Hon Lianne Dalziel

Minister of Commerce 13 February, 2007 Media Statement

Government to buy eco-friendly goods and services

Businesses that provide sustainable goods and services are set for a major boost following the announcement of new government procurement policies, Commerce Minister Lianne Dalziel said today.

The policies – announced in Prime Minister Helen Clark’s statement to Parliament – will see the government using its purchasing power to grow the market for environmentally friendly products including paper, cleaners, plastics and fuel efficient vehicles. In addition, public service departments will be required to create more sustainable workplaces including greater use or renewable energy and recycling.

The government also intends to increase the number of products that carry the Environmental Choice NZ ecolabel to assist departments in implementing the new policy and encourage more suppliers to adopt sustainable practices.

“Central government is the biggest purchaser in New Zealand in a wide range of sectors, including IT equipment, buildings, and office supplies with an annual procurement budget of $6 billion,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“Sustainable public purchasing will provide significant market opportunities for New Zealand companies, encourage technological innovation and help to create new export opportunities.

“This government has always acknowledged its fiscal and environmental responsibilities and the new initiatives will build on the existing Govt3 Programme that has started guiding government agencies in operating more sustainably.”

The policies will be designed to enhance the existing Govt3 Programme, promote government leadership in sustainable business practice and address the main barriers previously identified including the need for leadership, information and resources.

“The aim of the new programme will be to deliver direct environmental benefits in a cost-effective way and encourage opportunities for New Zealand sustainable businesses.”

Elements of the new initiative will include: clear and measurable minimum sustainability standards for core agencies when spending public money and eventual expansion of the Govt3 Programme to the wider state sector.

Full details of the government’s new procurement policies will be announced later in the year and in Budget 2007.

For more information on Govt 3 visit: http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/sustainable-industry/govt3/

Hon David Benson-Pope

Minister for the Environment 13 February, 2007 Media Statement

Government to verify trusted eco business schemes

Business efforts to use their environmental credentials as selling points for consumers will be significantly advanced following the government’s agreement to play a bigger role in verifying environmental claims, Environment Minister David Benson-Pope said today.

In moves announced by Prime Minister Helen Clark in her statement to Parliament today, the government will expand the Environmental Choice NZ ecolabel to a wider range of products in addition to establishing a database of reliable ecolabel and standards verification schemes.

“New Zealand consumers are increasingly seeking out sustainable goods and services and businesses are keen to provide more and more of them,” David Benson-Pope said. “When a business puts a sustainable product on the market it’s important that they can use their environmental credentials as a selling point.

“But deciding which ecolabelling or standards verification scheme to use is not always straightforward. With a number of different organisations offering these services, businesses have been telling the government that it’s difficult to know which schemes are reliable.

“By expanding the government’s own Environmental Choice NZ ecolabel and setting up a database of trusted schemes, the government hopes to make it easier for all businesses to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by sustainability.”

It is expected that the new database will eventually include all products commonly purchased by businesses such as office supplies, computers and cars. The database will also provide information on environmental services such as carbon offset schemes like Landcare’s CarboNZero.

Existing ecolabels and standards, and those who want their services included, will have their claims and certifications checked before being registered on the database, which will be publicly available on the Internet.