Energy, climate change, and New Zealand business: April 2024

Publication date: May 2024

Overview

How have business climate change attitudes and behaviours towards climate change developed over time?

This survey took place in Aug – December 2023 and 1,008 respondents took part. Prior to July 2023, research took place over a 2-3 week period in May and November each year.

Now, the research is ‘always on’, with sampling spread across each quarter.

We survey a representative selection of New Zealand businesses of all sizes, sampling business decision-makers in relevant areas including those responsible for personnel, vehicle or energy decisions.

Findings

Business confidence lifted in the October - December period. There are indications that businesses are re-engaging with the climate cause, with more feeling empowered that they can take action over the past year.

There’s a growing sense of consumer pressure to act, and an increased perception that reducing emissions has reputational gains. 

The number of businesses wanting to do something but not knowing where to start is growing - representing around 1 in 5. The need and appetite for guidance has never been greater.

Businesses are feeling more empowered over the past year

.

There's agreement that businesses can make a difference, regaining pre-COVID levels.

But barriers are hard to shift. Consistently around 7 in 10 businesses see addressing climate change as urgent. But it’s not something that individual businesses necessarily prioritise.

And there’s been a sharp uplift in businesses thinking climate change won’t impact them, following a low recorded in May 23 – potentially related to the recency of extreme weather events Cyclone Gabrielle and Auckland Anniversary Weekend floods which caused widespread disruption and damage to businesses.

We’ve seen significant changes among three beliefs that paint a picture of more external pressure from consumers, and growing currency in businesses acting sustainably:

  • Fewer businesses agree that it’s difficult for customers to understand how climate-friendly businesses are: 67% agreed compared to 75% in May 2023.
  • There’s an increase in those that say they admire business leaders that prioritise climate action: 59%, up from 54%.
  • And more business leaders say their customers are demanding more transparency on climate-related issues – 27%, up from 22%.

Read the full report

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