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Progressing climate action by driving transformational change

Addressing the risks of climate change requires broad transformational change, Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr says.

In a speech delivered at the Pacific Ocean Pacific Climate Conference, Mr Orr reflected on the need for transformational change, as well as a collective and urgent response to climate risks.

“There’s a lot to do and we are late in leaving port. Climate change is a risk that requires a collective response. Grounding a response in our collective knowledge, data and expertise will strengthen and compound the effects of our actions.”

Like many other central banks and regulators, the Reserve Bank sees climate change as a key risk to the financial stability underpinning the economy.

Risks from climate change to financial stability include the impact of droughts and rising sea levels on asset valuations such as farms and houses. There are also risks associated with the transition to a low carbon economy, such as changing investor appetite and consumer demand.

The Reserve Bank developed a climate change strategy in 2018 to integrate climate considerations across its work. Significant progress has been made by the Bank since then including:

  • Reporting its own verified carbon footprint;
  • Building capability to understand climate-related risks in the sectors we regulate;
  • Training its supervisors in climate-related risks and integrating climate more intensively into our approach;
  • Raising awareness of climate-related risks to financial stability through external engagements and our biannual Financial Stability Reports; and
  • Leading through experience and collaboration with its involvement in the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), Sustainable Insurance Forum (SIF), and leading the Council of Financial Regulators’ (CoFR) Climate work stream.

Mr Orr welcomed developments towards mandatory climate-related financial disclosures.