Business at the heart of Auckland climate-change conference

September 16, 2022

Business at the heart of Auckland climate-change conference

Climate change will be the focus of a conference involving government and business leaders in Auckland next week. Photo: supplied

Encouraging climate action in the business sector will be the top priority for a climate-change conference at Aotea Centre next week.

The Environmental Defence Society (EDS), the Sustainable Business Council (SBC) and the Climate Leaders Coalition (CLC) will host this year's Climate Change and Business Conference (CCBC).

Their aim is to help the business sector make a meaningful contribution to climate action.

Mike Burrell, executive director of SBC, says EDS has done a fantastic job of "establishing what is basically New Zealand's premier event on climate".

The focus of previous CCBC events was raising awareness of climate change and motivating people to take action. Burrell says the event has now reached a transition point.

"How are we going to do that? How are we going to do this at scale? How are we going to ensure that we mobilised government, mobilised business, and also got them working together to take action?"

He remains optimistic but acknowledges the scale and urgency required to prevent the irreversible effects of climate change can be intimidating.

"As we saw in the most recent reports from the United Nations on this, the challenges are huge and the window is closing.

"So there's no doubt that these are very serious times and one has to take immediate action and it has to be sustained action and it needs to be at a scale we've never seen before.

"This is really very significant, but that's not to say that it's not achievable."

Burrell says the key to this transition is bringing the business sector and Government together to build cooperation, so they have made an effort to involve key leaders from both sectors in the event.

"We've got everyone from the Prime Minister of New Zealand [and] the Leader of the Opposition is speaking.

"We've got a who's who of New Zealand business people, particularly those in sustainability roles.

"We've got policymakers there, NGOs, [and] we've got key sector umbrella groups. So they're all the change-makers."

At big plenaries, keynote speakers will present ideas to a large audience, while there will also be breakout sessions with workshops that focus on specific industry practices, and informal sessions where people can share ideas.

Burrell says the responsibility falls on all of us to take action and address the climate crisis.

"Remember, it's human created. We created this thing by basically releasing carbon into the atmosphere through our industrialisation process. It is therefore, incumbent upon us to reverse the effects of that.

"It's inconvenient right? So let's get beyond the inconvenience and get into the action that's required."