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Benchmarking Tracks Environmental Responsibility

PRESS RELEASE

Corporate Benchmarking Tracks Environmental Responsibility

New Zealand companies were benchmarked on their environmental responsibility last night when the Prime Minister announced the ranking of companies on the Survey of Corporate Environmental Responsiveness.

The top five companies received the Unlimited/Massey University Corporate Environmental Awards for 2002.

The rankings were announced at a Parliamentary function hosted by Hon Steve Maharey, with Economic Development Minister, with more than 100 industry representatives in attendance.

As in 2001, the top place was taken by Watercare Services, Auckland's waste and water utility, closely followed by Coca-Cola, Sanford, Methanex and NZMP. These five companies received the Unlimited-Massey University Corporate Environmental Awards for 2002.

The annual survey, run by Massey University's Centre for Business and Sustainable Development, ranks companies on ten key parameters of environmental management. The Survey is based on the successful UK Index of Environmental Engagement, which is now employed by financial analysts in London. It tracks company progress on aspects of environmental management through a series of rigorous fixed-alternative questions, tied to internationally recognised criteria and definitions. The company Chief Executive signs off on the Survey to confirm the validity of the responses, and spot-check audits are used as a follow up on responses.

This year, the scores of the best New Zealand companies are on a par
with the best in the UK.

Prime Minister Helen Clark commented: 'The Survey plays an important
part in the debate about how companies can improve their environmental performance. It is respected by government and industry and provides New Zealand's only benchmarks for corporate environmental responsibility. It is pleasing to see some real improvements taking place.'

As in previous years, the heavy-impact industries tended to gain the
highest scores, which the Director of the Centre for Business and Sustainable Development, Delyse Springett, partly puts down to the impact that legislation and public outrage have had on industry behaviour in recent times. 'It's encouraging to see some improvement taking place in other sectors - for example, to see ASB and NZI beginning to lead the way in the banking and insurance sectors,' she says, and adds that, 'we have to bear in mind that such benchmarking of environmental management is only one small step on the way to achieving sustainable business - an essential but insufficient step in a much bigger shift.'

Ends

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