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Sustainability sells for kiwi companies offshore

Hon Trevor Mallard
Minister for the Environment

20 May 2008 Media Statement

Sustainability sells for kiwi companies offshore
See Trevor Mallard's speech at www.beehive.govt.nz/mallard

New Zealand is well placed to put sustainability at the heart of business thinking and decision-making and use it to gain the edge over others in the global market, Environment Minister Trevor Mallard today told delegates at the Small Business Expo in Christchurch.

"Small and medium enterprises make up 95 per cent of New Zealand business. Collectively they have a big impact," said Trevor Mallard.

"Owners of small businesses are well placed to become sustainable. They have the flexibility to adapt and respond more quickly than large companies to a changing market. They’re starting from the baseline of a smaller carbon footprint, especially if the business is based at home, and they can respond to and grow within niche markets that are much harder for large companies to exploit.

"Becoming sustainable means a business can save money by reducing its use of energy and materials. It’ll see improved value for money in its buying practices and savings in operational costs, and an enhanced reputation among its consumers who are more and more often demanding sustainable products. Sustainability can give business a competitive edge, and expand market share and bring in new customers a result.

"Many New Zealand businesses, large and small, are recognising the serious business opportunities sustainability and climate change action offers.

"Far too often the debate around climate change focuses on costs – and ignores the opportunities and the potential for New Zealand from moving onto a sustainable and carbon neutral footing. And believe me, the costs of climate change for New Zealand as a country would be much higher if we just sat back and did nothing.

"Instead our government is deliberately tackling the challenge of climate change on several fronts. As well as the Emissions Trading Scheme and the New Zealand Energy strategy, our approach involves a mix of initiatives and programmes addressing government, business and household sustainability. They involve regulation and incentives, including multimillion dollar support for research that will help New Zealand businesses along the way. Yes there is a cost, but it is affordable, and it will be managed fairly.

"Changing consumer behaviour means that New Zealand businesses do need to get real and recognise that they need to become sustainable – to remain competitive and perhaps more importantly – to gain the edge. Sustainability sells," Trevor Mallard said.


ENDS

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