Pure Advantage was first established in 2008 under the name The 100% Plan, with the aim of convincing the Government that Aoteara should create an economic strategy based on low carbon industry because:
Over subsequent years, hundreds of New Zealand business leaders signed our petitions to the Government in support of this strategy and we produced much research in support, identifying sectors where Aotearoa had core strengths and methods by which we could achieve our goals.
By 2011, Pure Advantage’s first phase of work looked at green growth opportunities for Aotearoa and made the case for Aotearoa joining the global “green race”.
In 2011, Pure Advantage commissioned research by Vivid Economics (London) and the University of Auckland Business School to survey the global green growth situation and identify New Zealand’s best opportunities in this arena. The initial result – New Zealand’s Position in the Green Race – used existing local and international examples to focus attention on how the private sector has a large and very important role to play in driving green growth.
A second macroeconomic report – Green Growth: Opportunities for New Zealand – expanded upon the opportunities identified in the earlier research, marrying the key economic advantages New Zealand enjoyed with areas of environmental performance that needed improvement. It showed that we can have the best of both worlds – but it will require leadership from our big businesses and politicians, significant investment and decisive policy change to achieve this.
This work informed our subsequent strategy and corporate engagement. A Race Plan was then formulated which grouped economic opportunities and work streams around seven distinct Advantages which have continued to evolve.
Together, these Advantages tether New Zealand’s social foundations with the technical priorities that will guide Aotearoa through the economic reverberations of Covid-19, reverse the destabilising effects of biodiversity loss and climate change, safeguard our wellbeing, and future-proof our industries in the global race to decarbonise.
Our media platform enables us to publish dynamic content in the form of research and campaigns relating to each of the advantages. Beyond simply promoting opportunities, this online content has sought to foster debate and catalyze action.
Our research has encompassed several substantial projects, including;
An Idea Whose Time Has Come (2015) looks at prefabricated homes as an environmentally focused design and supply solution to New Zealand’s housing issues.
Our Forest Future (2016) is a comprehensive discussion paper that identifies the economic and environmental benefits that will accrue from expanding our forests – in particular, native forests – and details a strategic framework by which these benefits might be achieved. The paper has helped pave the way for the Trees That Count movement that aims to amplify and count native tree planting in New Zealand. Pure Advantage was a founding partner for the initiative and as part of the advisory board helped successfully secure $7 million in Regional Growth Funds to scale the program.
Pure Advantage was a member of the Joint Project Committee behind the release of Net Zero New Zealand (2017), a report that identifies several domestic emission reduction scenarios through which New Zealand can meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement. The report was authored by London-based Vivid Economics under contract to GLOBE-NZ, the national chapter of GLOBE-International – a worldwide association of parliamentarians working to protect and improve the environment.
To help make climate change an election issue, Pure Advantage conducted a Climate Survey (2017) of 1000 New Zealanders that revealed one in five felt the target (of a 30% reduction below 2005 levels by 2030) should go higher. Interestingly, this view was more prevalent among young New Zealanders, with one in three Kiwis under 25 wanting New Zealand to accelerate our efforts or set higher targets. Furthermore, those under 25 were significantly more likely to agree that measurement of economic growth in New Zealand (GDP) should include the impact of growth on the environment. Taken together, these generational variances provide evidence of an ideological shift in our thinking around climate change.
The Financing The Future (2018) looks into how business can direct capital to enterprises that generate social or environmental benefits along with a financial return. In other words, marrying a commercial business model with a social or environmental agenda to achieve broader measurable outcomes.
Our Regenerative Future (2020) describes the principles of a regenerative economy with a particular focus on our agricultural sector. It highlights the recognition that conventional methods of farming, while efficient at maximising production, are doing a great deal of harm. The project grew out of Pure Advantage’s ongoing interest in the global soil carbon sequestration movement and how it presents an opportunity to spur Aotearoa’s climate change solutions in the medium term. Regenerative agriculture is best described as a series of farming practices that have soil health and soil carbon at their heart. By farming in a way that supports ecosystems, yields can be increased, biodiversity promoted and potentially, CO2 removed from the atmosphere and stored indefinitely. Understanding how soil carbon fits into the climate picture is pivotal for targeting the most effective climate solutions, as just a 1% increase in soil carbon could potentially offset all current emissions in New Zealand.
O Tātou Ngāhere (Our Forest) is a campaign to ensure native forests are integrated into our whenua for the benefit of all. The project is a collaboration with the world leading foresters and scientists of Tāne’s Tree Trust that champions the valuable role native forest can play in the future of forestry in Aotearoa. The campaign explores the opportunities and challenges related to weaving more native forest into the landscape. It is a comprehensive and dynamic media project aimed at a wide audience that includes the general public, landowners and stakeholders, regulators, policy-makers and politicians.
Given the current unprecedented rates and scales of political, environmental and economic change, Pure Advantage understands the requirement for flexibility and responsiveness in its work programme. While the seven Advantages will continue to inform our thinking, future activities will proceed through a targeted schedule of campaigns that respond to opportunities and developments as they arise.