3 Mar 2022

Local chapter of a global climate governance initiative launched

8:49 am on 3 March 2022

Directors are getting some additional help to navigate climate change risks and opportunities, which are expected to have influence well beyond the boardroom table.

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Air New Zealand and ASB Bank chair Dame Therese Walsh. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

The Institute of Directors (IoD) was hosting the local chapter of a global climate governance initiative (CGI) to help directors to effectively govern organisations in their response to climate change.

Chapter Zero's first online event was due to kick off this morning with 750 people registered to take part.

IoD chief executive Kirsten Patterson said the launch of Chapter Zero was a significant milestone in New Zealand's climate emergency response.

"Being armed with the most up-to-date climate change information including the global agenda, New Zealand's obligations, and understanding science-based targets to reduce emissions, is imperative for directors in ensuring the long-term resilience of the companies they serve," Patterson said, adding climate issues were one of the top concerns for directors of listed companies right through to not-for-profit organisations.

Air New Zealand and ASB Bank chair Dame Therese Walsh was taking on the role of chair of the Chapter Zero's steering committee.

"If we don't act now on climate change, we will not be able to manage the risk or maximise the opportunity it presents," Dame Therese said.

"Successful governors will be those most prepared to meet this challenge."

She said social justice was the emerging issue out of climate change agenda, which would have far reaching implications for directors and the organisations they serve.

"And so it's not good enough to just say, well, I'm fine over here in my organisation or my community is fine and not impacted.

"We're actually going to have to take a broader view, and that's where collaboration is important."

Dame Therese said New Zealand was the first country in the world to introduce mandatory climate-related risk disclosures and could make an important contribution to the global effort, even as a small country.

"And so if you think about it in that context, the groups of people that form those boards of directors of companies across the country have an absolute opportunity to create future responses to climate change, current responses to climate change, and build new economic models."

Directors were invited to join Chapter Zero as supporters at no cost, giving them regular access to the director community and subject matter experts, as well as access to tools and resources.

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