SMC Briefing: Eco-labels – a threat to New Zealand?

An audio briefing for journalists on food miles and eco-labeling and the economic implications for New Zealand exports.

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Click the player below to play back the audio conference.


Major British supermarket chains such as Tesco are now using ‘food miles’ on food labels to measure how far a product has come and, therefore, its cost to the environment.

As interest in eco-labeling grows overseas, New Zealand exports may be threatened if consumers decide to purchase local commodities. A new report published this month by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research suggests that New Zealand’s exports to the UK, France and Germany could drop significantly if food miles preference shifts take place, with a possible drop in GDP of up to 0.24%.

* Does buying locally really protect the environment?
* Is the use of ‘food miles’ misleading?
* Will New Zealand start to lose valuable overseas markets to suppliers that are closer to hand?
* What will the overall economic impact be on New Zealand?

Join a New Zealand Science Media Centre Briefing online and hear experts discuss the issue of food miles and eco-labeling, and the likely economic impact on New Zealand.


Caroline Saunders, Professor, Director of AERU, Commerce Division, Lincoln University. Dr Caroline Saunders was appointed ONZM in the New Year Honours List for services to agricultural research, and has 20 years research expertise in the UK and New Zealand.  She has over 100 publications specialising on economic impact of policy.  Her current research specialises in economic development of New Zealand especially for the regions.

John Ballingall, Deputy Chief Executive of the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research. John Ballingall re-joined NZIER as Deputy Chief Executive in November 2008. He previously worked for NZIER between 2001 and 2005. He has experience in areas including computable general equilibrium modelling, data analysis, trade policy, economic impact studies, sustainability and transport. From February 2005 to October 2008, John was the Deputy Director of the Economic Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Notes to Editors
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