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Natural Step Founder Receives Top Enviro Award

Media Release
16 June 2000

Natural Step Founder Receives Top Environment Award

The world’s largest environmental prize has been awarded to the founder of The Natural Step, Karl Henrik Robèrt, for scientifically laying out a system of planning for environmental, social and economic sustainability.

Dr Robèrt, who began developing The Natural Step in Sweden 11 years ago, will receive the Blue Planet Prize and 50million Yen at a ceremony in Tokyo in October. The award is considered to be the equivalent of the Nobel Prize, for the environment.

The Natural Step is an international science-based non-governmental organisation which provides businesses with the principles and guidance to achieve social and ecological responsibility.

Dr Lin Roberts, of The Natural Step Environment Foundation of New Zealand, said the award recognised the potential of The Natural Step (TNS) to guide businesses and organisations towards a sustainable future.

“New Zealand is one of eight countries in the world which have adopted TNS as a blueprint for global sustainability. We’re delighted that Dr Robèrt’s contribution to has been acknowledged with such a prestigious award and hope that it will encourage more businesses to address social and environmental issues, as well as their economic performance.”

“The success of The Natural Step and the planet relies heavily on those far-sighted organisations who come to see that it is in their own interest to incorporate sustainability into their business agenda. Once companies recognise that becoming more sustainable is not only a necessity, but presents great opportunities, they usually begin taking small, and sometimes very big, steps towards their goal. The returns are to the triple bottom line - not only improved financial performance and sustainability, but also more progress to ecological and social sustainability.”

In New Zealand TNS is establishing a group of Pathfinder organisations to which are implementing follow the TNS philosophy. These organisations include the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, Landcare Research, Macpac, Tait Electronics and the Christchurch City Council. Companies which have already started to implement TNS principles include The Warehouse and Auckland-based Phoenix Organics, Ravensdown Fertiliser and Tait Electronics.

Karl-Heinrik Robèrt is a medical doctor and former cancer specialist who developed TNS out of concern for the way environmental degradation was impacting on the health of human and animal cells. In collaboration with other researchers he developed the four “system conditions” of TNS, which focus on the rate of extraction of resources from the Earth, the concentration of man-made substances, degradation of the physical environment and the social needs of the world’s population. Dr Robèrt intends to donated the prize to a fund to promote international co-operation in line with The Natural Step philosophy.
Further information: Dr Lin Roberts
The Natural Step Aotearoa New Zealand
Phone 03 332 0174

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