A deep dive into how New Zealand businesses approach energy use and climate change

Publication date: August 2023


Many Kiwi organisations see hurdles, not opportunities, when it comes to climate action. This is despite knowing sustainability is good for business. If we’re going to meet our targets, businesses need to be on the journey, so it’s important to understand where they are now.

While business decision makers generally believe in climate change, and believe their business could make a difference, not many are taking action.

If we’re going to meet our targets, businesses need to be on the journey, so it’s important to understand where they are now. With our research partner TRA, we’ve surveyed business decision makers on their organisations’ attitudes and actions around climate change and energy use over the last four years. We presented a deep dive into the impact business sector, size, and region have on their willingness and ability to tackle climate change.

Business monitor deep dive methodology.

Key findings

  • In recent months, there’s been growing recognition that businesses can see the way they do business being affected by climate change – 44% now agree, which is an increase from 36% in the previous survey in November 2022.
  • 76% believe businesses can make a difference to climate change – up from 65% in November.
  • Despite the latest changes, businesses are still out of step with the general population: 75% of business decision makers say they believe in climate change, compared to 81% of the general public. 
  • Size is a big driver of beliefs, with 89% of businesses with 20-99 FTEs and 84% of those with 100+ believing in climate change compared to 72% of small businesses - and large businesses are also more likely to be taking action to reduce their emissions.

Findings also include:

  • Overall environment issues are decreasing in importance alongside rising economic concerns including inflation, the cost of living, and labour shortages.  
  • 39% are measuring their emissions and/or taking action to reduce them, and a further 32% aren’t doing anything, but willing to in the future but not sure how.  
  • Over the past 4 years, the perception that addressing emissions means higher costs has grown across businesses of all size, in all regions and across all sectors. Now at 59%, up from 53% four years ago. 
  • Regionally, Auckland is the strongest on believing in climate change – likely due to the high number of large businesses based in the region. We’ve seen a strong upswing from Central/Hawke’s Bay in the last year; possibly as a result of this year’s extreme weather. 

Next steps

Insights from the report will inform EECA's behaviour change work, and wider engagement, carried out as part of its mandate to promote energy efficiency, conservation, and renewable energy.

It will also help shape future research. EECA is committed to making its research freely available.

This deep dive has shown us it’s more important than ever to understand that getting businesses onto a low emissions pathway is not one size fits all.

Jo Bye, GM Marketing and Communications, EECA

Watch the webinar

This webinar, hosted by EECA and TRA, included a presentation outlining the attitudes and behaviours of different groups of New Zealanders towards energy use and climate change.

The data

This file includes raw data for all of the different business groups. The file includes instructions on how to read the data tables as well as an interactive contents page to help navigate to data of interest.


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