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NZ Environmental Agency Tops Global Study

NZ Environmental Agency Tops Global Study

A global study commissioned by the British Government has named New Zealand’s official ecolabelling agency as a world leader.

The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has analysed 207 worldwide standards for measuring environmental sustainability of products. It marked the robustness of standards, the range of criteria applied, and methodology. The study scored organisations for open and thorough consultation in developing standards, the frequency of updating them, the strength of evidence collected, and the use of whole-of-lifecycle considerations.

Two of the world’s best-known and most comprehensive ecolabels, the Nordic Swan and Germany’s Blue Angel, were chosen along with the EU Flower. Fairtrade and Energy Star were other agencies selected as world leaders in the areas of food and office IT equipment. When it came to the selection of a world-class authority, using furniture and paper as representative standards, Environmental Choice New Zealand was assessed as “best practice” internationally, and the example worth following by the UK government.

General manager of the label, Robin Taylor, says this is of such significance that it uplifts our country’s whole environmental reputation. “This puts Environmental Choice on the map with organisations that are legendary for their commitment, their standards and depth of authority, and whose breadth of environmental certification shows the way forward. It’s very encouraging that New Zealand’s official ecolabel outperforms international benchmarks. The Ministry for the Environment, which owns the label, has much to be proud of in Environmental Choice and the independent trust set up to administer it.”

Not all ecolabels display the same robustness as Environmental Choice, says Robin Taylor. “This is an issue internationally, where market-driven private enterprise companies sometimes try to offer much less thoroughly substantiated “certifications”.

“It is not sufficient to just put ticks in boxes and hold that up as some kind of environmental proof. Without peer reviews, third-party verified published standards, open industry consultation, and ultimately committed and innovative producers, the ‘box tick’ mentality has little chance of any really valid certification of sustainability that could be recognised internationally.

“The Environmental Choice process has been proven by this UK study to be tough, true, and transparent. It is gratifying to know we have been selected among the world’s best.”

A record number of companies (25) is presently registered and undergoing the assessment process for certification by Environmental Choice New Zealand.


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