Kate Wilson Butler Kate Wilson Butler

Kate Wilson Butler

Director - Climate, Sustainability & ESG

Climate change, sustainability & ESG

Leading our Climate, Sustainability & ESG practice, Kate advises clients on all aspects of these issues. She specialises in the intersection between climate change policy, law and business strategy and planning, drawing on her knowledge of best practice internationally and in New Zealand.

Kate has broad experience as an advocate and trusted adviser across the public and private sectors. Her past roles include working as a lawyer on both international and domestic matters, as a diplomat, as a climate change negotiator and as Private Secretary to the Minister of Climate Change. Kate's most recent experience includes representing some of New Zealand's largest companies on climate change policy and working directly with those organisations on their climate and sustainability strategies and reporting.

Kate has presented a range of training programs, including for directors on climate risk governance, and she regularly speaks on current climate and sustainability topics and trends affecting business. She has excellent, up-to-date knowledge of current international and local trends and best practice in climate change, corporate climate action, climate transition planning and broader ESG issues.

Prior to joining Chapman Tripp, Kate was Head of Climate Action at the Sustainable Business Council (SBC), representing and working alongside the members of SBC and its partner organisation the Climate Leaders Coalition on climate and sustainability matters. Before that, Kate spent nine years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as New Zealand's Lead Negotiator on Climate Finance at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and as an international trade and environmental lawyer. Kate started her career at another major New Zealand law firm, working across the corporate advisory and resource management practice areas.

Recent highlights

  • Leading collective advocacy on climate change policy on behalf of 160+ New Zealand companies.
  • Reviewing and advising on corporate climate and sustainability reporting against international best practice.
  • Advising on and leading trainings on current climate issues for business, including target setting, transition planning, reporting and climate policy developments.
  • Leading cross-sectoral collaborations to support business climate action in a range of areas including transport and climate adaptation.
  • Acted as advisor on international climate change issues to the Minister for Climate Change.
  • Acted as New Zealand’s lead Climate Finance negotiator at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Acted as legal counsel on international environment and trade law issues, including law of the sea, international biodiversity negotiations, and trade and environment.


  • (Immediate past) member, Toitū Tahua: Centre for Sustainable Finance Governance Implementation Group
  • (Immediate past) member, Chapter Zero Working Group
  • Mentor, Women4Climate mentoring programme