Welcome back to our "Getting to carbon positive" podcasts series, where our leaders  discuss how our post-COVID-19 recovery and rebuild opportunities could support decarbonising New Zealand and contribute to a future of sustainable prosperity.

Make everyday better · Getting to carbon positive: Episode 10 - Social infrastructure


We’ve been talking a lot about the technical opportunities to decarbonise New Zealand post COVID-19, but one of the big challenges ahead, is how to get the organisational and societal changes we need, at the rates we need them. In this episode, we talk to Stuart Smith and Leif Klasseen about working through the COVID-19 transitions (in and out of lockdown) and what we might be able to learn from these more broadly to apply to this decarbonisation challenge. 

In this episode, you’ll hear a reference to a thought leadership series we published on what we did technically to support the healthcare response to COVID-19. Stuart follows by explaining how we were able to respond so quickly; discussing how, with COVID-19, you could clearly see what was happening with an urgency to respond coming from the highest levels - people were resourced and given targets and funding to move mountains. Whereas, climate change isn’t that visible, and you don’t see the urgency or drive from the highest levels on a daily basis. 

Schools and universities were also able to respond to COVID-19 at an incredible rate of change, setting up online learning platforms almost overnight. This has encouraged us all to think about resilience and adaptability, and we’ve seen an increase in the need for help in climate resilience. 

Leif shares his views on what the future of learning might look like, and how there is opportunity in the use of education space, with future spaces likely to be flexible to support both digital and physical learning. He mentions smart, digitally enabled and seamless online learning, technology to optimise the space used, and being efficient around capital and operational expenditure. He also talks about creating sticky campuses and spaces that align with students’ values, which is often around the need to be green and have sustainable buildings. 

If you’re interested in what the future of healthcare might look like in a decarbonised world, listen through to 6:45 where Stuart talks about developing low carbon roadmaps, the implications of which might be an increased need for electrification and flexibility. 

There is a big journey ahead of us. To discover what are some of the things you could do in 2020 to set things in motion, listen from 8:59 when we share some key things for you to consider.

For more insights, check out our full report on 'Decarbonising a prosperous New Zealand' which looks at eight key transitions that would best enable the country to rapidly shift to a low carbon economy. Or read our report on 'Social infrastrcuture'.

The full series can be viewed here:


Leif Klaassen

Principal - Project Management

View on LinkedIn
Email Leif Klaassen
Stuart Smith

Business Director – Health (Buildings)

View on LinkedIn
Email Stuart Smith