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Climate Change

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in Earth's average temperature and weather patterns, primarily caused by human activities. It leads to a range of adverse effects, including rising global temperatures, sea-level rise, extreme weather events, and disruptions to ecosystems. These changes have significant impacts on both natural and human systems. This section explores its implications for the sector. It delves into the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change, including the impact of recent extreme weather events


In the rapidly evolving landscape of the Access Trades sector, climate change has emerged as a pressing concern, presenting both challenges and opportunities. Many participants emphasise the significance of recognising climate change as one of the most significant trends for the sector, given its direct influence on the industry's work and sustainability. Notwithstanding this, there is uncertainty and a lack of knowledge regarding the specific impact of climate change on the sector and its associated industries.

The impacts vary across industries within the sector. While some industries face immediate and tangible consequences, such as damage from extreme weather events, the specific impacts on others may be less immediate or apparent. However, changes in weather patterns can disrupt project schedules, affect worker safety, and complicate logistical operations.

One of the primary issues identified is the surge in regulatory changes and audit processes related to environmental sustainability. With growing pressure to comply with sustainability standards and monitor environmental performance, businesses in the Access Trades sector find themselves allocating significant resources to meet these requirements. This often involves investing in new technologies and training, resulting in increased operating expenses. Moreover, the absence of government support in terms of policies or incentives further complicates the financial landscape for these businesses.

Industry leaders note that “climate change has had a direct impact on our industry and workforce dynamics.” The demand for specialised work, such as geotechnical repairs, is increasing, but finding skilled workers remains a challenge. To address this, industry players are investing in internal training programmes and exploring recruitment strategies to attract and retain qualified individuals. They recognise the importance of adapting to changing dynamics and creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and included.

Maintenance for longevity and sustainability is another critical aspect recognised by industry participants. They emphasise the importance of regular cleaning and maintenance activities to extend the lifespan of structures, reduce the need for replacements, and minimise the environmental impact of manufacturing and construction. This focus on proactive maintenance aligns with sustainability goals and contributes to environmental stewardship.

Water resource management has also emerged as a key concern raised by industry leaders. They acknowledge the need to adapt cleaning practices to prioritise water conservation, especially in the face of increasing water scarcity in certain regions. Exploring alternative cleaning methods that minimise water consumption and discharge while maintaining service quality and effectiveness is deemed crucial.

Furthermore, as mentioned in Honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi section, industry leaders draw parallels between kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and environmental stewardship. By embracing the principles of kaitiakitanga and tikanga, the sector acknowledges its responsibility to care for the land, waterways, and environment. Going beyond legal obligations and showing respect for cultural significance and preserving native plants.

  • Impact of extreme weather events

  • Uncertainty and lack of knowledge

  • Regulatory changes and environmental sustainability

  • Skilled workforce and training

  • Maintenance for longevity and sustainability

  • Water resource management

  • Cultural respect and environmental stewardship

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