Chapter Zero NZ celebrates first anniversary and launch of Board Toolkit

Article author
Article by Institute of Directors
Publish date
3 Mar 2023
Reading time
1 min

Chapter Zero New Zealand celebrated its first anniversary on 3 March. The organisation has gone from strength to strength since its launch in 2022:

  • More than 850 directors signed up as Supporters.
  • The website has received more than 90,000+ page views.
  • It has built a community of 1,000+ followers on LinkedIn.
  • The governance community heard from more than 40 New Zealand or international experts through Chapter NZ events.
  • Five Foundation Partners have come on board to support the initiative: Ākina, Anthem, Dentons Kensington Swan, Hobson Leavy and KPMG.
  • It is currently undertaking New Zealand’s first Climate Governance Survey.

The anniversary was marked by the launch of the Chapter Zero NZ Board Toolkit. This provides directors with a simple yet practical framework to ensure the climate challenge is being effectively addressed at the board table.

The Toolkit is primarily targeted at boards with limited resources and support for climate action, including small- and medium-sized enterprises and not-for-profit organisations.

Originally developed by Chapter Zero in the UK, with partners The Berkeley Partnership and The Centre for Climate Engagement, this version of the Toolkit has been adapted and updated for New Zealand directors.

“Over the past year it has been encouraging to see so many directors getting involved in the climate conversation,” says Dame Therese, who chairs the boards of Air New Zealand and ASB Bank.

“Chapter Zero New Zealand now has more than 850 directors signed up, representing some of our largest companies across a range of industries. Our free resources have been well utilised, and we’ve seen sell-out audiences at our in-person climate governance events.”

This demonstrates the growing awareness of climate change across the governance community and the urgent need for support in how to address it in a tangible and impactful way, she says.

“This is a really big issue that requires honest conversations and a will to find practical solutions. That’s is what Chapter Zero NZ exists for – to help New Zealand directors understand how their organisations fit into the bigger picture and to leverage global knowledge to find better ways forward.”

Among the members of Chapter Zero NZ’s Steering Committee are directors involved across a range of sectors including energy (Mercury, Meridian, Vector), banking and finance (ANZ, ASB, Westpac, NZX), the primary sector (a2 Milk, Fonterra, Sanford, Zespri), transport (Air New Zealand, Auckland Airport, Freightways), health (Fisher and Paykel Healthcare) as well as the tourism and creative sectors.

“There is a lot to think about and expectations and scenarios – as Cyclone Gabrielle has recently reminded us – can change quickly,” says Dame Therese.

“I would encourage my fellow directors who have not yet engaged with us to join Chapter Zero NZ. Help bring this issue to the fore in the governance community and contribute to the search for solutions. Climate change cannot be left in the too-hard basket. It must be an item on the board agenda to be discussed, understood and acted on.”