Leading companies release first-of-its-kind guide to build climate change resilienceJuly 11th, 2012 | by Heather Coleman
Extreme weather is putting climate change back on the radar this summer. Record high heat in the Midwest and mid-Atlantic, raging wildfires in the Rockies, deadly wind and thunder storms, and a drought covering more than half of the country have people connecting the dots between climate change and extreme weather events.
But it’s not just weather reports that are telling the story. Now businesses are also connecting extreme weather and climate change to their bottom lines.
It’s no wonder that some businesses have noticed the seriousness of what’s happening on the climate front. Nine of out ten companies have suffered weather-related impacts in the past three years and most have seen an intensification of such impacts. The 2011 record-setting drought in Texas, for example, cost the agricultural sector at least $7.6 billion dollars. In the words of the CEO of Duke Energy, “If we’re not ready, we’re in trouble.”
But while some businesses recognize the impact that climate change is having on their supply chains and operations, many say they do not feel sufficiently informed to take action, especially when it comes to how they relate to vulnerable communities. Today, leading companies from the food and beverage, insurance, investment, technology, and energy industries are hoping to fill that gap with a new guide and tool-kit.
The companies engaged in PREP (Partnership for Resilience and Environmental Preparedness) have just released a first-of-its-kind step-by-step guide—the Value Chain Climate Resilience Guide—to spur corporate executives and senior managers to integrate climate resilience throughout their value chains, including how they address climate impacts that are harming vulnerable communities.
The guide includes Business ADAPT, a step-by-step tool designed for businesses to assess and prepare for the risks and opportunities posed by climate change. The tool follows five basic steps to help companies understand the risks they face, take into account the needs of vulnerable communities, identify emerging market opportunities, and effectively manage threats to their bottom line. Each step includes a series of guiding questions that are inspired by existing good practice and are designed to focus on the connection between value chains and community and ecosystem vulnerabilities.
More detailed guidance is provided for sectors that are considered highly vulnerable, including water and energy utilities and companies in the food, beverage, agriculture, and general manufacturing industries.
The Value Chain Climate Resilience guide marks an important step forward in corporate sustainability. By helping businesses manage risks and tap into market opportunities associated with climate change, these businesses are paving the way towards addressing the impacts of a changing climate on companies and communities.