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Climate changing consumer demand

31 January 2007

Climate changing consumer demand

The Green Party is calling on the Government to take the lead in helping New Zealand businesses adapt to a world in which consumers will increasingly demand low carbon products.

"As we have seen this week, with Tesco's decision to label air-freighted products, climate change is beginning to impact on consumer purchasing decisions. We are facing a future where there will be less use of air freight, both because of the rising price of fuel and the impacts of climate change" Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

"Any government that wants to be carbon neutral must work with producers and exporters to measure and reduce their carbon footprint to meet consumer demands. We must also insist on whole life-cycle labelling, not just transport.

"Businesses who move early to change their production and distribution patterns and offset and reduce their carbon emissions will have a competitive edge over those that don't.

"New Zealand producers already have an advantage in that some food production here is less carbon intensive that that produced in Europe as we have less need to use extra energy to keep plants and animals housed in warmer environments.

"But there will be an adjustment period. If Government takes a lead now to help businesses re-evaluate their production and distribution methods, New Zealand can retain a competitive advantage. Grove Mill winery has shown the way in making its production system carbon neutral. Others may target markets closer to home, use ships instead of air, use all renewable energy in their production system or offset their emissions.

Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says there is no point fighting against this trend.

"Consumers who want to do their bit for climate change are increasingly going to be searching out carbon neutral food. There's no point being defensive or fighting this trend. It's far better to see this as an opportunity for New Zealand to be at the forefront of producing and distributing low impact food and for this to happen we need the Government to take the lead," Ms Kedgley says.

ENDS

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