Dr Viv Heslop

Global Lead – Built Environment Transformation


My most important skill is a passion and drive for sustainability – fueled by a deep belief that we can and must do better for the planet and in doing so, do better for people and profit.

I have chosen to use that passion in urban development and have over 20 years professional experience in strategic sustainability advisory for urban regeneration and infrastructure, directing sustainability implementation initiatives, sustainability reporting and communications, and in disaster resilience strategies.

By far and away my favourite projects are those where I have been able to bring people on a journey and influence a change in hearts and minds.  I have some amazing projects I am proud of but if I had to choose a top three it would be:

1.   Leading the development of a Corporate Responsibility Framework for an urban regeneration agency that was born from the amalgamation of a sustainability focused urban development company and a commercially savvy, profit-driven property company.  My job was to bring them together and to work collaboratively to develop a framework that they all believed in and would make them proud.  Once the framework was adopted by the Board, I led the development of a cost-benefit analysis model to ensure that the outcomes from the framework were integrated alongside commercial considerations when the Board made decisions on investment.

 2.   Developing a Maori disaster resilience work program in Auckland.  Maori – the indigenous people of New Zealand, have played a key role in a significant disasters in New Zealand, and this program is focused on building their capacity to do this to ensure the safety and welling of their whanau.

 3. Bringing together ambitious young women with a passion for climate action and experienced women who could mentor and guide them to be as successful as possible.  The resulting Auckland C40 Women4Climate initiative is a source of great pride.

My dad was a pioneer of organic farming in New Zealand, converting the traditional sheep and crop farm that had been worked by his family for decades.  His motivation to always look for ‘what was best’ and ‘what was next’ inspired me to do the same in my career.

I took up marathon running a few years ago, mainly to prove to myself that I could, but also to ensure that every year or so I got to visit an amazing city in the world that could take my breath away – both literally and figuratively.

And family time is very important to me – my husband Hamish and I have twins soon to enter their 20’s so being part of their life journey is a source of pleasure for us.

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