Land & Water

Looking after Papatūānuku (land) is vital to ensure a sustainable future for everyone in New Zealand. 

What is land & water?

Land is fundamental to life, and central to the environmental system we depend on. The decisions we make and the actions we take affect not just the land, but also water, and the life it supports. Additionally water provides great opportunities for all of us – our environments, farms, cities, as well as for energy production and industry. But some of our freshwater ecosystems are suffering as a result of urban development, agriculture, horticulture, forestry and other human activities.

Why is it important?

The biodiversity and ecosystems are what sustain us and provide our life-support systems and the foundation of our economy and society. Therefore we all have a role to play in maintaining these systems and taking care of Papatūānuku. Our soil is the foundation of our economy; and healthy soils are key to managing climate change and improving freshwater quality. Organic farming is one of many solutions to protecting our soils and waterways.  This is great news for our environment, and organic food and clothing appeals to consumers as both a healthy and ethical choice. Beyond money and ethics, organic farming practices result in numerous environmental benefits - such as, reduced exposure to pesticides and chemicals, supporting water conservation and building healthy soil.  It is critical that we do not deplete our natural resources, both in our rural and urban areas. In our cities, wider adoption of concepts such as water-sensitive design and urban farming can help us to work in alignment with natural systems. The use of natural resources, while often preferable to synthetics, needs to be carefully managed in order to ensure sustainable use and to avoid issues such as deforestation.

How we measure it

Businesses in sectors with significant direct impacts on land and water are generally regulated in Aotearoa. This can include measurement of air and wastewater discharges, and the taking of water from rivers, lakes and ground. For those businesses, although regulation is in place there is usually potential to reduce their environmental impact further through proactive management. For other businesses there can still be impacts on land and water - typically in the supply chain. A number of independent certifications have been created to give customers confidence that food and other natural ingredients is sourced from an ethical supply chain. These certifications cover a range of topics of concern to customers including organic farming, human rights and labour, deforestation, and animal welfare. The concept of water footprint is another useful tool that businesses can use to understand the water impact of their products.

Consumer Insights

It can sometimes feel like there are thousands of things you can do, but you don't know where to start! Check our these insights and download your free industry report to help prioritise what action to take:

Case Studies

Planning changes to your business can sometimes feel a bit daunting. But fear not, there are many others that have already taken action! Hopefully their stories will inform and inspire you (and you can filter by your industry or a theme using drop downs above):

Nature Baby

Nature Baby is a family business working to create a world that nurtures you, your baby and nature. Their conscientious approach to product and material selection means you can rest easy knowing your family and nature are cared for.
Land & Water


WE-AR mindfully make yoga and off-duty wear to compliment your look without compromising your higher principles. 
Land & Water


Right, so you're ready to take action! One of the best ways to do this, is through accreditation schemes verify the positive impact you or your suppliers are having. Remember, you can select your industry/ issue to filter the 100+ accreditors. Choice!
Land & Water

Bio Gro

BioGro has been at the forefront of the organics movement. New Zealand’s leading organic certifier since 1983, with the nations largest database of organic farmers, organic producers and organic manufacturers from here and across the Pacific.
Land & Water


The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification defines high-level environmental criteria along the entire organic textiles supply chain and requires compliance with social criteria as well.
Land & Water


IFOAM is the umbrella organization behind the world-wide organics movement. IFOAM is ‘leading change, organically’. They work toward true sustainability in agriculture, from the field, through the value chain to the consumer spanning 127 countries.
Land & Water

Asure Quality

New Zealand has long been renowned for its food. Where growers, farmers, producers and others right across the supply chain, work hard to uphold what Aotearoa stands for in food – a higher standard of quality and safety.
Land & Water


The COSMOS-standard signature is a consumer guarantee for organic and natural cosmetics that you can trust. To date over 21,000 products in 60 countries carry our COSMOS ORGANIC or COSMOS NATURAL signature.
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Natrue is a Brussels-based international non-profit association committed to promoting and protecting Natural and Organic Cosmetics worldwide. They welcome all who commit to our high standards of quality and integrity.
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Demeter Association, Inc. is the United States’ representative of Demeter International. They are a not-for-profit incorporated in 1985 with the mission to enable people to farm successfully, in accordance with Biodynamic® practices and principles.
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The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an international non-profit organisation. They recognise and reward efforts to protect oceans and safeguard seafood supplies for the future.
Land & Water


The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is an independent, international non-profit organisation that manages the world’s leading certification and labelling programme for responsible aquaculture.
Land & Water

Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance certification helps farmers produce better crops, adapt to climate change, increase their productivity, and reduce costs. These benefits provide companies with a steady and secured supply of certified products.
Land & Water


To ensure the credibility of palm oil sustainability claims, all RSPO members that take legal ownership and produce or handle RSPO-certified sustainable oil palm products need to be RSPO certified. At the heart of this process are the RSPO Principles & Criteria.
Land & Water

Better Cotton Initiative

By helping farmers to grow cotton in a way that reduces stress on the environment and improves the livelihoods and welfare of farming communities, BCI aims to create long-term change.
Land & Water

Cotton Made In Africa

Cotton made in Africa, an initiative of the Aid by Trade Foundation, is one of the world’s leading standards for sustainably produced cotton. Their goal is to help people help themselves.
Land & Water


The Responsible Wool Standard (RWS) builds a community that can collectively accomplish what no individual or company can do alone. They develop, manage, and promote a suite of leading industry standards.
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Forest Stewardship Council is the leading catalyst and defining force for improved forest management and market transformation. The true value of forests is recognized and fully incorporated into society worldwide.
Land & Water


As an umbrella organization, we endorse national forest certification systems that have been developed through multi-stakeholder processes and tailored to local priorities and conditions. But they also do so much more...
Land & Water


At the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Inc (SFI)., we believe that sustainable forests are critical to our collective future. SFI is a sustainability leader through our work in standards, conservation, community, and education.

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