Hot topic

Climate change

Navigating the changing climate landscape

Climate change is far more than just an environmental concern. We understand that for most organisations it presents a material commercial risk – and so, we regularly advise boards of directors and executive teams on these risks and climate-related regulatory changes.

We’ve advised on international climate change negotiations, the Paris Agreement, overseas emissions trading schemes (ETS) and contracts and global and domestic climate change litigation. 

Known as influencers of climate legislation, we've helped from inception through to the legislative proposals of the 2020 Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Scheme Reform) Amendment Bill, the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Act 2019 and the Government’s current proposal to introduce climate-related financial disclosure. The legal opinion we prepared for the Aotearoa Circle – a partnership of public and private sector leaders committed to sustainable prosperity in New Zealand – has been widely referenced by Government and market commentators. 

Our influential climate change legal experts provide advice for climate‑related risk and opportunities including:

  • directors’ and officers’ legal duties and obligations
  • policy reform and regulatory requirements
  • emissions trading issues, contracting and disputes
  • mitigating reputational risks
  • maximising climate change-related advantages, including advising on green bonds and ESG financial instruments
  • managing ESG disclosure
  • global and domestic climate change litigation
  • international climate change law (UNFCCC and Paris Agreement).
  • Acting for Fonterra, Z Energy and Dairy Holdings in the first climate change litigation targeting corporate defendants for responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions (Smith v. Fonterra et al).
  • Advising the board of several major Australasian financial institutions on climate risk and the implications of global climate change litigation.
  • Authoring the New Zealand legal opinion on legal duties of directors and fund managers to consider climate change in decision making on the instructions of the Aotearoa Circle (October 2019).
  • Helping multiple clients, including listed issuers and investment managers, with the implications of regulatory requirements to report climate-related financial risk.
  • Advising on New Zealand and overseas contracts for the sale and purchase of emissions units and contract disputes.
  • Advising New Zealand and overseas issuers of green bonds, including advising on New Zealand’s first green bond.
  • Advising listed issuers on mandatory and voluntary emission reporting obligations and annual report disclosure statements under EU and UK law.
  • Advising a Crown entity on disclosure obligations regarding its climate-related investments.
  • Assisting a number of directly and indirectly affected firms with submissions on and implications of the Zero Carbon Bill and ETS reform including those in the primary industries, electricity generation, energy distribution, and industrial manufacturing sectors.
  • Helping developers of large projects (including industrial facilities and infrastructure assets) manage the consenting implications resulting from direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions, and/or harnessing consenting benefits from avoided emissions.