Climate change and sustainability

Climate change and the sustainability of our land and our environment is becoming increasingly important for Aotearoa New Zealand.  As many businesses increase their commitment to developing environmental goals, we are dedicated to helping our clients on their journey.

Overview

Buddle Findlay is a leading provider of climate change and sustainability legal services.  As a full-service law firm, we have a broad range of expertise in these areas and offer a deep understanding of the sectors and the challenges and opportunities faced by our clients.

We advise on all commercial and regulatory aspects of climate change and emissions trading, for both public and private clients. 

Our finance team provides advice to both lenders and borrowers on a broad range of sustainable finance products, helping clients move to financing structures that incorporate ESG considerations.

Our financial services regulation team are at the forefront of climate reporting and financial regulation, providing advice to businesses and directors to help them understand and comply with their potential upcoming climate reporting obligations.   

We have a leading New Zealand litigation practice including experience in climate litigation. 

We have experience in providing advice on structuring and implementing arrangements in relation to carbon forestry. 

We advise public and private sector clients on a range of sustainable development and construction projects, providing advice across all aspects of the projects.

Our environment and resource management expertise is well-known in the market, advising on a broad range of environmental, infrastructure, climate change, and transport-related projects.  We are also well-versed in advising central and local government relating to Māori law and partnerships with iwi/hapū.

Within the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector, we advise clients on hydro, geothermal, wind and solar projects and on renewable energy planning matters.  We also provide advice to a number of participants in the electricity industry including the regulator, generators, retailers, lines companies and financiers. 

 

 

Experience

Carbon forestry


Our specialists in carbon forestry provide market-leading advice on structuring and implementing arrangements in relation to carbon forests and emissions trading.

This includes providing advice on the following:

  • NZ ETS matters including in relation to land categories (pre-90 and post-89), liabilities and emissions trading
  • Land acquisition
  • Forestry services
  • Security arrangements in relation to emissions units
  • Structuring and risk allocation
  • Carbon leases and end of life obligations.

We have acted on a number of the financing transactions in the market, advising different lenders from institution through to corporate / SME.

Work highlights


Advising on the establishment of Forest Partners

a forestry investment fund designed to provide a long-term supply of high quality carbon credits for its investors, as well as high quality timber for the domestic and international markets

Advising Rabobank

as lender and sustainability coordinator, in relation to the green loan facility provided to the New Zealand Carbon Farming Group, one of the largest contributors to New Zealand’s climate change efforts

Working with a leading lender

in the agricultural space to prepare precedent documentation to use in the corporate and business sector to accelerate the growth of financing emission units and carbon forests

Advising Bank of New Zealand

as lender in relation to an acquisition and working capital facility provided to the NZ Carbon Farming Group.  The facility part funded the acquisition of marginal farmland for conversion to forestry, together with planting and infrastructure costs


Key Contacts

Daniel Collins

Partner, Auckland

Matthew Triggs

Senior Associate, Auckland

Julia Gabrielle

Partner, Christchurch

Steve Nightingale

Partner, Wellington


Climate change and emissions trading


We are a leading provider of climate change legal services, advising on all commercial and regulatory aspects of climate change and emissions trading.  We have advised public and private sector clients on climate change and emissions trading issues since 2003.  We have a deep understanding of the area and can advise on all aspects of climate change legal issues, including regulatory requirements and the implications for businesses. 

Having advised clients on the development and implementation of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS), we have a unique understanding of how the scheme is designed and operates.  We also understand carbon markets, and the challenges and opportunities these present for business.

We advise on a range of emissions trading contracts, including spot and forward, and transactions involving the ISDA emissions trading annex.

Our clients include major NZ ETS participants, foresters, investors, traders and other businesses that interact with the NZ ETS. 

We also regularly publish on climate change and emissions trading topics.

Work highlights


Acting for Z Energy

and other clients on emissions trading and emissions unit procurement contracts

Advising on the establishment of Forest Partners

a forestry investment fund designed to provide a long-term supply of high quality carbon credits for its investors, as well as high quality timber for the domestic and international markets

Advising a global trading house

on participation in NZ ETS auctions run by the New Zealand government

Advising an international investor

on the NZ ETS and undertaking NZ ETS due diligence of a target business

Advising on the establishment of Drylandcarbon

a partnership of NZX listed companies Air New Zealand, Contact Energy, Genesis Energy and Z Energy, that has established a diversified portfolio of forests for both timber and carbon credits to meet their compliance surrender obligations under the NZ ETS

Advising a major NZ ETS participant

on its submission on the Climate Change Response (Emissions Trading Reform) Amendment Bill 2019, which provided for the introduction of a new auction and penalty regime relating to emissions trading

Advising a manufacturer/importer

on obligations under the Climate Change Response Act 2002 and notices from the Environmental Protection Authority

Advising on M&A transactions

involving carbon forestry assets, including advising on NZ ETS and Overseas Investment Office approval matters

Advising on NZ ETS 'opt-in' provisions

in major hydrocarbon supply contracts

Advising numerous large forestry clients

on the negotiation of sale and purchase of forestry land and forestry rights, including their obligations under the NZ ETS associated with such forests


Key Contacts

Steve Nightingale

Partner, Wellington

Alastair Hercus

Partner, Wellington

Julia Gabrielle

Partner, Christchurch

Lara Wood

Special Counsel, Auckland

Matthew Triggs

Senior Associate, Auckland


Climate litigation


We have a substantial and leading New Zealand litigation practice.  Our litigation team is regularly engaged to represent listed entities and other prominent clients in significant, complex, high-value litigation.

We act on a broad range of litigation, including resolving contractual, tortious, property, construction and valuation disputes.  We appear in all courts and spend a considerable amount of time working on mediations and other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Work highlights


Acting for New Zealand Steel

in defence of a claim seeking an injunction requiring New Zealand Steel (and other large New Zealand emitters of greenhouse gases) to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions

Acting for Waka Kotahi

defending a claim seeking to change the proposed location of a train station, for reasons including alleged breaches of various climate change obligations


Key Contacts

David Broadmore

Partner, Auckland

Vanessa Evitt

Partner, Auckland

Jack Parker

Senior Solicitor, Auckland


Climate reporting and financial regulation


From as early as 2024, climate reporting entities (including registered banks, insurers, credit unions and building societies) will be required to make climate-related financial disclosures and prepare climate statements.

Our financial services regulation team has market-leading expertise on the incoming climate reporting regime.

Businesses need to start engaging with their potential climate reporting obligations as soon as possible to ensure compliance and to develop the resources and agility to manage more upcoming expectations (whether those expectations are imposed by regulators, or by their shareholders, customers, and the public at large).

We have extensive experience helping businesses engage with regulators to shape incoming regulations, assisting directors navigate their personal regulatory obligations and advising businesses on all aspects of compliance with financial regulatory obligations.

We also regularly publish articles on climate reporting obligations.

Work highlights


Advising companies that are reporting entities under the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013

on whether they will be categorised as a climate reporting entity under the incoming legislation

Liaising with the Financial Markets Authority

on the implementation approach of the new climate reporting regime

Providing regulatory reports

on the development of the new climate reporting regime for clients including credit unions and building societies


Key Contacts

Scott Abel

Partner, Auckland

Lara Wood

Special Counsel, Auckland

Simon Jensen

Consultant, Wellington

Amman Bulchandani

Senior Solicitor, Auckland

Emma Geard

Senior Solicitor, Wellington


Environment and resource management


Our national Environment and resource management team has worked at the heart of New Zealand's most significant infrastructure projects and planning processes.  We are well-known in the market for working collaboratively with and providing timely and pragmatic legal advice to infrastructure proponents, other central and local government bodies, and other entities.

We advise extensively on climate change-related issues, including planning for climate change adaptation, consenting complex resilience projects, renewable energy generation, active transport infrastructure and assessing the carbon footprint of projects. 

We have acted in leading RMA litigation regarding planning for coastal hazards.

We also have market-leading expertise in advising central and local government on how to fulfil obligations to Māori and develop partnerships with iwi/hapū.

Work highlights


Acting for Kāpiti Coast District Council

on the development of its Proposed District Plan (PDP), and on highly contentious declaratory proceedings specifically related to the coastal hazard provisions in the PDP.  These proceedings are regarded as the leading litigation on coastal climate change issues under the RMA

Advising on the transformative RiverLink project

(cited recently as a case study in Te mahere urutaunga ā-motu (tuhunga hukihuki) - draft national adaptation plan), a partnership project led by Waka Kotahi, Hutt City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council with mana whenua project partners Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Taranaki Whānui ki Te Upoko ō Te Ika, encompassing transport improvements, urban renewal and flood protection upgrades along Te Awa Kairangi (Hutt River)

Advising on the Waka Kotahi Te Ara Tupua - Ngā Ūranga to Pito-One Shared Path Project

consented under the COVID-19 Recovery (Fast-Track Consenting) Act 2020.  The Project was specifically designed to provide resilience and protection against sea-level rise for this vital coastal infrastructure corridor (which contains State Highway 2 and the Hutt Valley/Wairarapa rail line)

Acting for Hutt City Council

on the Eastern Bays Shared Path Project, which involves a new seawall that will improve (and provide for future adaptions to) resilience to sea level rise and climate change in the coastal environment

Acting for Hawke's Bay Regional Council

in a peer review capacity on the Clinton to Tangoio Coastal Hazards Strategy 2120

Acting for Greater Wellington Regional Council

on its region-wide flood protection consents and related issues

Advising on the Waka Kotahi East West Link

which involved a substantial reclamation and embankment to provide new transport connections in Onehunga along with restoration of natural character, improved coastal water quality, better coastal access and protection from coastal flooding for existing industrial areas.  We have also been involved in appeals to the High Court and the Supreme Court, which will likely be the leading case authority about the application of the New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement

Advising councils throughout the country

on the development of planning instruments and plan-related litigation, including through the plan development and section 32 analysis, hearings and appeal processes, as well as on strategic planning and policy issues, including in respect of climate change adaptation, coastal hazards, and related issues


Key Contacts

David Randal

Partner, Wellington

David Allen

Partner, Wellington

Paul Beverley

Partner, Wellington

Jennifer Caldwell

Partner, Auckland
National Chair

Vanessa Evitt

Partner, Auckland

Thaddeus Ryan

Special Counsel, Wellington

Frances Wedde

Special Counsel, Wellington

Cedric Carranceja

Special Counsel, Christchurch


Renewable energy and energy efficiency


We are a leader in the energy sector and stand at the centre of many key developments in the New Zealand energy industry.  Our energy and resources expertise includes extensive experience in the renewable energy sector.  We advise a range of clients on hydro, geothermal, wind and solar projects and on renewable energy planning matters.

We are also a key adviser to the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA) – a Crown entity dedicated to promoting energy efficiency, energy conservation and the use of renewable sources of energy.

Work highlights


Advising Contact Energy

on the construction of the Te Mihi geothermal electricity generation project

Advising Contact Energy

on obtaining resource consents and designations associated with several wind farms and geothermal power stations

Advising Ormat Technologies

as supplier and EPC contractor in relation to the development and construction of various geothermal generation facilities in New Zealand and internationally

Advising BioPlant

in relation to the proposed development of waste to energy plants

Advising a solar power purchase agreement provider

on establishing its small-scale distributed generation of renewable energy in New Zealand, including regulatory issues under the Electricity Industry Act

Advising the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA)

on energy efficiency initiatives, regulatory, contracting and procurement processes – for example, advising on the Warmer Kiwi Homes and Warm Up New Zealand programmes for insulation and heat pump installations, including drafting contracts for providers and providing advice on the implementation of the programmes

Advising the Electricity Authority

on amendments to the Electricity Industry Participation Code

Advising CBS Power

in relation to solar farm developments in the Pacific Islands

Advising various lenders

providing project financing for the development of electricity generation (solar, wind and geothermal)


Key Contacts

Tony Dellow

Partner, Wellington

Steve Nightingale

Partner, Wellington

Charlotte von Dadelszen

Partner, Wellington
Board of Management

David Randal

Partner, Wellington

David Allen

Partner, Wellington

Anna Parker

Senior Associate, Auckland

Laura Green

Senior Solicitor, Wellington


Sustainable finance


Our specialists in sustainable finance provide market-leading advice on a broad spectrum of sustainable finance products.

These sustainable finance products include: 

  • Sustainability linked loans
  • Green loans
  • Impact and social investing
  • Carbon trading products
  • Green bonds and other sustainable bonds.

We have acted on a number of the leading transactions in the market, advising lenders and borrowers across a broad range of sectors.

We continue to lead the shift towards financing structures which incorporate ESG considerations.  We look for innovative and pragmatic solutions to assist our clients to reach their sustainability ambitions.

Work highlights


Advising Rabobank

as lender and sustainability coordinator on the upsizing of its green loan facility provided to New Zealand Carbon Farming Group - the largest provider of carbon credits in Australasia

Acting as lead counsel for ANZ Bank New Zealand

(as agent, security trustee and sustainability coordinator) and the banking syndicate to complete a refinance of the syndicated loan to Summerset Group for approximately NZ$1.2b, incorporating a NZ$700m sustainability linked loan component

Advising Bank of New Zealand

in developing its sustainability linked loans precedent, with such loans being the first incentive-based loans available for New Zealand farmers and growers

Partnering with a major bank

on the project financing of the Kapuni Green Hydrogen Project being undertaken by Hiringa and Balance Agri-Nutrients - this is the first privately financed green hydrogen project in the Southern Hemisphere

Advising Bank of New Zealand

on a sustainability linked loan to Deloitte, which was the first sustainability linked loan to a professional services organisation in New Zealand

Advising Bank of New Zealand and ASB Bank

on the first on farm sustainability linked loan in New Zealand

Advising Contact Energy

on its conversion of NZ$305m of bilateral loan agreements to sustainably linked loans

Advising Contact Energy

on its NZ$225m green capital bond (NZ Debt Market Issue of the Year - 2022 INFINZ Awards)


Key Contacts

Daniel Collins

Partner, Auckland

Miriam Andrews

Partner, Auckland

Paul Farrugia

Partner, Auckland
Board of Management

Peter Owles

Partner, Auckland

Sarah McEwan

Partner, Auckland

Danielle Brittain

Senior Associate, Auckland

Matthew Triggs

Senior Associate, Auckland

Paul Appleyard

Senior Associate, Auckland

Tom Montgomerie

Senior Associate, Auckland


Sustainable development and construction


We are a national property and construction practice, best known for our work on high-profile, complex, and technically challenging projects.

We advise public and private sector clients on a range of sustainable development and construction projects, as demonstrated by our work highlights.

We are a provider of choice to some of New Zealand's most important and innovative renewable projects.  We are experienced in advising different participants within such projects (including principles, contractor and, funders).

We are acknowledged as a market leader in collaborative working relationships with our clients and stakeholders.  We provide multi-disciplinary advice to clients across all aspects of a development project.  We provide ongoing support throughout the project's life, enabling clients to achieve their ESG and sustainability outcomes.

Work highlights


Advising debt funders for the Kapuni Green Hydrogen Project

an innovative project in the New Zealand market, with four new wind turbines supplying electricity to the grid, an agricultural plant, and also to produce green hydrogen by electrolysis.  We advised on the structuring and procurement of the project, all construction and O&M contracts, and various funding documents

Advising equity funders

on a proposed investment in a major solar farm project.  This is an important and innovative project for the solar sector in New Zealand, with a number of solar farms to be constructed across New Zealand.  We completed a full legal due diligence, and advised the investor on all principal project documents (most notably the EPC Contract and Plant Supply Contract).  We also advised on the corporate documents associated with the investment and the third party funding documents for the target

Acting for Auckland Council and Auckland Transport

on the $4.4b City Rail Link project, being New Zealand's largest infrastructure project and the recipient of the 2018 Sustainable Business Network’s Supreme Award.  The project reduces greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts, while developing Auckland's much needed public transport infrastructure

Advising Electronet Services

on negotiation of a design and build construction contracts for plant and transmission line works for numerous Wind Farm projects and an associated operation and maintenance contract

Advising both contractors and landowners

on negotiation of solar farm development agreements

Advising Drylandcarbon

on all property aspects relating to the deployment of its committed capital, including land acquisitions, forestry right agreements and registered property rights

Advising Forest Partners

on all property aspects relating to the deployment of its committed capital, including land acquisitions, forestry right agreements and registered property rights

Acting for Contact Energy

on its wind farm development projects across New Zealand, including preparing terms sheets, development agreements, investigations licences, forms of easements, and royalty agreements

Advising Westpower

on construction contracts for the construction of a hydro power station (NZS 3910 and NEC)

Advising Landcorp Farming

on negotiating an option agreement and long-term easement for the construction and operation of a proposed wind farm by Tilt Renewables

Advising a contractor

on the construction of solar generation facilities in the Solomon Islands

Advising international wind turbine fabricator

on construction contracting arrangements for the Turitea wind farm


Key Contacts

Charlotte von Dadelszen

Partner, Wellington
Board of Management

Louise Brazier

Senior Associate, Wellington

Julia Gabrielle

Partner, Christchurch

Tom Bennett

Partner, Auckland

Stephanie Snedden

Senior Associate, Wellington