Legal and regulatory update for the life and health insurance sector
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New carbon emissions calculator for SMEs, and other news

BNZ has launched a Carbon Emissions Calculator, a tool to help SMEs identify ways to reduce their emissions.

“The Carbon Emissions Calculator is an absolute game-changer for SMEs, the New Zealand economy, and the climate, delivering specific advice to SMEs on how to measure and reduce their emissions,” said Rebekah Cain, BNZ chief sustainability officer…. “A busy SME owner can now simply answer a few simple questions and get a bespoke and tailored plan, totally unique to their needs, to reduce their emissions.”

With BNZ dedicated to becoming net zero on carbon emissions on lending and investment by 2050, they are aiming to get 50% of their SME customers measuring their emissions, setting reductions targets and reporting on their climate change impact by 2025.

“It’s one thing to have a plan, but it’s another thing to have the capital and resources to put it into action,” Cain said. “By taking the calculator’s outputs, we hope to be able to link green financing to help SMEs achieve their emissions goals, and we’re extremely excited about the potential for this to really accelerate the transformation.”

These loans are becoming more common, with Silver Fern Farms recently announcing they have entered into a sustainability-linked working capital financing facility. For more information on measuring and reducing your business’ carbon emissions, the government’s Climate Action Toolbox is a useful resource.

At Chatswood, our view is that there is increasing interest amongst consumers in ensuring that their expenditure on insurance or their investments are supporting a sustainable future. The financial service sector will soon receive guidance from the External Reporting Board (XRB) when it commences a consultation on 28 July on new disclosure requirements for climate related risks. The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has established a climate reporting team and the sector is engaging with the FMA to work through the requirements.

Advisers in the investment planning sector have for some time applied the principles of responsible investing to enable offering a service to clients with these concerns. By combining both shortly after the mandatory disclosure requirements come into force, it should be possible for an insurance adviser to provide a similar service, creating a new opportunity to differentiate the advice service.

Those of you who would like to know more should contact us about our forthcoming research on the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) policies of insurers.

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