Pure Advantage, a group fostering a green growth strategy for New Zealand, was launched in Auckland yesterday.

Chaired by Rob Morrison, its trustees are among some the best-known names in business: Sir George Fistonich, Rob Fyfe, Chris Liddell, Philip Mills, Jeremy Moon, Lloyd Morrison, Geoff Ross, Justine Smyth, Sir Stephen Tindall and Joan Withers.

It's looking to sign up members - thousands, preferably - on the grounds that the more it has, the more likely politicians are to listen to it.

Potential supporters can find it on its website and on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube - indications that it's looking to attract a wider, and younger membership than a traditional business organisation.

New Zealand's clean, green brand is valuable but vulnerable, given the gap between rhetoric and reality, Rob Morrison says. "We can't afford to let our reputation, and consequently our exporters, suffer for lack of environmental leadership.

"Nor should we miss the opportunity that the global shift to green growth represents for a country like New Zealand."

Green growth is a far wider concept than the search for new technologies to generate power, propel vehicles, heat and cool buildings and so on.

It's also about improving the efficiency with which resources like energy and water are used, and raising the environmental credentials of entire supply chains.

Having worked in Asia, Morrison sees opportunities in China for New Zealand expertise in irrigation, for example.

Pure Advantage plans to commission an economic study to define the opportunities for green growth in this country, and to highlight the threats of inaction.

Once the business case has been proved, a "road map for change" will follow.

"We don't pretend to have all the answers but hope by opening the debate, funding research and discussion, we can help New Zealanders to a broad agreement on the best way forward," he said.

Meanwhile the Government's Green Growth Advisory Group - itself the product of lobbying by some of the Pure Advantage trustees - is seeking feedback to an issues paper released this week.

It too recognises threats to the clean, green brand: "New Zealand will only benefit from an image and reputation that is grounded in the reality of practices and outcomes. Brands, generally, need to be authentic or they can backfire".

The taskforce, chaired by Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly, has a particular focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

"As New Zealand's larger exporters are dependent on SMEs for production inputs, demand for greener [products] will drive down to those SMEs. Those not able to meet new requirements flowing through supply chains are likely to lose business," the issues paper says.

The new era will not bring risks but opportunities, not only in reduction of carbon emissions but also in areas such as waste management and water conservation.

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