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The Aotearoa Circle, a unique partnership of public and private sector leaders, has sought advice as to the legal duties of New Zealand trustees to manage climate change related risk to trust investments.
In 2019 we were engaged by the Aotearoa Circle to prepare an opinion on the duties of company directors and managed investment scheme providers regarding climate change risk. The preparation of a general legal opinion on these topics was a significant development for New Zealand. Chapman Tripp and the Aotearoa Circle then issued a practical tool kit for directors to assist boards to work through climate risk management.
This week, partner Nicola Swan, together with barrister Daniel Kalderimis, published a further legal opinion for the Circle which confirms this common sense legal advice for New Zealand trustees. The opinion is based on trustees’ duties to act in the best interests of beneficiaries, to invest prudently, and to act impartially between beneficiaries. What is perhaps more interesting is to consider what types of trustees are likely to be most at risk and how they can best protect themselves.