A government-appointed advisory group has recommended the New Zealand government should develop a "a fact-based narrative" of the nation's "clean green" reputation to help exporters and other businesses secure deals abroad.
In a report released Saturday, the Green Growth Advisory Group said the government had a significant role to play in developing and protecting New Zealand's reputation as a clean and environmentally-aware nation.
A narrative would explain New Zealand's place in the world as a competitive trading nation with comparatively strong "green credentials," said the Greening New Zealand's Growth report.
The narrative would "become a valuable resource for businesspeople and others in their efforts to inform international audiences about New Zealand," said the report.
The government should also consider New Zealand's international reputation and market positioning whenever significant reforms are proposed in the regulation of foreign exchange-earning industries, it said.
The report offered 26 recommendations covering a range of industries including farming, manufacturing and resource extraction and their effects on the country's clean green reputation.
It also suggested the government should work with the tourism industry on a new strategy for positioning New Zealand strongly with high-value tourists in the greener market segment that would clearly link "clean green" country brand attributes to high- quality food and beverage production.
"Rather than the government pursuing a green growth strategy, we urge a greening of strategies in every area of government activity and throughout the business sector. Everyone can we think, should look at greening their growth and securing all the advantages of this," said the report.
"Greener growth can drive, over the long term, economic development and higher living standards. It can also bring real protection and enhancement to our environment. As markets go greener in the preferences of consumers, regulators and supply chains, there are strong economic incentives for businesses to shift further into this space. In short, green business will increasingly become better business more innovative, more competitive and more profitable."
New Zealand needed a "whole-economy approach to greener growth" that would see environmental sustainability linked to economic growth, driven by "innovation involving knowledge and technology."
Green Growth Advisory Group chairman Phil O'Reilly said it would be a mistake to think there was a special category of economic growth called "green growth."
"Instead, we should recognize and work towards the greening of all New Zealand business to best meet customers' and supply chains ' demand for sustainable products and services," O'Reilly said in a statement.
Accepting the report, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said the government saw real opportunities for New Zealand in industries such as the food and beverage industry, tourism, high-value manufacturing and services, and the petroleum and minerals sector.
"The government agrees with the report's conclusion that New Zealand needs a broad growth strategy where all sectors take into account their environmental performance rather than focusing on a few green industries," said Joyce in a statement.
Environment Minister Nick Smith said in the statement the report would "feed into New Zealand's contributions" to the OECD ( Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development) Environment Roundtable in March and the UN Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development in June, which both focused on green growth.