Abbie Reynolds' remarks to the United Nations

18 Jul 2019
Sustainable Business Council

Abbie Reynolds, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Council was today part of a panel presenting New Zealand’s progress report on the Sustainable Development Goals to the United Nations.

And see the full playlist for Abbie's highlights from the various side events.

Kia ora koutou, greetings to you all.

I’ve been impressed by how many of our businesses have adopted and used the Global Goals.

This is in part because there is a growing understanding that the transformation needed cannot be delivered by our government alone, and that business must play an active role.

Equally, our businesses have valued being able to align their local efforts to an ambitious global agenda for positive change.

They are making progress on many of the goals, but collectively, they have gone furthest on Goal 13 – Climate Action.

In 2017 a small group of business leaders came together to form the Climate Leaders Coalition. To join, CEOs had to commit their business to three things:

  1. To measure and publicly report on their emissions
  2. To set a target aligned to staying below 2 degrees of warming, and
  3. To work with suppliers to help them reduce their emissions.

This group now numbers 106 signatories. It represents 60% of New Zealand’s emissions and more than one third of our private sector GDP.  As far as we are aware, there is nowhere else in the world where businesses representing such a significant percentage of both emissions and GDP have committed to voluntary action on climate change.

They celebrate their first anniversary next week, and the vast majority have met their commitments, or are well on their way to meeting them.  And they have developed an updated set of commitments that include pursuing efforts to limit temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

If I had one hope as a result of this process, it is that the New Zealand Government might identify a single Minister to be responsible for the Global Goals in New Zealand, and work with business, the not-for-profit sector, academia and civil society to deliver on our priority areas together.

Ngā mihi nui and thank you