Establishing A Visible Environmental Rating On Retail Stores
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To the house of representatives
In order to reduce the harm done by destructive manufacturing processes, we are petitioning what there should be a mandatory rating system placed on products sold in New Zealand. This would be based on how circular the companies production processes are, how much carbon they emit during these processes, and how much they contribute to landfills.
We believe by having a rating system on products the consumer will be able to easily decide if they want to support a company based on their environmental impacts. This would be similar to the health star rating already on a lot of food products in our supermarkets. It would simplify a rather complicated and complex situation for the everyday person.
The ultimate benefits of a rating system visible on the storefront to the public will be upholding responsibility of the retailer, instant ease of education to shoppers, and less environmental damage.
It will be the first rating system compulsory in New Zealand. The time has come for businesses to become more responsible by having to declare their status so that shoppers can make informed decisions.
As of yet, people have to rely on deciphering research in order to figure out a businesses environmental rating, or read the label to find out where a clothes made. The problem with people doing research to work out how a business runs has the risk of the research being outdated, with the business not having the right chance at redemption. The problem with people reading where a product is made is because that encourages assumptious thinking about a certain country.
How the rating would work would follow this EMS system..
Our 5 stars environmental rating system are based on giving each star a categories for reducing wasted based on
1. Social Return on Investment (Such as encourage locals by rewarding customer for recycling their product).
2. Material Life Cycle such as their renovations waste will go towards recycling factories rather than the waste landfill.
3. Adaptation & Resilience in their building structure such as building are made stronger that will withstand earthquakes that might destroy the buildings.
4. Contribution towards the environment ( local business provide tools for supporting environmental organisations)
5. Circular economy is an approach to environmental sustainability characterised by the creation of economic models where no negative environmental impact is generated.
As an illustration, we can implement our rating system by looking at one of New Zealand local business such as the New World. In terms of the 5 categories in our rating system idea. New World has been rewarding its customer in the North Island New World by giving each customer 5 cents off their shop for each reusable bag used at checkout – up to a limit of 50 cents per visit (New world,2018). This would mean that New World earns a Social return investment star. Besides that, in October 2015 New World has started of soft plastic packaging recycling at stores for the first time in New Zealand which they earn a star for Material Life Cycle. In addition, the New world also earns a star for contribution towards supporting an environmental organization: sea cleaners which they provide income and tools for this environmental organization in reducing plastic bags in our ocean (New World, 2018).
There are some practicalities that need to be considered before implementing this rating system. However, the main two we have determined have ways to be mitigated.
Organisations not cooperating: Businesses may not cooperate with the rating system by manipulating the information that is used to determine their rating, doing everything in the power to not participate, or attempt legal action (similar to what happened when the Australian government implemented plain packaging of cigarettes in 2012).
One way to overcome this is to get the organisation involved in the decision making process, for example before finalisation let them have their say on which variables should be considered.
Another is implement incentive for companies that do participate and cooperate with the system. As well as for those that make changes to their environmental policies to get a better grade.
2. The immense scale of the proposal: The scale of the proposal is another problem that needs to be taken into account. Since this proposal plans to takes all businesses operating in New Zealand into account it is a massive task that cannot be implemented quickly
To overcome this we suggest implementing it in phases by the product, service or type of business category (e.g. technology, food, retail). By implementing it in phases it also allows time to iron out any unforeseen kinks in the system and reduce the pressure of implementing such a large system.
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