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Back to blogging, and bit on NZ and China…

Dear readers, after a three week hiatus, I’m back to blogging again.

I’ve spent a couple of wonderful weeks in New Zealand at a wedding, among other things, and a few days getting over my jet lag.

I didn’t learn that much about sustainability whilst I was away, despite seeing a fair bit of the North Island of New Zealand.

Having only four million people in a country slightly bigger than Britain means some of the pressures on the ecosystem are less.

Although of course the country is not without sustainability-related problems, and opportunities.

Public transport is not as good as it could be, so pretty much everyone needs a car. But according to the NZ Herald, there are only about 50 or so hybrid cars in the country. (They are expensive, so it’s understandable)

One thing I did hear, from a friend of mine who runs one of NZ’s bigger companies and is very well connected, is that demand for NZ packaged products, particularly some foodstuffs, has shot up since the Sanlu China milk scandal of 2008.

This is despite the fact that Sanlu had a joint venture with Fonterra, a NZ company, in China.

The reason? The emerging chinese middle class of 100-600 million (depending on how you work it out) wants to be sure certain products (such as milk, for example) are safe.

What better way to do that than to buy it from a country with some of the highest health and safety standards in the world?

Entrepreneurs in NZ are also planning to farm bluefish Tuna. Some environmental NGOs are not happy but as one businessman put it to me over a beer: “What do you want, breeding stock or empty seas?”. A good point.

Further on the topic of China, we’ve just hit print on our March 2010 edition of Ethical Corporation magazine (sign up here!).

This month we have an 8 page briefing on corporate responsibility in China. We hope it will make interesting reading.

The briefing is written by our China editor Paul French, who has been living in the country for 22 years. So he knows a thing or two about the place.

I’m spending today taping 3-4 podcasts with him, which will be available free. I’ll post the links as soon as they are live.

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