Meet Tom Hyland

Sustainability Graduate, Climate Risk Team, Fonterra

I grew up in Auckland and I'm someone who is happiest at the beach, in the ocean, on a mountain, fishing and boating on the lake. I think growing up doing so much of that has built a real appreciation of the natural environment and the give and take of how we interact with the environment and how the environment affects us.

Also, I love sport. I love contributing to a team whether it be socially like in the Fonterra touch team, or more competitively in basketball, or improving my golf handicap.

I’m stoked to share that I’ve been selected for the Aotearoa Circle’s Rangatahi Advisory Panel.

The Aotearoa Circle works with public and private organizations to restore New Zealand's natural capital and to drive sustainable prosperity for future generations.

The Panel has been created for rangatahi (young people) with the belief that as the inheritors of the future, we need to have a voice now, and be involved with today’s decisions with the organizations that shape our future.

The Aotearoa Circle provides sector-wide mitigation and adaptation roadmaps. So, part of the role is to help integrate rangatahi insights into these work streams and the work of our leading partners, such as Fonterra, and support them to progress their sustainability journey.

There are eight youth members representing some of New Zealand's largest and key businesses (Manatū Mō Te Taiao - Ministry for the Environment, Silver Fern Farms, Westpac, Fonterra, Mercury, Te Papa Atawhai – Department of Conservation, ANZ, Genesis). It’s proven time and time again that younger generations offer an unbridled view of what's possible and new dynamic ways to deliver.

I hope we can develop a proven and accepted pathway for emerging generations to be able to effectively challenge the status quo on climate change and other environmental issues such as the biodiversity crisis.

These are some of the most pressing issues of our time. It’s critical emerging generations have a seat at the table to drive change and shape the future.

I’m currently in the Climate Risk team, on my third rotation within the Fonterra business grad program. I'm quite fortunate to be the first sustainability graduate at the Co-op and hopefully the first of a long line. I started off in corporate sustainability where I built some base knowledge across Fonterra sustainability policy initiatives and the challenge the Co-op faces, but also the real ability to deliver against that challenge.

I then moved into sustainability performance and reporting where I built an understanding of the numbers that really count in this challenge. I'm now in the climate risk space where we're aiming to deliver our first mandatory climate risk disclosure which is a new requirement for large New Zealand companies. Our deadline for delivery is the first in the world, and it's a really fascinating way to view business.

It essentially looks at how climate change can impact our business rather than our contribution to climate change, which has been the historical way of looking at things.

I've been here for almost 18 months, but it's felt like a much longer time based on everything I've learned and how fast and evolving this space is.