Climate Change

Home Expertise Climate Change

Solutions for the future

From the enactment of the Zero Carbon Act to reform of the resource management framework to policy initiatives arising from the Climate Change Commission's work, the Government has made addressing climate change a clear priority. Further legislative and policy changes are expected, and these changes will focus on both reducing emissions and adapting to the long-term effects of climate change.

In light of these continuing changes, a greater degree of compliance will be required from industry, but there will be new opportunities to capitalise on emissions markets, and low or carbon-free ventures to take advantage of. We expect action on climate change to cut across all industries and sectors, making a joined-up approach to problem solving essential.


Russell McVeagh has a specialist, multi-disciplinary team able to assist you across a wide range of the continually evolving issues in this fast-moving area of law. For example, we advise and assist our clients in relation to:

  • Regulatory activity, including policy and law reform engagement as well as continued legal compliance (for example, in relation to climate-related financial reporting and disclosures).
  • Mitigation and adaption measures, including mitigation strategy development and legal structuring in relation to climate issues under M&A and commercial contracts.
  • Climate risk and threats, including climate-related litigation, governance issues, risk identification and assessment.
  • Climate change related projects, including clean energy and carbon sink projects, transactions involving the Emissions Trading Scheme, green bonds and other sustainable finance.
  • Resource management, including major infrastructure projects facing climate change-related constraints and challenges.


Examples of our work in this area include:

  • Advising on the first shipping loan in the world to be certified under the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI)'s framework.
  • Assisting clients with Government engagement and legislative reform, including submissions on the Zero Carbon Bill, relevant regulations, the Climate Change Commission's advice and resource management reform.
  • Advising on reporting standards and obligations in relation to climate change, including under the NZX's Corporate Governance Code, the NZX Environmental, Social and Governance Guidance Note, and the proposed mandatory reporting regime that would be introduced by the Financial Sector (Climate-related Disclosures and Other Matters) Amendment Bill.
  • Assisting with commercial contracting, structuring and M&A in the context of climate-related projects, including facilitating the integration of ESG metrics within legal / project frameworks.
  • Advising on the new and current role of climate change under the Resource Management Act, including the interface with the Climate Change Response Act, particularly in relation to large scale development projects.
  • Assisting clients in relation to Commerce Commission and Financial Markets Authority scrutiny in the climate change area, including in relation to carbon reduction or neutrality claims and 'greenwashing' advertising representations.
  • Advising on compliance under the NZ ETS, including in respect of reporting obligations and emissions liabilities.
  • Advising on agreements between NZ ETS market participants to align arrangements with the statutory framework, ensure smooth and effective unit transfers, and allocate liability for regulatory changes.
  • Assisting social enterprises with climate-related purposes with structuring arrangements.
  • Advising on the establishment and tax implications of a sustainability-linked loan facility that is underpinned by sustainability metrics and targets, including greenhouse gas emissions.  
  • Advising on the possibility of launching green bond offers in New Zealand, as well as the viability of other green funds.
  • Advising on the establishment of DrylandCarbon, a limited partnership co-investment structure in carbon forestry between Air New Zealand, Contact Energy, Genesis Energy and Z Energy.
  • Representing Genesis in Greenpeace New Zealand Inc v Genesis Power Ltd [2008] NZSC 112, the first climate change case in New Zealand. This case considered whether greenhouse gas emissions could be taken into account under the Resource Management Act in the context of a proposal to build a new gas-fired power station.  
  • Acting in a wide range of representative actions and judicial reviews, both of which are fertile ground for climate-related litigation.

Please get in touch with any of the people below with your query. We look forward to hearing from you.

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