The risks and opportunities climate change poses for business

Climate change creates risks for all businesses and incorrectly assessing the impact of climate change on in the market they operate puts sustainable growth at risk.

Data shows the world just experienced its single-hottest month on record in July, beating records set just 12 months ago, and 2016 looks virtually certain to be the hottest year ever according to scientists.

"It’s critical to remember all businesses have customers who could be impacted by climate change."
Katharine Tapley, Head of Sustainable Finance Solutions at ANZ (Acting)

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It is critical to remember all businesses have customers who could be impacted by climate change in the form of severe weather events, changes in government policy and regulation as well as climate-change adaptation mechanisms.

But with those risks come opportunities, including the opportunity to make economically sound investments to transition to a lower-carbon economy. Businesses can and should use their capabilities to help their customers make that transition.

ANZ advises customers on areas such as energy efficiency improvement, low-carbon energy generation, resilient infrastructure and carbon abatement. The bank offers funding for those kinds of activities and look to facilitate investment in technologies that lead to lower emissions.

These moves also make commercial sense as more and more customers seek to support companies with strong environmental credentials across all sectors. As Qantas Group Manager Environment & Carbon Strategy Megan Flynn recently told the World Wildlife Fund, there is a “…growing consumer, employee and even investor awareness around a business’s environmental credentials.”

Katharine Tapley recently spent time speaking with the World Wildlife Fund about the risks and opportunities of climate change. You can listen to the podcast HERE.


As climate change places growing strains on the world’s resources, Australia has been named by HSBC in the top 15 countries most like to be affected by its effects. 

ANZ supports the goal of governments around the world to limit global average temperatures rises to no more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Given ANZ’s presence in the Pacific, the bank is especially sensitive to the risks there many Pacific Islanders face, particularly around rising sea levels.

ANZ has committed to funding and facilitating at least $A10 billion in investment towards transitioning to a lower-carbon economy by 2020. This includes investment into renewable energy generation, green buildings and less-emission intensive manufacturing and transport.

Green bonds worth $A600 million have also been issued as part of ANZ’s belief in addressing climate change, but also because gives us credibility to encourage customers to do the same. The bank is actively pursuing opportunities in the Australian, New Zealand and Asian markets with our customers to encourage their issuance of green bonds.

This is happening in businesses across different sectors. Simplot, the owner of fishery brand John West, shares a similar goal, according to Kaelene McLennan, is Corporate Affairs, Sustainability & Communications Manager at Simplot.

“Our sustainability goal includes not only looking at the sustainability of our food products, but also becoming heavily involved in doing more for the regions from where we were sourcing our raw materials,” she told the World Wildlife Fund.


NGOs play a really important role in helping and encouraging the private sector to invest in climate finance and activities. They can help inform the private sector's understanding of community sentiment. Partnerships between the two groups are vital.

“Where public and private finance partnerships work really well is that they bring more money to market faster, into projects which would generally be considered too high risk to be invested in today,” Emma Herd, CEO of the Investor Group on Climate Change told the World Wildlife Fund.

“That kind of partnership approach is incredibly important in terms of meeting the time challenge that we have with the issue of climate change.”

ANZ has entered a partnership with the Australian Water Association and are working to create opportunities with the association’s members to export expertise and services offshore, particularly in Southeast Asian markets where water reform in under way.

There is plenty of expertise within the Australian market ANZ can assist with, so we're working to facilitate the funding and opportunities for those services to be exported. 

As the facilitators of finance it’s incumbent on organisations like ANZ to address the risks of climate change given the economic, environmental and moral imperative for doing so.

Katharine Tapley is currently Head of Sustainable Finance Solutions at ANZ (Acting)

You can listen to her share thoughts with the World Wildlife Fund HERE.

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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