New Zealand has cracked the top 10 in a new index looking at net zero emission readiness, but it is ranked below some of the most heavily industrialised countries in the world.

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The Net Zero Readiness Index from business advisory firm KPMG, looked at 32 countries from developed and emerging economies.

Sector readiness covered the five highest emitting sectors: electricity and heat, transport, buildings and industry and agriculture.

New Zealand is ranked 9th, behind countries including France, Germany Japan and the leader Norway.

KPMG executive chair Matt Prichard said the 9th placing was partly down to the strength of the other countries.

“We’ve come off less well in the survey in terms of our capacity and our capability. Most of the countries that are ranked ahead of us are bigger, stronger countries who actually have more muscle to throw at actually achieving those objectives.”

But New Zealand’s agri-food sector is ranked first for decarbonisation preparedness for agriculture, land use and forestry.

Pritchard said the overall ranking of 9th was “great to see”.

He said it was a testament to the ambition and hard work of key sectors.

“They also reflect our unique sense of kaitiakitanga, our pride in our whenua, biodiversity, and culture. New Zealand has world-first legislation, such as mandating the use of taskforce on climate-related financial disclosures recommendations, and the carbon neutral government programme.

“We can be justifiably proud of the progress we have made over the last decade, but we still have considerable work to do.”

While the New Zealand ranking was driven by the agricultural sector’s readiness, Pritchard said it does not rank in the top five of the other four highest-emitting sectors evaluated – electricity and heat, transport, buildings and industry.

“There is also nuance to the findings that we must consider. New Zealand is one of nine countries in the Index which has made their net zero commitments legally binding. We know that political will is a critical factor in our drive to net zero.

“Our commitment does not correlate with our delivery capability across the five highest-emitting sectors, as we are still behind some countries that haven’t legislated net zero.”

Net Zero Readiness Index Top 10

  • 1. Norway
  • 2. United Kingdom
  • 3. Sweden
  • 4. Denmark
  • 5. Germany
  • 6. France
  • 7. Japan
  • 8. Canada
  • 9. New Zealand
  • 10. Italy