Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, and Te Ao Māori


The Climate Change and Business Conference (CCBC) 2023 unfolded over two impactful days, bringing to the forefront the pressing issues of climate mitigation, adaptation, and the integration of Te Ao Māori wisdom. This blog provides a concise overview of the key themes and insights from both days, shedding light on the intersection of these critical aspects.


Day 1: Setting the Stage for Action

Climate Action Urgency

Day 1 began with an urgent call to action. Speakers underscored the need for aggressive emission reduction targets, such as achieving a 43% reduction by 2030, to limit global temperature rise.

The role of individuals and businesses in addressing climate change was underscored, emphasising the concept of a "climate shadow" rather than just a carbon footprint.

Protect, Restore, Regenerate

The importance of nature-based solutions, including tree planting and blue carbon initiatives, was emphasised as crucial strategies for mitigating climate change.

Te Ao Māori and Sustainability

Indigenous knowledge from Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei showcased how Te Ao Māori traditions and ancient stories can inform sustainable practices and climate action. As one speaker noted, "Māori possess a unique Matauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) that can be harnessed to drive sustainability and address climate challenges."


Day 2: Deepening the Conversation

Balancing Mitigation and Adaptation

Day 2 reinforced the interconnectedness of climate mitigation and adaptation efforts. Adapting to climate impacts is equally vital as mitigating emissions to ensure business and environmental resilience. One participant emphasised, "Mitigation alone is not enough; we must also adapt to the changing climate landscape."

Te Ao Māori Wisdom

Te Ao Māori principles continued to influence discussions, emphasising the value of Māori knowledge in addressing climate challenges and fostering sustainability. A speaker highlighted, "Māori knowledge, or Matauranga Māori, is not just a cultural asset but a valuable resource that can guide sustainable practices."

Collaboration and Kotahitanga

The concept of unity, or Kotahitanga, was woven into discussions, highlighting the importance of collaboration among businesses, communities, and indigenous groups in climate action. As one participant eloquently put it, "Kotahitanga reminds us that we are stronger together, and unity is key to driving effective climate solutions."


Key Insights from CCBC

Nature-Based Solutions: The consensus was clear on the significance of nature-based solutions such as tree planting, blue carbon initiatives, and ecological restoration in mitigating climate change. As one speaker emphasised, "Nature-based solutions are a manifestation of our Matauranga Māori, rooted in the deep connection between our people and the environment."

Māori Knowledge: Te Ao Māori perspectives provided valuable insights into sustainable practices and climate adaptation. The integration of indigenous knowledge, cultural values, and traditions offers a holistic approach to addressing climate challenges. As another participant noted, "Māori possess a wealth of knowledge, and it's time to monetize Matauranga Māori, recognising its monetary value."

The Power of Advocacy: Katherina Hayhoe of The Nature Conservancy stressed the significance of individual and collective voices in driving climate action. She noted, "Our voice is the most powerful tool we have," highlighting the role of advocacy in effecting change.

Transparency in Transition Planning: The importance of sharing credible transition plans and explaining gaps and assumptions was stressed, particularly in areas like customer behaviour and public policy. This transparency ensures that businesses are accountable for their sustainability commitments.

Policy and Transition Challenges: Companies were advised to establish realistic targets and transition plans to avoid accusations of greenwashing and potential litigation risks. The risks of regulatory and activist scrutiny were noted, emphasising the importance of responsible transition plans. Political factors were identified as significant speed limiters in the transition to a low-carbon economy, with calls for supportive policies and demand-side efforts.


Conclusion: A Unified Path Forward

The Climate Change and Business Conference illuminated the inextricable link between climate mitigation, adaptation, and Te Ao Māori values. The urgent need to reduce emissions, embrace nature-based solutions, leverage indigenous knowledge, and advocate for change underscores the complex but unified path forward in the climate crisis fight. By integrating these key themes and recognising the value of Matauranga Māori, businesses and communities can build resilience, foster sustainability, and contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future.

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