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NZX Amends Corporate Governance Code to Raise ESG Bar

NZX, operator of New Zealand’s stock market, has amended its corporate governance code, listing rules and ESG guidance, with effect from April. The amended corporate governance code recommends issuers consider adopting formal whistleblowing procedures and calls on issuers to provide code of ethics training to staff at least once every three years, and disclose when training was last provided. The code also says issuers should disclose more information about their directors, including attendance at board meetings, board assessments of director independence, and board succession planning arrangements. The amended code says issuers in the S&P/NZX 20 Index should target having at least 30% of directors who self-identify as male and at least 30% who self-identify as female. An amended ESG guidance note outlines good ESG practices, and accepted frameworks for issuers to consider adopting when making their ESG disclosures. Since legislation passed in 2021, climate-related disclosures are mandatory for organisations, including listed issuers of quoted debt or equity securities with a market cap of more than NZ$60 million. The amended listing rules incorporate requirements for the annual reports to contain climate statements unless the issuer is specifically exempt.

 

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