James Rus­sell El­e­ment ed­i­tor

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The NZI Na­tional Sus­tain­able Business Net­work Awards last week was, once again, a truly in­spir­ing evening of learn­ing about New Zealand’s most eco-friendly and so­cially con­scious en­ter­prises.

It demon­strates each year that com­merce and car­ing for the planet and its in­hab­i­tants need not be mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive.

The awards came hard on the heels of the China-US cli­mate change agree­ment an­nounced at the G20 Sum­mit in Aus­tralia, which will see China’s emis­sions peak by 2030 while US emis­sions will fall by up to 28%.

The sig­nif­i­cance of the an­nounce­ment com­ing dur­ing the G20 Sum­mit – a gath­er­ing de­signed not for dis­cussing cli­mate change is­sues but rather eco­nomic growth – sig­nals that the two is­sues can­not be sep­a­rated. In­deed neo-lib­eral pol­i­tics, free-trade agree­ments and global trade or­gan­i­sa­tions have done much to scup­per cli­mate change pol­icy, so for Barack Obama to in­sist that it be raised at such a gath­er­ing is hugely en­cour­ag­ing.

Mean­while John Key is in dan­ger of be­ing put into the bad boy cor­ner with Aussie Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bot, for his woe­ful record of in­ac­tion on cli­mate change and the dis­abling of our emis­sions trad­ing scheme. He cer­tainly won’t have any­thing to boast about dur­ing his next round of golf with the US Pres­i­dent.

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