New Zealand’s Sustainable Finance Forum takes shape

New Zealand’s Sustainable Finance Forum takes shape

Eleven leaders from across the finance and business sectors have met for the first time as the Sustainable Finance Forum Leadership Group. 

The forum is an initiative of The Aotearoa Circle – a unique partnership of public and private sector leaders who are committed to the pursuit of sustainable prosperity and reversing the decline of New Zealand’s natural resources. 

The Leadership Group is comprised of: 

  •   Matt Whineray (Chief Executive, NZ Super Fund) – co-chair 

  •   Karen Silk (General Manager of Commercial, Corporate and Institutional, Westpac NZ) – co-chair

  •   Paul Goodwin (Managing Director, Institutional, ANZ) 

  •   Bryce Davies (General Manager, Corporate Relations, IAG) 

  •   Julia Hoare (Director, various, including A2 Milk Company and Auckland International Airport Limited)

  •   Mark Peterson (Chief Executive, NZX)

  •   Debbie Birch (Director, various, including Chair of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited and Taupo Moana Investments Limited)

  •   Sir Stephen Tindall (Founder, the Tindall Foundation and the Warehouse Group) 

  •   Paul Newfield (Chief Investment Officer, HRL Morrison & Co)

  •   Simon Mackenzie (Chief Executive, Vector) 

  •   Penny Sheerin (Partner, Chapman Tripp) 

“This group of leaders was selected because of their mix of leadership skills, their impressive depth of experience in the financial and business sectors and ability to have influence in their networks”, said Karen Silk, Westpac.

The Sustainable Finance Forum is The Aotearoa Circle’s first project. The Forum is tasked with designing a roadmap to help New Zealand shift to a financial system that supports economic, social and environmental outcomes.

The forum will identify opportunities and make recommendations to help align New Zealand’s financial system with 21st century sustainability challenges such as meeting New Zealand’s Paris commitments around reducing our emissions and achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The leaders involved recognise the need to realign the financial system and to ultimately ensure that the long-term consequences of financial practices contribute to, and do not undermine, sustainable development. They have chosen to dedicate their time and expertise to make it happen, commencing in early March. 

New Zealand’s sustainable finance agenda is running in parallel with Australia’s. Both countries, however, trail Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom, who, among other international peers, have begun designing and implementing roadmaps to sustainable financial systems.

The work of global organisation the United Nations Environment Program Finance Initiative, has been critical, laying out a framework for how countries can approach this systemic issue. 

The Sustainable Finance Forum has an ambitious work programme, including a significant period of engagement and deliberation over the next 6 months before delivering an interim report towards the end of 2019, a final report in early 2020, followed by a roadmap for implementation.

Paul Goodwin, Managing Director, Institutional at ANZ and member of the Leadership Group says “Sustainable finance is a critical part of the transition to a low emissions economy, but also in tackling other crucial environmental and social issues like water and poverty that we all care about.

"Banks, investors and insurers play a vital role in facilitating the flow of capital to the projects, innovative technology and business strategies needed to address the significant sustainability challenges facing our country.

"We know there is a lot of good work that has already been done that we can draw on to accelerate change and we plan to do just that.”

The Leadership Group will be supported by a technical working group and secretariat which are being finalised. A stakeholder group of interested stakeholders is also being established which you can join here.

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