Poll Gives Green Light: Business Backs Sustainability Should Our Government Throw Its Purchasing Power Behind Companies That Embrace Sustainable Practice? Yes, Says a Recent NZ Management/ShapeNZ Business Poll

Article excerpt

It seems there is a bunch of business decisionmakers who agree with Prime Minister Helen Clark that sustainability is essential across the whole economy to help manage climate change and protect New Zealand's trading position.

What's more they believe green consumerism and eco-labelling will play a major role in the future and back sustainable or 'green' procurement by government agencies--even to the extent of making this mandatory.

That's according to an online ShapeNZ Survey conducted by the NZ Business Council for Sustainable Development late last year. This aimed to determine the views of business decisionmakers about:

* the Government's recent announcement that New Zealand should aim for sustainable development and a carbon neutral economy;

* government agencies' procurement policies;

* the value of eco-labels;

* the degree to which the Government should direct its agencies to procure on 'whole of life' versus 'day-one' cost basis;

* what support there is for government involvement in promoting eco-labels on goods and services.

Results were compiled from 190 business decision-maker respondents weighted according to their party vote at the last general election to remove potential political bias from the results.

These showed sustainability as a business philosophy is now mainstream with 90 percent of respondents agreeing that sustainability is required across the whole economy--only seven percent disagreed. The majority (78 percent) believe New Zealand would be more competitive internationally if it was to become the first 'truly sustainable' country--though 31 percent saw some risk to our competitiveness in the short term.

If truly representative, the survey indicates a sea change in attitude towards planning for long-term benefits rather than short-term profit-taking and an acknowledgement by the business community of the need for government intervention to accelerate adoption of sustainable business practices.

There is overwhelming support for government procurement to be conducted on a 'whole-of-life' cost basis (89 percent). …