Our low carbon future - one contract at a time
Source: New Zealand Green Investment Finance
New Zealand Green Investment Finance (NZGIF) has launched the New Zealand Climate Clause Bank, a free resource that can help businesses make small climate-friendly changes that, across the economy, can have a big impact on emissions reductions.
The New Zealand Climate Clause Bank builds on the work of The Chancery Lane Project (TCLP), a global collective of lawyers based in the UK using contracts to help deliver climate solutions. Many of the clauses in the New Zealand Climate Clause Bank have been adapted from TCLP’s work and modified for use in Aotearoa.
Developed by NZGIF in collaboration with of some of Aotearoa’s leading national and regional law firms, the New Zealand Climate Clause Bank is a suite of template clauses for contracts that can help drive better climate outcomes. Contributing law firms were Anderson Lloyd, Anthony Harper, Bell Gully, Buddle Findlay, Chapman Tripp, DLA Piper, Knapps Lawyers, Lane Neave, MinterEllisonRuddWatts, Russell McVeagh and Simpson Grierson.
The clauses allow contract parties to take small steps to operate more sustainably in their interactions, for example, by measuring and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, procuring or delivering low carbon goods and services, and minimising air travel.
“These clauses have the potential to significantly change the way businesses think about climate change and their role in mitigating it”, says NZGIF Head of Legal Ian MacKenzie, who led the development of the clauses.
“Businesses could proactively use their contracts with others to get closer to our low carbon future by taking small actions across various commercial agreements. In future, sustainability won’t be an afterthought in contract drafting - it will be built in from the start."
“For example, one of the clauses is designed to ensure that dispute resolution is handled in a manner that minimises travel and excessive paper usage and includes a commitment by both parties to offset emissions arising from any dispute. By ensuring parties commit to greener dispute resolution practices, parties can reduce emissions and energy use and contribute to Aotearoa’s decarbonisation.”
NZGIF Chief Executive Craig Weise added, “Climate change isn’t something that will happen in the future - it is happening now. Action on climate issues is critical and every bit helps, no matter how small or insignificant it seems. If many law firms across the country adopt these clauses, together we can enable a greater impact on decarbonisation.”
“We’re proud to lead this piece of work that can help businesses make a meaningful contribution to climate change mitigation. Bringing together so many of the country’s top law firms to work on this project demonstrates the sort of collaboration that’s needed to address climate change.”
Phoebe Roberts, TCLP’s Director of Implementation and Co-Lead APAC, says, “We are delighted that the legal community in Aotearoa New Zealand has come together with NZGIF to further TCLP’s work in combating climate change through contract drafting. We hope that this initiative can be the model for lawyers around the world to collaborate for the health of our planet.”
All businesses are encouraged to look at the New Zealand Climate Clause Bank and consider how the clauses might be able to assist in their own sustainability journey.