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ANZ Graduate being the change she wants to see

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”


That’s what Poppy Brinsley’s dad always told her – and she’s now putting those words into action in her role as an Analyst with ANZ’s Sustainable Finance team.


Poppy comes from an entrepreneurial family, with her pioneering businessman father Andrew bringing many of Queenstown’s best known tourist attractions to fruition.


She grew up surrounded by some of New Zealand’s most beautiful country, which instilled in her a deep appreciation for the environment, and a desire to help protect it.


Her father also taught her the values of working hard, staying focused and following dreams - but she never expected to be able to follow those dreams by working for a bank.


“I studied finance and management at the University of Auckland, because those seemed like sensible options, but I also took Environmental Science and Sustainability and Ethics papers because that’s always been a part of who I am,” Poppy says.


After completing her degree, she applied for the ANZ Graduate Programme.


“ANZ stood out for a number of reasons,” she says. “Having the biggest market share in NZ makes a difference, and I wanted to learn from the best around, with the greatest possible exposure across various sectors.


“As a Grad, you effectively hold a ‘golden ticket’ for opportunities to grow and expand your network - and that’s something I definitely wanted to take advantage of.”


After completing her time as a Graduate, she took a role as an Analyst within the growing Sustainable Finance division led by Dean Spicer, which arranges finance for initiatives that help improve environmental sustainability, support disaster resilience, increase access to affordable housing and promote financial wellbeing.


“Sustainable Finance is a fast-growing market in New Zealand, and it offers unique solutions to businesses looking to transition toward a more sustainable future,” Poppy says.



“There are so many amazing projects out there, and so many passionate people who want to make a change, but one of their biggest struggles is a lack of capital - if you’re not financially sustainable, you’re not going to be in a position to make sustainability changes anywhere else."



“As a bank, we have a significant opportunity to help businesses make those changes, and I feel very fortunate to be working in an area that combines my interests in the environment and finance, and one where I feel like I can contribute to making a real impact.


New Zealanders have so much natural beauty outside of their windows, she says, which puts us in a good position to help lead the way in protecting it.


“The image of a clean, green New Zealand is something a lot of Kiwis connect with,” Poppy says. “So I think that motivates us to reduce our impact on the environment in any way we can.”


Advocacy by powerful voices will play a part in that shift, she says, and gave the example of Sir David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg’s recent warnings about the state of our planet.


“I’ve always admired the wealth of knowledge David has around the environment and animal life, and also the mindset he has, in terms of what we need to do to change as a species to preserve those things,” Poppy says.


“Changes in consumer and investor behavior, coupled with increasing regulatory requirements, is leading to an increase in demand for capital to support sustainability initiatives, and we need to be ready to meet that demand.


“I don’t think he’s ever expressly talked about sustainable finance, but David does talk about the role the financial system has to play in protecting the environment by putting your money where your morals are, I think he would be supportive of the initiatives and the things we’re doing.”


Poppy says her ambition for the coming years is to continue to encourage Kiwis to do their bit, and to help build a more equal, sustainable Aotearoa where our people and environment can thrive.


“There’s a lot of change that needs to happen, but I think it comes down to what each of us can do on a daily basis – being aware of the impact we can have.


“That’s where the change is going to come from.”



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