Guidance for organisations requested to provide information under the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019

Some organisations may be required to report climate change-related information under the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 (CCRA). Find out about this requirement and what it might involve for your organisation.

About the requirement to report climate change information  

Under the CCRA, the Minister for Climate Change and the independent Climate Change Commission have the power to request information from organisations that provide essential public services in New Zealand. Organisations will be asked to provide information on how they are responding to risks from climate change.

The information is being collected to help the Government understand how these organisations are preparing for risks arising from climate change.

Will my organisation be asked to provide information?

There are currently over 600 organisations in New Zealand that could be asked to respond to requests for information.

As listed in Section 5ZW of the CCRA they include:

  • lifeline utilities, which are public and private-sector entities providing fuel, electricity, water, transport, and telecommunications infrastructure
  • local authorities
  • central government, crown entities, and state-owned enterprises
  • the Police and New Zealand Defence Force.

What information will be requested?

Requests are likely to focus on how organisations are adapting to climate change-related hazards such as:

  • sea level rise 
  • more frequent and intense extreme weather events
  • increased drought and wildfire risk.

Requests may ask about:

  • an organisation’s governance in relation to the risks of, and opportunities arising from, climate change
  • actual and potential effects of the risks and opportunities on an organisation’s business, strategy and financial planning
  • processes that an organisation uses to identify, assess and manage the risks
  • metrics and targets that an organisation uses to assess and manage its climate-related risks and opportunities including, if relevant, timeframes and progress
  • any matters specified in regulations (there aren’t any such regulations currently).

We will provide further guidance to reporting organisations on how to respond to our requests.

In the short term, we don’t expect to use this approach to request information on organisations’ greenhouse gas emissions or strategies for reducing their emissions.

Requests are intended to inform development of the national adaptation plan and future national climate change risk assessments. 

When will my organisation receive a request for information?

The Ministry for the Environment can request information on behalf of the Minister for Climate Change. Reporting organisations should expect to receive an information request from us sometime after the publication of the national climate change risk assessment. 

We are aware many organisations have been significantly impacted by COVID-19. We will be considerate of time and resources when asking for information. 

What will the information be used for?

We plan to use the information to inform development of the national adaptation plan. The plan will include the Government’s objectives and strategies for adapting to climate change. It is due to be completed in 2022.

How will this reporting differ from the proposed mandatory climate-related financial disclosures?

Some organisations that may be requested to provide information may also be required to report under proposed mandatory climate-related financial disclosures.

Mandatory climate-related financial disclosures would be for informing investors, provided Cabinet agrees with that proposed approach. Both the mandatory climate-related financial disclosures and the power to request information under the CCRA are aligned with the Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. 

We expect some reporting organisations may, where appropriate, repurpose information and formats used to make climate-related financial disclosures to respond to information requests made under the CCRA.

What will happen to the information my organisation provides?

The Minister for Climate Change and the Climate Change Commission are required by the CCRA to share with each other all information received in response to a request. That information, including commercial-in-confidence information, is protected by law from unnecessary disclosure.

Neither the Minister for Climate Change nor the Climate Change Commission can publicly disclose any information received in response to a request, unless its disclosure is necessary to perform a function or duty imposed by law. Before publicly disclosing any information received in response to our requests, the Minister for Climate Change must consult with the person to whom the information relates.

These legal protections set out in the CCRA do not apply to information already in the public domain. 

Find out more 

See Section 5ZW of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 [New Zealand Legislation website].

See also:

Enquiries can be directed to adaptation@mfe.govt.nz.

Reviewed:
29/07/20