Business addressing climate change

Climate change is moving up the agenda for New Zealand businesses, according to a survey released by BusinessNZ.

Businesses that make up 36 percent of New Zealand’s private sector GDP participated in the BusinessNZ Climate Change Survey.

The survey shows that 61 percent of those surveyed have introduced initiatives to reduce emissions, and that businesses want to see unified commitment at the international climate change COP21 negotiations in Paris this month.

BusinessNZ has also released a Business Brief for the COP21 negotiations.

BusinessNZ Head of Climate Change Policy John Carnegie says business will continue to take action regardless of what happens at Paris, but the negotiations are still an opportunity to set climate goals to give businesses the confidence to invest, innovate and act to reduce emissions.

“We need to see an agreement that sets a predictable and transparent regulatory environment, to provide the direction to enable scaled-up action at a country level.

“New Zealand businesses want to work with Government to develop and implement market-driven solutions to address emissions while maintaining our international competitiveness. This means supporting the development of international carbon markets to facilitate the global transfer of low emissions technology and finance to where it is needed most.

“Through to 2020, businesses in New Zealand will focus on reducing emissions in the transport sector, improving energy efficiency beyond transport, improving urban infrastructure and being strong leaders on climate change mitigation and adaptation.”

Survey findings:
• 52% of respondents said climate was a material issue that warranted a business response.
• 61% have introduced initiatives to reduce climate emissions.
• Two-thirds of respondents have emission reduction targets in place, with strong representation from energy, transport, telecommunications and retail sectors.
• 85% of business climate activity sits within business operations, working with customers and through supply chains.
• Climate reduction plans range from 12 month targets to open-ended. One business has targets out to the end of the century.
• Many respondents still find it hard to quantify the potential value from longer-term thinking about climate change impact with the business benefits of resource efficiency, risk mitigation and other avoided costs.
• Over half of respondents are publicly reporting their emissions reductions through an independent accreditation or framework.
• At Paris, business wants to see leadership, clarity of direction, ambition and a unified commitment at a global and national level.
• Beyond Paris, businesses would like to see cross party agreement on New Zealand’s approach to climate change, sustainable government procurement, transport initiatives and a greater focus on adaptation.

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