The Commerce Commission has issued new guidance to help businesses working together to pursue sustainability goals, with a focus on distinguishing between illegal collusion and legitimate collaboration.
The Commission’s Competition General Manager, Antonia Horrocks says the Collaboration and sustainability guidelines released today will help businesses understand how they can work together to realise shared sustainability goals without breaking the law.
“Tackling climate change requires collective action and businesses are increasingly working together to deliver sector-wide sustainability initiatives,” she said.
“As businesses respond to these challenges, markets face significant and rapid change. Competition can drive markets to innovate to meet these requirements – and the Commerce Act protects competition for the benefit of New Zealanders.
“Our guidelines are intended to help businesses understand how they can work collaboratively to fight climate change without breaching competition law.
“It’s important that competition law isn’t a roadblock to genuine collective action on climate issues and that equally, businesses don’t lose sight of competition when they’re considering significant transitions in markets to achieve sustainability goals.”
Draft guidelines were issued for public consultation in August, and Ms Horrocks says the submissions received from businesses and industry bodies helped to shape the final document.
“The guidelines set out the factors the Commission considers when assessing collaboration between businesses for sustainability purposes and provide practical examples to help organisations understand whether their initiatives are compatible with competition law.”
“We know this is a novel area, so we encourage businesses to contact us if they are unsure how to apply the guidance,” she said.
The Collaboration and sustainability guidelines are available on the Commission’s website.