INTOUCH: Officials Urge Business to Demand Answers

New Zealand businesses must demand clear explanation of how the Government will create low-carbon economic future for New Zealand, says Achim Steiner, the executive director of the United Nations’ Environment Programme which leads the international response to climate change.
He was at events in Auckland and Wellington last month to launch World Environment Day.
“I urge New Zealand businesses to take leading role in demanding action on climate change and carbon emissions,” he told the audience at New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development breakfast in Auckland. “You can invent different economy for the future but you will not succeed unless your politicians create the right public policy framework.”
As UN official, Steiner does not comment on local politics but his message that New Zealand has chance to bring this issue to the forefront in an election year, was clear. He said one reason behind business’ frustration with the climate change issue is lack of certainty surrounding regulatory frameworks.
Steiner is one of the world’s foremost voices on climate change and measures that business can introduce to mitigate the effects on the environment.
He said the world is on the verge of moving towards greener economy and challenged New Zealand to take leading role. “Our challenge is not to allow some sectors of our economy to hold back progress but to address the challenges of those sectors,” Steiner said. “We spend so much time [arguing] over an issue which ultimately we are bound together to address collectively.”
California Governor Arnold Schwar­zenegger made video-link appearance at the breakfast, adding his voice to the push for change. He told the audience the environmental movement is switching over from being powered by guilt to being powered by something much more positive, something much more dynamic, something much more capable of bringing about revolutionary change – innovation.
“The challenge is that the business leaders are facing tremendous challenges to seize the opportunity and I want to challenge all of you to seize this opportunity to be part of that revolution. That is the important thing. I know that we have the power and we have the ingenuity and we have the will to protect the economy while fighting global warming,” Schwarzenegger said.
He said California stands ready to help and to share expertise and opportunities.
“We are ready to serve you and we are ready to do any­thing we can to help other countries. Just let us know what we can do. You know how to get hold of us.”

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