An overhaul of NZX listing rules has been credited as a key stepping stone for the first carbon fund in the world to list on the New Zealand share market.

NZX chief executive Mark Peterson yesterday welcomed Salt Funds' Carbon Fund, which debuted under the ticker code Co2 at its listing price of $1 per unit.

"The simplification of listing rules, the broadening out of those rules to actually cater for products like this is exactly where we want to go and this is a fantastic example," Peterson said before inviting Salt managing director Paul Harrison to ring the listing bell.

The fund, which received more than $1 million in applications from a range of investors, intends to buy carbon credits in emissions trading schemes in New Zealand and offshore.

It is designed to give individuals and organisations a chance to invest in or offset carbon.


Harrison said as far as investment went it was unchartered territory so it was pleasing to get a strong response from both retail and institutional investors.

The fund is open-ended and will continue to accept applications.

The fund's launch comes amid a global focus on tackling climate change and moves by the New Zealand government to front foot the issue. However, it appears unlikely New Zealand would be able to meet its obligations under the Paris agreement. The Treasury is forecasting a liability of between $14 billion and $37b over 2021 to 2030.

Harrison said since Salt started work on the Carbon Fund six years ago there was increasing focus on "what kind of legacy we are leaving for our children."

"It's taken the carbon price to get to $25 for companies to start talking about decarbonisation.

"I think It's going to be an important issue for investors because in five-years time you don't want to be sitting in a company that's struggling because it's still emitting lots of greenhouse gases and you've got consumers turning off and who knows what the carbon price will be."

The listing process was complicated, given the nature of the product, but made easier when the NZX revamped its rules and prices late last month.

"We've learnt a lot through this and the NZX has been great … I think we were trying to jam a square peg into a round poll for a while until the rules changed."