Climate Change and New Zealand Business

EECA's twice-yearly insight into how the business sector is responding to climate change.

Publication date: November 2021

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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?

A bounce-back in climate change belief

The picture earlier this year in May 2021 was disappointing — showing businesses deprioritising tackling their climate initiatives.

In this most recent research, we see signs that businesses are reawakening to the need to act.

They're increasingly feeling constrained by the impacts of COVID-19 but are also aware their climate impact is not something that can be ignored.

Business climate beliefs: trends over time

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Competing priorities

The economy and supply chain issues remain the top-ranked issues facing New Zealand businesses, with environmental concerns ranking relatively low across the 17 issues identified.

Business perceptions on the most important issues facing New Zealand businesses (very important)

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Business perceptions changing

We're starting to see results that suggest businesses increasingly understand how much work there still is to do:

  • Only 30% of respondents agree that New Zealand is making good progress in reducing our GHG emissions, a record low result.
  • Businesses are increasingly proud of how environmentally aware their companies are, reaching a high of 53%.

But there is a significant gap between what businesses think their customers expect and what New Zealanders want to see from business. The results show 24% of businesses believe their customers are encouraging them to do more, yet 84% of consumers think businesses need to do more to reduce their impact. This suggests consumers are not yet voting with their wallets, but businesses could see far more pressure in future.

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What's next?

Businesses are constrained but show signs of increasing headspace for taking action.

Taking a long-term view, the data suggests businesses are less active tackling their climate impact than they were two to three years ago. But there's a growing awareness of where to go when businesses need support and guidance — and there's growing appetite. Current constraints may mean they can't be as active as they'd like, but they're conscious of the need to engage.

The Business sector is responsible for 40% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions, they're hugely important for contributing to New Zealand's zero-carbon goals.

Our Gen Less platform has the resources businesses need to get started on their climate action no matter their size or sector.

Support and guidance for business

Read the full report

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