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

Some organisations will be asked to report climate change-related information under the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 (CCRA). Find out what it might involve for your organisation. We will be contacting organisations from August 2020.

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. 

Information for organisations recently asked to provide information under section 5ZW of the CCRA

In early September 2020 we asked some organisations to provide information on how they are preparing for the impacts of climate change. The request for information follows public release of the National Climate Change Risk Assessment on 3 August. We’re collecting this information to inform our work on a National Adaptation Plan which we’re developing over the next two years. 

If your organisation received the information request, you may wish to access the full list of survey questions in the Information request [Word, 80 KB]. 

This first request aims to understand:

  • your organisation’s general awareness and understanding of impacts and risks from climate change 
  • strategies or plans your organisation may have in place to improve resilience and/or adapt to the effects of climate change
  • your organisation’s governance and decision-making processes relating to risks from climate change
  • any support or resources your organisation might need to better prepare for the impacts of climate change.

The information you provide to the Ministry for the Environment will be used to:

  • understand current levels of climate change preparedness across reporting organisations, so we can build a baseline from which to measure progress
  • identify where we may want to follow up with a second more targeted request seeking more detailed information (eg, in relation to the most significant risks identified in the National Climate Change Risk Assessment).

Your organisation received the survey because it is listed as an organisation that provides essential public services to New Zealand under section 5ZW of the Climate Change Response Act 2002.

If you have questions about the survey email adaptation@mfe.govt.nz.  

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
  • higher temperatures and more heatwaves
  • more droughts and wildfires.

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 answering the survey, please focus on your organisation’s most significant service delivery role. For example: 

  • If you are responding on behalf of a government agency, please consider the survey in relation to how the effects of climate change may impact the efficacy of existing regulatory systems, your ability to manage risks to public goods and assets, and deliver governmental services.
  • If you are a responding on behalf of a lifeline utility, please consider the survey in relation to how the effects of climate change may impact your ability to provide services. This includes the construction, operation, and maintenance of associated networks. 
  • If you are responding on behalf of a research institute, please consider the survey in relation to how the effects of climate change may impact your ability to carry out scientific research for the benefit of New Zealand.

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 initial information request from us in August 2020.

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 may also be required to provide information under the proposed mandatory climate-related financial disclosures regime.

Publicly listed companies, insurers, banks and some investors would be required to disclose financially material risks and opportunities from climate change that may have an impact on financial performance in annual or financial reports. 

The disclosure regime is intended to inform investment and business decision-making. 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 [PDF, 2.4 MB]. 

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. 

We have measures in place to ensure that the information you provide is protected. Survey responses are stored securely in our information management system and are only accessible to those directly involved in this work. 

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. This inbox is constantly monitored by one of our team. 

Reviewed:
21/09/20