Business Brief on Climate Change

10 Nov 2015
Sustainable Business Council

The Sustainable Business Council and Major Companies Group have released a Business Brief on Climate Change which sets out where businesses want to lead on climate change through to 2020 and calls for the government to negotiate an ambitious, inclusive post-2020 global climate agreement.

Read the Business Brief and the survey we've carried out with BusinessNZ's Major Companies Group:
*    BusinessNZ Climate Brief
*    BusinessNZ Climate Survey

The survey shows there's strong momentum among businesses to address climate change. It also highlights some inspiring examples of businesses setting targets and actively reducing emissions.

Business leaders have identified where we think we can work together to accelerate the shift to a low-emission economy in New Zealand. We want to prioritise activity in the following four areas through to 2020:

  • Low-emission transport - Business will focus on reducing emissions within the transport sector so we can develop efficient, resilient and affordable transport for people and goods.
  • Energy efficiency - We can make significant, affordable gains reducing emissions in the short term by improving energy efficiency in business.
  • Improving urban infrastructure - We can make our urban infrastructure resilient and as resource efficient as possible, creating environments (precincts) where we can collaborate, test and scale low-emission business solutions.
  • Business leadership - Business leaders will continue to make their own businesses more efficient. They will also seek to develop a compelling narrative on why addressing climate change matters to businesses. Business can assist consumers and others towards low-emission choices.

In the long-term, low-emission growth isn't going to be enough. The planet will continue to warm as long as we are emitting more than we can capture and store. That's why a group of business leaders are starting to explore the long-term systemic change we will need to make to steer towards a net zero emission economy.

Key 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, telecommunication 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.