Sustainability report a useful step towards accurate reporting

30 Jul 2009

BusinessNZ has welcomed steps towards accurate reporting on sustainability.

Statistics NZ today published Measuring NZ's progress using a sustainable development approach, a stocktake of New Zealand’s natural and human resources.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said the report would be useful in helping to inform debate over many issues including environmental ones like energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions.

“For example, the report shows the biggest increase in emissions has come not from business, but from transport choices made by individuals.

“It also shows that business in New Zealand is using resources efficiently, with economic growth increasing at a faster rate than emissions.”

Mr O’Reilly said the data on natural resources, innovation, skills and other matters would be extremely useful for policymakers; however he expressed caution over the report’s scope and some of its indicators.

“Statistics NZ concedes that this is a developing area of statistics and this would be confirmed by many members of the BusinessNZ Sustainable Business Forum who would for example wish to see more in-depth measures for economic sustainability.

“There is also some concern at some subjective indicators such as ‘fairness’ which could be used in a rather political way. For example, increased income inequality is treated superficially as a negative result when, for example, less inequality but poor incomes for all would be more negative.

“No doubt the indicators and issues measured will be improved over time.

“Achieving robust, objective data around sustainability issues will be of immense benefit and BusinessNZ welcomes this report as a step towards that goal.”