Why the Ministry of Economic Development is passionate about sustainability
The Ministry of Economic Development's overall aim is to help develop an internationally-competitive and sustainable economy. Sustainability is therefore central to the work the Ministry does.
The Ministry has a key role in meeting the Government's objective for sustainable economic, regional and industry development, by helping create an environment where New Zealand firms can operate sustainably, and use environmental integrity for competitive advantage.
The Ministry of Economic Development is also one of six lead agencies - along with Treasury, Ministry for the Environment, Department of Conservation, Inland Revenue and Ministry of Health - taking part in the Carbon Neutral Public Sector programme. The Carbon Neutral Public Service programme aims to demonstrate government leadership on sustainability by reducing government's environmental impact with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2012.
The Ministry's achievements, from a sustainable point of view
Through the advice and services it provides, the Ministry aims to help New Zealand firms to continue to benefit from New Zealand's "clean and green" reputation in world markets, and to capture new opportunities for growth based on smart, innovative and business-savvy responses to environmental issues.
Over the past year, for instance, the Ministry worked on developing an eco-verification programme - a practical toolkit that firms can use to measure and reduce their environmental footprints in a sustainable and cost effective manner.
Other work included: helping develop a web-based eco-label directory; new product specifications for Environmental Choice New Zealand; a comprehensive range of environmental management tools for firms to measure and reduce environmental impacts; and greenhouse gas measurement and management methodologies in the seafood and tourism sectors. The Ministry also provided advice on the development of a voluntary market for carbon.
The Ministry's future plans in sustainability
Sustainable business is one of the Ministry's strategic priorities for the next few years. The Ministry will focus on:
• ensuring New Zealand firms are able to use a range of effective environmental management tools to measure and promote their environmental integrity in world markets
• ensuring that government, through its procurement requirements and decisions, encourages suppliers to incorporate sustainability into their goods and services
• supporting sustainable tourism in New Zealand, through leadership of the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015
• ensuring that government's engagement with business on sustainability issues reflects business needs.
The Ministry will also focus on reducing its own environmental footprint. As part of this, it has created a carbon emissions reduction plan to identify and record opportunities and initiatives that help to reduce emissions. For more information on the Ministry's future plans in sustainability, please see the Ministry's carbon reduction plan: www.med.govt.nz/cnps
Why the Ministry of Economic Development supports the SBN Awards
The Ministry seeks to help New Zealand firms, particularly those in key export sectors, to derive business benefits from sustainability practices, with a focus on improved environmental management.
The Ministry supports the SBN Awards, which recognise New Zealand companies that are introducing sustainability practices into their businesses.