Date posted: 24/11/2022

Collaboration and leadership important drivers of sustainable finance

In New Zealand and Australia, Government, business and finance leaders and community representatives unite to discuss sustainable finance

In brief

  • Green bonds and green taxonomy discussed in New Zealand
  • Collaboration with industry is needed to drive a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive economy
  • Stewardship Code for Aotearoa New Zealand

Collaboration, leadership, taxonomies (classification systems), and the inclusion and recognition of First Nations and Indigenous peoples in sustainable finance were topics discussed during events in both Australia and New Zealand. On either side of the Tasman, government officials, business and finance leaders, and community representatives came together to discuss sustainable finance.

Australia

The inaugural Australian Sustainable Finance Summit was held in Sydney on Friday 28 October with the goal to build understanding and drive sustainable progress in Australia. 

Dr Darian McBain, senior advisor to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) shared insights into Singapore Green Plan 2030, a multi-layered plan across all aspects of living and the economy. A green Government, green businesses and green citizenry are recognised as key enablers to Singapore’s plans. McBain shared Singapore’s role in supporting an effective and inclusive transition to a low-carbon economy in Asia and the importance of strengthening financial sector resilience, enhancing data, definitions, and disclosures, developing solutions and markets, building knowledge and capabilities as well as harnessing technology.

It is critical that Australia is not lagging behind the rest of the world, The Hon Stephen Jones MP noted during this address. The Government’s priority is to set up Australia for long-term challenges, both economic and environmental. Jones noted the importance for Government to have honest conversations with the Australian people, including the challenges we face and to work needs to be carried out in collaboration with industry to drive a sustainable, resilient, and inclusive economy. There is also an ongoing commitment from Government to accelerate a common set of reporting standards to which we can assess business performance. Jones also noted that “it’s the role of insurers to price the risk, it’s the government’s role to reduce it”. 

A consistent global taxonomy across industries was also discussed during the panel sessions throughout the day as well as the importance of driving practical change from the top. 

New Zealand

Similar themes were explored at the State of Sustainable Finance event hosted by Toitū Tahua: Centre for Sustainable Finance on Wednesday 2 November 2022 and the Event: State of Sustainable finance 2022 on YouTube.

In his speech, Hon Grant Robertson noted that in every single conversation with businesspeople on recent trips to the United States and the United Kingdom included questions on climate impact and carbon footprint. He spoke about the establishment of New Zealand’s Green Bonds, noting the current plan to launch this Framework before the end of the year. The Green Bond Framework will involve annual reviews, impact reporting and allocation-based reporting. Grant Robertson announced that a new Climate, Economic and Fiscal Update will be release early next year by The Treasury and Ministry for the Environment. 

Hon James Shaw acknowledged the profound shift in ‘greening the financial sector’ in a short period of time and supports the development of a green taxonomy for New Zealand for climate and nature positive investments. He noted that all KiwiSaver default funds have been barred from investing in fossil fuels, representing a big divestment from the fossil fuel sector. James Shaw made calls to ‘Make sustainable finance, just finance – just how we do things’.

Make sustainable finance, just finance – just how we do things
Hon James Shaw

The recently launched Stewardship Code for Aotearoa was also a topic of discussion. The Code, which was developed by industry, for industry, aims to support investors to influence sustainable business and long-term value. This Code encourages responsible allocation and management to create and preserve long term value for current and future generations. It recognises that long term value cannot be achieved unless you achieve sustainable outcomes for our planet, for our people and for our economy. 

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