Kate Wilson Butler Kate Wilson Butler

Kate Wilson Butler

Director - Climate, Sustainability & ESG

Climate change, sustainability & ESG

As the Director of our Climate, Sustainability & ESG practice, Kate advises clients on all aspects of these areas. With broad experience as an advocate and trusted adviser across the public and private sectors, Kate specialises in the intersection between climate and ESG policy, law and strategy.

Kate is regularly called on as a speaker and facilitator on current climate and sustainability issues affecting business. She has excellent knowledge of current international and local developments in climate change, corporate climate action, climate transition planning and broader ESG issues such as nature/biodiversity, responsible business, modern slavery and ESG governance.

Immediately prior to joining Chapman Tripp, Kate was Head of Climate Action at the Sustainable Business Council, where she represented some of New Zealand's largest companies on climate change policy, working directly with those organisations on their climate and sustainability strategies and reporting. Before that, Kate spent nine years at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where her roles included: lawyer on international environmental and trade matters, diplomat, climate change negotiator and Private Secretary to the Minister of Climate Change. Kate started her career at another major New Zealand law firm, working across the corporate advisory and environment/resource management practice areas.

Recent highlights

  • Advising on market expectations and risk mitigation in relation to emissions reduction targets, net zero goals and transition planning.
  • Advising a range of clients on climate-related disclosures, including working with listed issuers, insurers and financial institutions to prepare for voluntary and mandatory climate related disclosures.
  • Advising and delivering training in relation to greenwashing and steps to mitigate greenwashing risk.
  • Developing and delivering presentations and training programmes on international and domestic developments in ESG and their relevance for New Zealand companies, including sustainability reporting, responsible business, human rights and modern slavery.
  • Developing a range of training and upskilling sessions for boards and management on current climate issues for business, including target setting, offsetting, transition planning, reporting and climate policy developments.
  • 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.
  • Leading cross-sectoral collaborations to support business climate action in a range of areas including transport and climate adaptation.
  • Acting as advisor on international climate change issues to the Minister for Climate Change.
  • Acting as New Zealand’s lead climate finance negotiator at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Acting as legal counsel on international environment and trade law issues, including law of the sea, international biodiversity negotiations, and trade and environment.

Kate's insights

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Protecting New Zealand’s competitive advantage: new report reveals scale and pace of changes facing our exporters in global ESG reporting and sustainability trade measures

A new report has revealed the pressure on New Zealand exporters to keep up with international expectations on sustainability, with more than 80% of New Zealand’s exports by value now going to countries with mandatory climate-related disclosures either in force or proposed.

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Chapman Tripp creates Director role to support growing Climate, Sustainability and ESG practice

Chapman Tripp is delighted to announce that Kate Wilson Butler has been appointed as Director of our Climate, Sustainability and ESG practice.

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