NZ PM Jacinda Ardern spruiks green trade ahead of meeting with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese
“As sustainability emerges as an important but also lucrative business opportunity around the world, I look forward to seeing what two of the most innovative countries will come up with.”
Ms Ardern met with Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews on Tuesday and will meet with NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, as well as give a major foreign policy speech at the Lowy Institute, later this week.
Ms Ardern said the Albanese Labor government’s stronger commitment to tackle climate change opened significant new trade opportunities to improve trans-Tasman relations. The breakfast had a distinct climate bent with “teal” MP Monique Ryan and Higgins Labor MP Michelle Ananda-Rajah among those present.
“I come here … at the conclusion of a mission to Europe with a major trade focus, while I have many reflections of that trip … but most of my reflections primarily centre around the very shared experience the world is having in our COVID-19 recovery,” Ms Ardern said.
“As difficult as this period feels, I can tell you we are not alone in feeling it. The war and supply side constraints are hitting all of us. But so too is the biggest pre-COVID challenge that we face, climate change remains one of the most pressing issues for both of our countries and indeed the world.”
Ms Ardern said both countries were setting “very ambitious climate goals” which opened up new opportunities for trade.
She pointed to Australian Labor’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 43 per cent by 2030.
New Zealand’s climate targets include a “nationally determined contribution” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2030, making renewable electricity generation 100 per cent by 2030, creating a carbon-neutral public service by 2025 with New Zealand set to become the first country to price agricultural emissions.
“This period is an opportunity to try new approaches, develop new technologies, establish new markets, rebuild our economies to be more sustainable, more equitable and more productive.”
There was an opportunity to talk about sustainability as an emerging asset class, Ms Ardern added.
“Sustainability is no longer an added extra or nice to have … in business and consumer decision-making,” she said.
“Consumers, investors, employees, retailers worldwide are changing their behaviour. New Zealand, as a major exporting nation, must ensure that it is at the lead and the fore of this opportunity and ensure we embed sustainability in all that we do.”
The breakfast delegation heard from a panel on “natural capital” as an emerging asset class including head of Kilara Capital Ben Krasnostein and Pollination partner Megan Flynn, who warned that greater consistency was needed on metrics.
“It is an absolute alphabet soup out there,” Ms Flynn said. “It’s an extraordinary challenge for organisations to wrap their minds around a plethora of standards and metrics being thrown at them.”
“Metrics are absolutely critical because the CFOs of the world need to be able to measure it. The game changers have been things like the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and what’s coming down the line really hard, and for anyone who is not across, this you need to be.”
But New Zealand’s Minister for Tourism, Small Business and Economic and Regional Development, Stuart Nash, said the movement would be led by consumers.
“You are all talking about what organisations can do but what I would say is never underestimate the power of informed and engaged consumers,” he said. “It won’t be too long before those who don’t take this seriously will be at risk of extinction because of consumer behaviour.”