20 Nov 2016

Barry Coates: 'The government needs to step up and take action'

From Sunday Morning, 7:50 am on 20 November 2016
Barry Coates

Barry Coates Photo: Supplied

Green MP Barry Coates was a winner at this year's Sustainable Business Awards. He tells Wallace Chapman that sustainability is dramatically changing the nature of the New Zealand business sector, but our government policy urgently needs to catch up.

“What we’re seeing around the world is that there is this huge transformation going on towards electric vehicles, towards solar power, towards low-impact technologies, disruptive technologies that are really changing the nature of business” says Coates.

The baseline expectations of New Zealand companies now include responsibility, environmental commitment and care for employees, he says.

And these companies are seeing big rewards locally and internationally.

“The companies that are doing good are doing well.”

When it comes to climate change, Coates believes the world has now crossed a threshold in terms of both the impacts and an international commitment to minimising them - yet New Zealand is “one of the laggards”.

“Individuals are trying to do it, businesses are trying to do it – but actually we need government policy to catch up… There’s a lot of ways the government needs to step up and take action.”