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Kiwi employers among least environment conscious

Media release 23 June 2008

Kiwi employers among least environmentally conscious

In another blow for New Zealand’s clean, green image, an international survey has revealed its employers are among the least environmentally conscious in the developed world.

The survey of almost 2300 HR managers across 17 countries by international recruitment agency Robert Half saw New Zealand employers rated as one of the two least green, with only Germany scoring worse in any area of environmental consciousness.

The survey found just 29% of New Zealand employers had any environmental or ‘green’ policies/activities in place, compared with an average of 42% across all 17 countries. Only Germany scored worse, at 26% and New Zealand was beaten by countries such as Brazil (37%), Australia (50%) and Singapore (53%).

Luxembourg had the highest proportion of employers with environmental policies or activities (80%).

More New Zealand HR managers than average said their employers were discussing such a policy, but 12% said they had no intention of introducing green policies (global average 10%) and 15% said they had no green policies for some other reason (global average 13%).

At just 8% New Zealand had the lowest proportion of companies that included environmental issues in their financial reporting (global average 18%). Highest place went to Brazil, with 33% of companies reporting on environmental issues.

More than a quarter of New Zealand HR managers (28%) believed their companies should not even try to recognise the impact of environmental issues in their financial reporting, compared with a global average of 19%.

And New Zealand scored worst-equal with the Netherlands for the number of HR managers who believed going green improved a company’s image among investors and potential investors. In both countries, 33% said “no, it did not”, or “no it definitely did not” improve a company’s image. The global average was 23%, and Brazil and Luxembourg scored best with just 9% giving a negative answer.

Steve McGowan, division director of Robert Half Technology in Auckland, said implementing environmentally conscious policies did not have to be difficult, and could actually save organisations money.

“For example, when Robert Half asked organisations with environmental policies or practices in place what they were doing, 87% of employers in Luxembourg had paperless offices, 85% of them had recycling programmes, 78% used recycled paper goods, 77% had energy conservation policies and 43% had fuel conservation policies.

“Many of these measures actually save organisations money, as well as being good for the environment, showing that going green can be good for the bottom line.”

The Robert Half workplace survey was carried out online and by telephone questioning, from February 21 to April 4 this year. Countries surveyed for environmental consciousness were: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Spain, Switzerland, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Singapore.


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