We monitor and measure what matters

Associate Director Amy Hamilton already cared about climate change and the part our business units can play to address it. Now that she’s about to have her first child, the work is even more important. While Amy’s midwife monitors the health of her baby, it's up to us to monitor the health of our environment.

A sign at a school strike for climate in Dunedin reads, 'Seas are rising & so are we'.This blog post introduces our Climate Project and I just happen to be writing it while sitting here 32 weeks pregnant. For me, this has brought a whole new perspective to the work.

I am not only worried about how the climate will change in my lifetime (fingers crossed, at least another 50 years) but also that of my soon-to-be child. With the acceleration of the effects over recent years, it is a little scary to think about what the environment will be like 100 years from now for our tamariki and mokopuna.

It is for this reason that, in June 2022, I put my hand up to manage our Climate Project. It’s a small kaitiakitanga role, but it’s important to me.

The Climate Project covers a wide range of climate-related aspects, from:

  • preparing for our mandatory assurance responsibilities for Climate Statements, which will be prepared by Climate Reporting Entities under the Financial Markets Conduct Act;
  • supporting high-quality audits of quantified greenhouse gas (GHG) performance measures already reported by public organisations in their audited performance information;
  • supporting high-quality audits of financial information where climate-related impacts have needed to be considered and fairly accounted for;
  • influencing external agencies, such as those amending or establishing laws and regulations about reporting climate-related information, and those amending or establishing climate reporting and assurance standards; and
  • influencing the public sector to lead by example in the governance and management of climate-related aspects of risk management, strategy, monitoring, and reporting.

Over the last 12 months, the Project team has:

  • supported the audits of 18 public organisations that had a quantified GHG measure in their audited performance information that was large enough to matter to a reader;
  • provided submissions on the XRB’s exposure drafts on climate reporting standards and the climate assurance standard, and MBIE’s consultation on extending assurance on the climate statements and on a licensed assurance scheme;
  • engaged with public sector Climate Reporting Entities and their current auditors to understand progress towards preparing the first Climate Statements in 2024; and
  • made provisional decisions about the future assurance obligations for Climate Statements.

In the next 12 months we’ll continue to support those audits of quantified GHG performance measures that are large enough to matter to a reader of the information. We will also continue to engage with regulators and standard setters. We’ll do what we can to influence getting the laws and regulations, and standards for reporting and assurance of climate-related information, fit for purpose in the public sector.

We’ll also crack on with the work we need to do to appoint the new assurance providers for these Climate Statements, and to be confident in the quality of the work they will do. We will also look to issue more guidance to auditors (or provide input into guidance for public organisations). We want to help public organisations, as they transition to a lower-carbon economy, to report on their intentions and progress in a transparent and credible way.

While I may not be holding the pen for all these deliverables due to my own impending deliverable, I'm looking forward to coming back and seeing how things have evolved.

I want to see what’s happened internally as well as with the quality of reporting by public organisations and the overall progress by the public sector on emissions reductions strategies. A number of public organisations have targets for 2025 and this period is fast approaching. As is my due date!

Image credit: Kimberley Collins (CC BY 2.0).

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