Source: Sustainable Business Council media release 10 November 2015 

Business has a clear plan for how it will lead on climate change over the next five years, according to the Sustainable Business Council.

BusinessNZ’s Major Companies Group and the Sustainable Business Council have today released a survey showing where business is acting on climate change and a Business Brief, which calls for the government to negotiate an ambitious, inclusive post-2020 global climate agreement.

Two-thirds of the BusinessNZ Climate Survey respondents said they have emissions reduction targets in place, 61% have initiatives underway to reduce their emissions and 52% are already reporting their emissions using at least one independent accreditation or reporting framework.

The Sustainable Business Council’s Executive Director, Penny Nelson said:

“The survey demonstrates there’s strong momentum among businesses to address climate change. Business strongly supports the development of an ambitious global climate agreement.

“Through the BusinessNZ survey we’ve seen inspiring examples of businesses setting themselves up to reduce emissions. But at the moment most appear to be taking their own approach to managing climate change. Business leaders have seen an opportunity to work together to accelerate and scale up the work already taking place to reduce emissions.

“We know there is no other choice. Extreme weather events will become more prevalent in a warmer climate. This will have the greatest impact on our agricultural sector – which makes up a large portion of the economy. Rising temperatures will impact on the health of communities (including employees) and influence water available for use. It will also affect our energy supply.

“Economic growth must decouple from emissions growth if we want the planet to stop warming.

“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.”

Penny Nelson will be attending the COP21 Climate Conference in Paris as an observer and will be attending the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s annual meeting – a global meeting of business leaders – in early December.

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.

Read more: “Climate Change Action – Business brief for Paris, Sustainable Business Council, November 2015”