Executive Director of the Sustainable Business Council, Abbie Reynolds, says climate change could be the greatest economic disruption in our lifetimes and the largest driver of innovation since World War Two.

The Sustainable Business Council has this morning publicly released its submission to the Productivity Commission on the transition to a low emissions economy.

Abbie Reynolds says leading Kiwi businesses are increasingly putting climate change at the centre of their strategy and business models. They see the transition to a low emissions economy as one of the biggest business opportunity in the foreseeable future.

“International research estimates work to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals could unlock new markets worth US $12 trillion and 380 million new jobs. We need to change the conversation – and talk about the innovations and opportunities emerging in New Zealand, like solar energy, battery storage and electric vehicles. We need to galvanise action and innovation, and the current narrative doesn’t inspire that.”

“Many Sustainable Business Council members know there can be no more business as usual. Climate change is a global issue already affecting business in New Zealand directly through increasingly extreme weather events, and indirectly through divestment away from fossil fuels.”

Our members want to see a national dialogue on the transition and what it will mean. SBC believes a successful transition is underpinned by cross-sector collaboration between businesses, government, academia and the community. Collaboration, open dialogue and transparent data and analysis will be critical to shaping a successful framework of policies, incentives, financing mechanisms and market initiatives.

Our members are also looking for policy predictability. They want to see the discussion de-politicised, beyond the election cycle, so they can make the right investment decisions and changes.

“We need to be thoughtful about how we manage the transition. Emissions intensive sectors risk losing their competitiveness offshore, if they have to internalise the cost of carbon before their competitors.”

“If New Zealand gets the transition right we stand to gain a holistic outcome that is in everyone’s long-term interests. We need a positive narrative that inspires action.”

Read the submission here.