In our 2022 Survey of Sustainability Reporting, New Zealand has taken steps towards more comprehensive environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporting in comparison to our 2020 report. However, our progress has been comparatively less than that of our key global partners (Japan, US, UK, South Korea, Australia, and China).
Given the scale of issues we face, and the impacts corporate organisations have on society and the environment, our rate of progress is underwhelming.
- So why has our progress slowed down?
- Why are we letting the significant opportunities that we could create from delivering world-class ESG reporting pass us by?
- What has driven our peers to provide their stakeholders and wider society with more relevant, comprehensive reporting than our large corporate entities?
In this report, New Zealand is ranked 38 out of 58 countries. We are ranked lower than all our peers. In New Zealand, it is clear from the survey that climate is the top priority, and this is where our focus currently lies. With the release of the new Climate Standards next month, we expect these regulations to raise the bar on New Zealand’s ESG reporting, even for those who won’t fall under the scope of mandatory reporting.
We are seeing that, as ESG reporting topics grow, stakeholders are seeking more comprehensive information to help them make key decisions about the companies they choose to do business with, work for, and allow to operate. It’s clear the same level of rigour we have been used to delivering in relation to financial information is now necessary for non- financial information. New Zealand has made significant improvements in this space with a 17% increase in our top 100 organisations obtaining formal assurance over their ESG-related information; however, for many this is limited to assurance over a single element of their reporting.
We’ve introduced four new questions in this year’s survey. They point to where stakeholder interest is increasing globally, and reporting should follow suit. New Zealand’s performance is in line with global averages in these new areas, but our peers have outperformed us again.
We need a circuit breaker to grasp the opportunity that is passing us by.
The 2022 Survey reveals that since 2020:
Climate change is the top priority, with just over 50% identifying this as a risk to their organisation, and 67% adopting a carbon reduction target.
80% of New Zealand organisations report on their ESG performance (66% in 2020).
59% of New Zealand organisations include ESG reporting in their annual report (48% in 2020).
41% of New Zealand organisations’ ESG information is independently assured (24% in 2020).
New Zealand has made progress with a 17% point increase in organisations obtaining formal assurance over their ESG-related information. However, for many, this is only limited to assurance over a single element of their reporting.
Amongst our largest sectors, New Zealand’s lifeline utilities sector is performing ahead of other sectors.
Four new questions have been introduced, acknowledging social and governance elements as risks, having a dedicated team member responsible for sustainability matters, and whether sustainability matters have been included in compensation within an organisation. These new questions point to where stakeholder interest is increasing globally. E
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