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Wakeup call for NZ business on climate change

Wakeup call for NZ business on climate change

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the Sustainable Business Council and Deloitte today launched the CDP Australia and New Zealand Climate Change Report, which analyses how NZX 50 and ASX 200 businesses are tackling climate change.

This CDP report, written by Deloitte on behalf of 655 institutional investors representing US$78 trillion in assets, provides an annual update on greenhouse gas emissions data and climate change strategies at the largest listed companies in NZ and Australia.

A key finding is that New Zealand companies are falling behind and need to improve their climate change disclosure if they are to satisfy their investors and customers. The average carbon disclosure score for NZX 50 companies fell from 49 in 2011 to 47 last year, well below the average scores of their international peers in countries like Australia (ASX 200 - 65), UK (FTSE 350 - 66), and the USA (S&P 500 - 70). Disclosure scores below 50 are considered to be low quality, while score of 50-70 are mid-range and 70+ high quality. The maximum possible carbon disclosure score is 100.

Over 4,000 companies globally disclosed climate change information through CDP in 2012. This includes over 80% of the 500 largest listed companies in the world, and over 2,000 suppliers. According to a recent GlobeScan and SustainAbility survey of 850 sustainability professionals in 70 countries, CDP is considered the most credible corporate sustainability ranking.

The report also recognises five NZX 50 companies on the CDP NZX 50 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index for the high quality of their carbon disclosure. These companies are: ANZ Banking Corporation, Telstra Corporation, Westpac Banking Corporation, Fletcher Building and AMP.

Air New Zealand, Telstra and Sky Network TV all significantly increased their carbon disclosure scores this year.

Westpac was also recognised for its high carbon performance, and is the only company included on both the CDP NZX 50 Carbon Performance Leadership Index and the CDP NZX 50 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index.

An increasing number of NZX 50 and ASX 200 companies are also identifying and considering climate change risks and opportunities from reputation and changing consumer behaviour, areas often considered less tangible. 37% of ASX200 and NZX50 companies report reputational risks, an increase from 34% in 2011.

Brett Tomkins, Chair of the Sustainable Business Council, said it was a call to action to New Zealand as a contributor to global supply chains. “New Zealand is well behind the rest of the world and overall has low quality climate change reporting. This should be a wakeup call for New Zealand business,” Mr Tomkins said.

Australia and New Zealand Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project, James Day, said: “Many NZX 50 companies don’t appear to be realising all of the business benefits that good environmental disclosure through CDP can deliver them. This is surprising, as many New Zealand companies have good climate change and sustainability stories to tell than can be backed up with credible, independently verified data. For instance, more NZ utilities could be disclosing their carbon efficient electricity generation to their investors through CDP, as NZ’s low carbon electricity grid is not widely known about outside NZ,” Mr Day said.

Penny Nelson, Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Council, said it was heartening to see SBC member Westpac recognised for its high quality carbon disclosure and performance. “Westpac is the only NZX 50 company recognised on both the CDP NZX 50 Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index and the CDP NZX 50 Carbon Performance Leadership Index. This helps set an example to other NZ companies. SBC and the Carbon Disclosure Project would be happy to work with any companies wanting to improve their carbon disclosure and performance and raise their international competitiveness," Ms Nelson said.


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