New Zealand Is Now The First Country To Introduce Climate Impact Transparency Laws

New Zealand recently announced that it’s becoming the first country to implement climate impact transparency laws. Under the new laws, companies will be required to be transparent in the climate impact of their business actions.

All companies operating in New Zealand with assets of more than NZ$1billion, about $700 million USD, will be forced to report on the impact of their actions on climate change.

As more and more consumers opt for more environmentally-friendly options, the hope is that these laws will ensure total transparency so consumers know what they’re supporting.

Photo: Pixabay

The reports that companies must make will not only take into account the effects they have on climate change through logging, greenhouse gas emissions, etc., but also the impact that their investments and loans are making through other companies and projects.

Climate Minister James Shaw said in a statement, “This law will bring climate risks and resilience into the heart of financial and business decision making.”

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The law will affect around 200 companies residing in New Zealand, as well as foreign companies with holdings in the country.

Photo: flickr/World Bank Photo Collection

Though the laws will not directly force companies to be more environmentally responsible, with the forced transparency, consumer pressure may do just that.

Shaw continued, saying, “Requiring the financial sector to disclose the impacts of climate change will help businesses identify the high-emitting activities that pose a risk to their future prosperity, as well as the opportunities presented by action on climate change and new low carbon technologies.”

With New Zealand taking the lead on these new laws, it’s hoped that other countries will soon follow suit.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Beyond the new legislation, the country has also been making other efforts to combat climate change and make a positive impact.

They’ve replaced coal and gas boilers at public institutions with the goal of being carbon-neutral by 2025, as a government sector. They want the whole country to be carbon-neutral by 2050.

In a statement, the Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs, David Clark, said, “Becoming the first country in the world to introduce a law like this means we have an opportunity to show real leadership and pave the way for other countries to make climate-related disclosures mandatory.”

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