NZ Scientists urge complete rethink on sustainability

sustainabilityNew Zealand’s approach to sustainability is fundamentally flawed according to a group of experts who say a radical overhaul of economic and environmental policies and practices is required to avoid a “catastrophic” future for the country.

The think tank paper, put together by Sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand with the support of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and the Tindall Foundation, calls for a move away from the Triple Bottom Line model of economic development adopted by many companies and the public sector.

“Even the most environmentally focussed policies and actions are aimed at doing no more than some good or less that is bad,” the authors write.

“The orientation and scope of all current New Zealand law and policy relating to resource management, environmental protection and management, and mitigation of climate change is in the category of weak sustainability,” they add.

Scenarios for strong sustainability including increased use of renewable energy, changes to landuse, food production and manufacturing and a renewed focus on local communities are outlined by the authors.

The report was launched at a Science Media Centre briefing held at 12pm on Thursday September 3, at the SMC headquarters in Wellington*, as well as online.

Click on the player below to listen back to the briefing. Registered journalists can log into the SMC Resource Library to download the presentations.

Part I


Part II



Bryan Gould – Chair of the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.

Dr Wayne Cartwright – Chair of Sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand, retired Professor of Strategic Management (University of Auckland), business consultant.

Dr Jane Adams – Board member SANZ, science and innovation manager.

Registered journalists can also log into the SMC Resource Library to download a copy of the paper.