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Country needs to work together and clean up its act

13 August, 2013

Country needs to work together and clean up its act

New Zealand’s 100% Pure branding is too valuable to get rid of so the country needs to clean up its act and live up to its promises, a University of Waikato senior academic says.

Professor Juliet Roper heads the university’s Institute of Business Research’s Sustainability Research Group and says while the 100% Pure brand is invaluable, it was also vulnerable.

“We’ve seen it teetering but we’ve always managed to get away with it,” she says.

“This time it’s exploded.”

Professor Roper says the Fonterra infant formula scandal was an accident waiting to happen and “if it wasn’t them it would be someone else”.

The trouble was that Fonterra was so large with such a broad international reach.

“Any food company could have something go wrong and it impacts on the company and the country.”

Professor Roper is the lead researcher on a $773,000 Marsden Fund project looking at the vulnerability of New Zealand’s global environmental positioning.

The 100% Pure brand, she says, is too valuable to drop and provides too many benefits to New Zealand.

The challenge was living up to the slogan, and that takes commitment from the Government, along with industry.

“All the research says if you want brand a country you‘ve got to have all sectors on board. You can’t have one sector not doing it and the Government has to be included.”

But that’s not happening, Professor Roper says

“We have a Government that is quite happy to use the brand but not back it up in practice. There have been a succession of policies coming from them that are not taking the environment into account.”

The brand would continue to suffer “if we don’t do something as a nation to really make sure we can stand up to scrutiny and clean up our act”.

“I think we have got to clean up our act, it’s too valuable not to do it. Primary produce and tourism both benefit from it.”

She says proactive measures being taken by some industries can be undermined when other industries and the Government are not working to the same overall plan.

“We come across some positive initiatives. The wine industry is working to set up its own sustainability credentials and is working to build their brand. It’s for them but it’s reliant on the national brand and it is hurt by this. That’s why I say you have to have everyone working towards the same thing.”

ENDS

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