Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


100% Walking The Talk - Ecoman Malcolm Rands

100% Walking The Talk - Ecoman Malcolm Rands

By Ecoman Malcolm Rands

This week, the final installation of Peter Jackson’s films The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in theatres worldwide. It’s no secret that these films have a huge marketing potential for New Zealand tourism, and our ‘100% Pure’ brand has been hard at work overseas, with millions of dollars spent to put ‘destination: New Zealand’ in the eye of global audiences. Central to this image are our unique landscapes: pristine environments that promise the breath-taking raw beauty of untouched New Zealand.

But sadly, when it comes to discussing climate change and the environment, for many of us, the dollar still has the final word. It’s not that we don’t care – 99% of New Zealanders you talk to say they care about our environment, it’s just that when it comes to the perceived cost of changing our habits, people tend to shut off. ‘Nah, too expensive.’ Besides, it can be hard to feel any sense of urgency when our day-to-day lives remain much the same and, thanks to incredibly favourable geography, winds and ocean currents, the country continues to look so good.

We’re building a global perception that not only influences tourism, but our exports too. Close to a third of our GDP comes from exports, and when we sell into overseas markets, we are selling more than just a product; we are selling a dream. When you ask people on the streets of New York what they think of New Zealand, they say things like: ‘One of the cleanest, greenest countries around.’ They use words like ‘nature’, ‘forests’, ‘trees’, ‘ecology’. It’s what we are known for, and continue to reinforce. So long as we can keep that image, we can bank on it.

However, despite having so much at stake economically, we’re doing precious little to safeguard it. Deep sea oil drilling, frack mining, river contamination from farm runoff – these often outdated technologies and ways of thinking go ahead because of the promise of short-term dollar gain, even though they will have a negative impact long term. And it’s not just the environment that will be impacted, but also the incredibly unique opportunity we have to market ourselves to the world as brand New Zealand.

I’m not talking about about obstructing people or progress, but about instilling a culture of longer-term thinking. Already we’re drawing criticism from overseas about our ‘misleading’ 100% pure campaign being so far away from our environmental policies, and this disparity will continue to grow if we do not act. Recent difficulties, such as scare around nitrate levels found in NZ milk powder going into China has shown how fragile this image can be, and how it’s ultimately critical to the health of our economy.

Brand New Zealand is the real issue. If we continue compromising the environment and the New Zealand brand for the bottom line, for short-term cost competitiveness, it will be to the detriment not just of the planet but of our national brand and our global competitiveness too.

I firmly believe commercially-viable sustainable initiatives are integral to the future of all New Zealand business. In partnership with Vector, we recently installed 48 solar panels on the roof of the ecostore retail shop in Freeman’s Bay, which generate enough power to meet the energy needs of the building. The result is a net-zero energy commercial building – New Zealand’s first, and I’m excited about the possibilities for other businesses. We made sure we were the first to trial a system that any other small business could then follow. Now we’ve proven it works and that it’s commercially viable, so the road is open for others to take up the charge.

It’s the cumulative effect of many small changes that can make a great difference. We don’t want our landscapes to become a fiction. Our dollar and our future depends on keeping them beautiful.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Banks: Westpac Keeps Core Government Transactions Contract

The local arm of Westpac Banking Corp has kept its contract with the New Zealand government to provide core transactions, but will have to share peripheral services with its rivals. More>>


Science Investment Plan: Universities Welcome Statement

Universities New Zealand has welcomed the National Statement of Science Investment released by the Government today... this is a critical document as it sets out the Government’s ten-year strategic direction that will guide future investment in New Zealand’s science system. More>>


Scouring: Cavalier Merger Would Extract 'Monopoly Rents' - Godfrey Hirst

A merger of Cavalier Wool Holdings and New Zealand Wool Services International's two wool scouring operations would create a monopoly, says carpet maker Godfrey Hirst. The Commerce Commission on Friday released its second draft determination on the merger, maintaining its view that the public benefits would outweigh the loss of competition. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: She Means Business

As Foreman says in her conclusion, this is a business book. It opens with a brief biographical section followed by a collection of interesting tips for entrepreneurs... More>>


Hourly Wage Gap Grows: Gender Pay Gap Still Fixed At Fourteen Percent

“The totally unchanged pay gap is a slap in the face for women, families and the economy,” says Coalition spokesperson, Angela McLeod. Even worse, Māori and Pacific women face an outrageous pay gap of 28% and 33% when compared with the pay packets of Pākehā men. More>>


Housing: English On Housing Affordability And The Economy

"Long lead times in the planning process tend to drive prices higher in the upswing of the housing cycle. And those lead times increase the risk that eight years later, when additional supply arrives, the demand shock that spurred the additional supply has reversed. The resulting excess supply could produce a price crash..." More>>


Get More From Scoop

Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news