Companies make 'green' list

South Island businesses are at the top of a list of high performing green companies, according to market research.

The Mainland was represented in three of the top five companies in the New River Green 50 list, a New Zealand list of companies making money improving the environment.

The list was compiled by strategic and market research specialists New River, a New Zealand company that works with medium to larger size businesses in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany.

Christchurch-based Stonewood Homes, builder of ''green' buildings, was ranked number two on the list.

Invercargill-based Progressive Engineering, which designs and install systems to safely dispose of farm effluent, was ranked at number four, and Nelson-based home solar installation specialist Solar City was fifth on the list.

Solar City is currently installing solar systems in a large Christchurch subdivision comprising 3,500 homes.

Developed by strategic research specialists New River, the New River Green 50 list is the first of its kind in New Zealand and was developed from research within 54 sectors of the economy.

New River managing director Roger Parker said more than 150 companies that have a product, service or technology to improve the environment were considered, and those where this is over 50 per cent of their business were eligible to make the top 50 list.

They were then ranked by a mixture of revenue and growth rate, he said.

With a combined revenue of $1.1 billion, companies in the list demonstrated the value of the green economy in New Zealand.

''In doing this research, we found that the individual companies on the Green 50 are growing at a phenomenal rate, on average 260 per cent per annum,'' Parker said.

''As a segment, the Green 50 grew at 15 times the speed of the New Zealand economy over the last year,'' he said.

Many companies were in the agriculture sector, which meant a lot of farmers were buying products, services and technologies to improve the environment.

Exporters made up 71 per cent of companies on the list, compared with 18 per cent of the New Zealand economy.

The most common area of environmental improvement was reducing pollution, followed by 52 per cent of companies. This was followed by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (40 per cent) and resource recovery (30 per cent).

Companies found to be doing environmental sustainability initiatives included many of New Zealand's top companies like Fonterra, Air New Zealand and Fulton Hogan.

''The research suggests environmental sustainability in leading companies is now mainstream,'' Parker said.

Wayne Cartwright, former Professor of Strategic Management at the University of Auckland, said the research had substantial potential value that could inform business strategy and sector policy.

The Press