Climate change and New Zealand business: May 2022

Publication date: August 2022

EECA Business Monitor

We survey New Zealand businesses every six months to test where they stand on climate change. Are they concerned? Taking action? How does it stack up against other business priorities?

This survey of 537 business decision-makers from across sectors and sizes took place in May 2022.

Overview

The downstream effects of COVID, the war in Ukraine and the global economic situation mean that businesses are facing considerable pressure. Inflation is the highest in 30 years, fuel costs have increased, supply chains are facing pressure, and employers are working within a very tight labour market. It's not altogether surprising that climate change isn't top of anyone's agenda.

However, the Government has set ambitious targets for emissions reductions and has a clear plan for delivering to these, including EECA's expanded funding for accelerating the decarbonisation of industry.

The New Zealand economy continues to rise as the top issue for businesses

The combination of the long tail of COVID and growing economic uncertainty are leaving businesses with little capacity to worry about much outside of their most immediate and pressing issues. Climate change concern has dropped since the last Business Monitor.

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After increasing in late 2021, belief that climate change is real sees a three-point decrease

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Businesses are feeling less pressure to keep up the efforts to reduce their impact on climate change

However there appears to be a greater awareness of the organisations who are taking action, as the businesses surveyed are less likely to say they’re doing more than others – just 14%, down from 20% in the previous survey. This suggests a real benefit to being visible in your climate action, to enable others to see what more they could do.

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There are increases in some effective climate actions

More businesses are encouraging flexible working, reducing gas consumption, and using electric vehicles.

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And businesses report they’re feeling more informed

While there’s been a drop in the number of businesses reporting they’re actively seeking information about how to lower emissions, one in five say they already have a good level of knowledge about how to do so. Forty-four percent know where to find information, and another 23% have looked for information about emission reduction in the previous three months.

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What's next?

The government released its Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP) and corresponding Climate Emergency Relief Fund (CERF) in May, as this survey was underway. The ERP is likely to significantly impact business in New Zealand, as it contains clear targets for reducing emissions across sectors.

While businesses feel that there is less climate change impact in the actions that they can take, there is evidence of long-term behaviour change that will contribute to reduced emissions.

EECA is working actively with the business sector, which accounts for around 40% of New Zealand's emissions.

Support and guidance for business

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Tailor-made climate advice for smaller businesses(external link)

Co-funding and support

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