Peter’s win-win for New Zealand’s economy and environment

By - Wayne Linklater 14/08/2013

There is more to Peter’s complaint about ‘100% Pure New Zealand’ advertising than meets the eye. His action has long-term economic, environmental and social ramifications for our nation.

His is not just a petty squabble over the semantics of wording in advertising. Peter’s action is a tool for adding value to New Zealand‘s economy and society as well as its environment.

Consider this…

If Peter wins his case before the Advertising Standards Authority he is, in essence, restricting the supply of New Zealand’s environmental brand amongst our businesses and industry to manipulate its value. Making it harder for business to use environmental branding is likely to increase the value of brandNZ with positive outcomes for our economy and environment.

Supply & Demand economy for brandNZ

In the market place of good and valuable marketing ideas, the harder it is to claim environmental credentials, the more valuable the credential is to business and our economy. The higher the standard, the harder businesses must try to achieve environmental credentials and the more valuable they are, and so businesses are more likely to:

(1) invest in the asset that supports the brand – New Zealand’s environment  – so that they can

(2) be honest in their branding, and

(3) test the environmental branding of competitors to reduce dishonesty and cheating.

If Peter wins, therefore, it will be a win-win for the New Zealand economy and environment and ultimately our society.

Ecology of brandNZ

Our economy is a subset of New Zealand’s ecosystem. A nation’s economy cannot be sustained without natural resources. Businesses motivated by higher advertising standards to invest in and achieve higher environmental credentials – thus sustaining their environmental branding – are ultimately investing in the ecosystem that supports them, and us.

Businesses that care about their longer-term future and the future of the communities they are part of, consider themselves a part of our nation’s ecology. Those businesses will meet environmental standards at home and reap the international pay-off abroad.

Towards better environmental branding

Some will claim that a win for Peter will tarnish the ‘100& Pure NZ’ brand, utlimately reducing demand for it and its value. Or that, as a nation, we might lose that collective aspiration and identity with far-reaching negative consequences for how NZ’ers view and support the environment. This is short-term and wishy-washy thinking.

It is unlikely that NZ businesses will drop their implicit association with the NZ environment if Peter wins his case – the value of the brand may be tarnished but it is fundamentally enduring. Tourism NZ is adamant of its importance.

‘100% Pure NZ’ may eventually disappear as a brand, but it will be replaced by other, more robust environmental brands because New Zealand, especially if it addresses its declining environment, has a lot to offer the world. A win for Peter is for higher standards of environmental branding and advertising, not their absence.

Invest in brandNZ

Higher standards of environmental advertising and branding will motivate businesses to invest in the brandNZ asset – our environment. Businesses meeting higher environmental codes will be those that invest in the Reservation and Restoration of New Zealand’s environment, or Reconcile their resource needs and impacts with environmental values better. Reserve, Restore, Reconcile – a mantra for NZ businesses aiming for higher environmental and advertising standards in the same what that Reduce, Reuse and Recycle has been.

New Zealand will be a better place to live because people like Peter demanded that advertisers be honest and invest in brandNZ.

But what if Peter loses…

… my next post.

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