The Ex­port Op­por­tu­nity

Element - - The Blue Economy - Mal­colm Rands, founder of Eco­s­tore

I’m go­ing to be ex­tremely bold here and make a pre­dic­tion that by 2050 NZ will have the high­est Gen­uine Progress In­di­ca­tor (GPI) in the world. By that time GDP will have long gone the way of the di­nosaur. NZ will be an ex­am­ple for the rest of the world and Ki­wis will go out and part­ner with peo­ple from around the world that re­quest our knowl­edge.

And how will we have done this? By fo­cus­ing on the crit­i­cal things the world needs, and which we are in a unique po­si­tion to of­fer.

For ex­am­ple, there is a grow­ing de­mand around the world for healthy food. New Zealand will be util­is­ing land prac­tices that use the lat­est tech­nolo­gies such as us­ing biochar to su­per fer­tilise the soils.

Be­cause we will be re­ly­ing on the Pre­cau­tion­ary Prin­ci­ple, there will be no place for the use of GM tech­nol­ogy to cre­ate com­mod­ity food items. Our food will be the safest, the purest and, of course, the most de­li­cious; the very def­i­ni­tion of qual­ity.

Eco­s­tore has been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dou­ble-digit growth for many years now based on our guid­ing mis­sion, to make it easy for our cus­tomers to make a dif­fer­ence to their own health and to the planet. We have found this res­onates with our neigh­bours in Aus­tralia and Asia just as much as it does here at home. Of course the value propo­si­tion has to be there. Our prod­ucts have to work and cost the same as the multi­na­tion­als but that is now pos­si­ble with ad­vances in plant-based chem­i­cals.

In­ter­na­tion­ally, the fastest grow­ing com­pa­nies are more open and au­then­tic, they have an ex­plicit mis­sion. They treat all the stake­hold­ers as win/win part­ners and in­vest in the com­mu­ni­ties in which they op­er­ate.

So how do we make this pre­dic­tion a re­al­ity? Do we use a car­rot or a stick?

We first need to get rid of the mind­set that we must choose be­tween the en­vi­ron­ment or the econ­omy.

The en­vi­ron­ment is the econ­omy. With­out the en­vi­ron­ment there is no busi­ness. Our ‘nat­u­ral cap­i­tal’ – what we get from na­ture for free – is un­der­val­ued. The coun­try which solves this co­nun­drum will have an ad­van­tage over the rest of the world.

We may need a stick to flush out the ‘vested in­ter­ests‘ which are try­ing to pre­vent the in­evitable slide of their bal­ance sheet into stranded as­sets – as is al­ready hap­pen­ing with brown coal.

I be­lieve the anti-smok­ing cam­paign has shown the way. If an ac­tion af­fects the whole com­mu­nity and the true cost of this is not re­flected in the price of a prod­uct then add a tax to re­flect this. I would then lower per­sonal PAYE to make it a zero game rather than pro­mote rev­enue gath­er­ing for govern­ment.

NZ has an ex­cit­ing fu­ture as long as we grab the op­por­tu­ni­ties that are out there.

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