to sustainability, the fashion industry doesn’t have the best reputation for being earth-friendly… except when it comes to second-hand clothing stores. Inhabiting a bright pink building on the edge of Christchurch’s city centre, Nifty is one such store. Owner Rosie first launched Nifty as a market with the goal of making second-hand shopping more accessible and fun for young people in the city. Fast forward a few years, and she is proud of what they have achieved in the second-hand clothing space, particularly when it comes to the circular aspects of consignment.

Not only do they encourage people to shop second-hand but they love when their customers sell their clothes through Nifty as well. This generates a kind of swap of sorts, and Rosie and her team love finding a piece of clothing a new home with a customer they know will treasure a ‘new to them’ item. It’s also a cool way of buying and supporting local (even if originally the clothing was made elsewhere), as Nifty is locally owned, and most of the sellers are locals too. When you’re next clearing out your closet and contemplating what to do with items that no longer spark joy for you, take them along to Nifty and you might just find a new piece to shine bright in your wardrobe.

Prima Roastery

Cafes key icon. Goods key icon.

387 Brougham Street, Sydenham, Christchurch

Prima Roastery was established in Ōtautahi back in 1995, and since then, it has grown to be one of the city’s most popular coffee roasters. Their cafe and roastery on Brougham Street is just the spot to meet up with friends and enjoy your chosen cup of caffeination or to pick up a bag of beans for your at-home brewing needs. As the first coffee roastery in the country to adopt compostable packaging (despite the financial cost), Prima has always led the way when it comes to sustainability in Aotearoa’s coffee industry. They are so passionate about making environmental and ethical choices they put together a sustainability report to reflect on what they have achieved in this space and what more they are striving to do.

One of their biggest achievements to date has been their adoption of compostable packaging and working for over a decade to find viable options to process this packaging on a larger commercial scale. Working with local partners, they now have a system in place and collection points at cafes and businesses throughout the city where you can take your compostable packaging. Prima is always looking ahead and setting ambitious targets and goals for themselves when it comes to sustainability. This includes increasing their proportion of certified Fairtrade coffee, upgrading their recycling service to include a dedicated soft plastic recycling bin and looking to undertake some form of carbon offsetting. Prima’s ‘Earth First’ approach and focus on sustainability is aspirational, and on top of all that, their coffee hits the spot every time. 

Grater Goods

Cafes key icon. Goods key icon.

105 Orbell Street, Sydenham, Christchurch

Vegan deli and bistro Grater Goods is part of the growing food scene scattered around Sydenham and was born out of a desire to provide delicious plant-based kai. The husband and wife team, Youssef and Flip, are the heart and soul behind the operation and sustainability is a core part and consideration when it comes to every decision they make at Grater Goods. They believe in the power of plant-based choices to combat climate change and want to reach not only vegans with their food philosophy but also expand others’ perspectives and choices. At Grater Goods, they have embraced a circular business model to minimise their waste. They have embraced food reduction apps such as Food Print and also donate to local food banks. They are always looking at ways to optimise their footprint and are investigating replacing or phasing out their takeaway cups.

Whether you pop in to peruse their deli or sit down for a meal, Grater Goods delivers on its promise of top-notch plant-based food. You can enjoy it knowing how many other earth-friendly measures it has in place.

Bonobo Café

Cafes key icon.

25 Marriner Street, Sumner, Christchurch

One of the city’s other plant-based hotspots, Bonobo Café is found in the seaside suburb of Sumner and they are no stranger to making environmentally friendly business decisions. For starters, their food philosophy focuses on having a 100% vegan menu and with dishes as delicious as theirs, even the most carnivore-loving among us will enjoy a meal at Bonobo. The creativity in the kitchen demonstrates that plant-based doesn’t mean boring, all the while having less impact on the planet. As owner Annelies explains, sustainability is at the heart of how they operate and is the common thread running through their business.

They have an extensive list of environmental measures that are a part of their day-to-day operation. This includes using all their green waste and coffee grounds to create healthy soil for the local community garden, He Mare Kai, all of their takeaway packaging is compostable, and the tetrapaks they use are collected by All Good employees to be processed into building materials at Saveboard. It’s not always the easiest or most financially-friendly way to run a business, but in their minds, it’s the only way and respecting our environment will pay off far more in the end.

The lush interior of a hotel living room with green painted walls.

Eliza’s Manor

In the heart of Ōtautahi on Bealey Ave is a grand old manor house that has stood for over 150 years. Eliza’s Manor is grand, ornate and perfectly preserved, yet simultaneously, the owners ensure that sustainability influences their business decisions at every level. Whether this be maintaining on-site gardens and beehives to sourcing the very best local and organic produce for their restaurant, they believe they have a responsibility to minimise their environmental impact as much as they possibly can.

Eliza’s is certified carbon positive, meaning that they offsite more emissions than they create, which is pretty impressive! This is thanks to several initiatives they have in place, including water-saving measures, supporting local farmers, reducing single-use plastics, and their power supply is with Ecotricity, New Zealand’s first and only Toitu climate-positive certified electricity generated from wind, hydro and solar. They are also part of Hotel Weka, which is an end-to-end recycling program that manages any bathroom bottles or tubes left behind and they provide guests with an electric car charging station. This is just the tip of the iceberg for Eliza’s and their sustainability efforts; impressive is definitely an understatement.

Christchurch Adventure Park

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225 Worsleys Road, Cracroft, Christchurch

Christchurch Adventure Park is one of the jewels in Christchurch’s crown for outdoor activities and celebrating the best nature has to offer us. As such, CAP (as it’s fondly referred to) feels a strong responsibility to preserve and protect the environment they inhabit and their commitment to sustainability shapes everything from their daily operations to long-term strategic planning. The Adventure Park has teamed up with several different partners and organisations on several initiatives that champion sustainability and they are proud of their achievements to date in this space.

CAP are dedicated to biodiversity conservation, their most recent partnership with Opawaho Heathcote River Network, ECan and Christchurch City Council has been working on stream remediation for the Cashmere Stream. They have also worked with Meridian Energy, the Christchurch Foundation, and Sustainable Coastlines to reintroduce the Tūī bird to the region. On top of initiatives such as these, in their day-to-day, they have a recycling commitment in place to ensure they minimize waste as much as possible. The Christchurch Adventure Park is always striving to do more and aims to lead by example in sustainable tourism, which we think they are certainly achieving. 

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Outdoor seating at Hotel Montreal on a sunny day.
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The counter at Prima Roastery.
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Cafes key icon. Goods key icon.

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Restaurants key icon.

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