Promoting business resilience to climate change

Commit to responsible climate adaptation

Aligning to a 1.5˚C World—Accelerating Business Action for Resilient Economies and Communities

The impact of climate change is already being felt. Warming oceans, water variability and increasing incidences of drought, flooding, snow melt and climate-related diseases are already negatively affecting business and society. Failure to adapt to these circumstances will have serious long term consequences for the resilience and sustainability of businesses. And investors are finally beginning to take notice with estimates placing trillions of dollars in manageable assets at risk due to climate change.

Recognizing the severity of the issues before us, the Paris Agreement was a call to action on climate mitigation and on adaptation with a global goal to:

  1. Enhance adaptive capacity and resilience
  2. Reduce vulnerability by contributing to sustainable development to ensure an adequate adaptation response, so that we can meet the goal of holding average global warming below 1.5˚C

This call builds on previous frameworks such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and recognizes that effective adaptation and resilience measures can contribute considerably to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the 17 Global Goals. Indeed, effective sustainable development policies must acknowledge climate realities by contributing to positive mitigation and adaptation outcomes.

Given the crisis at hand, it is no longer possible to focus only on mitigation — there is a great need to address adaption and resilience as well. Although there are clear and distinct actions we can take, we must continue to identify and scale those actions to contribute to the climate agenda in a more holistic way. Businesses can play a critical role in highlighting the opportunities at the nexus of mitigation and adaptation and also help by implementing policies that result in more resilient and just economies.

To support the UN climate and sustainable development agendas and promote resilient businesses, we call on companies to do more by:

  • Making Commitments towards Adaptation and Resilience
  • Showing What Your Company is Doing to Help Build Resilient Societies
  • Addressing Some of the Current Gaps For Adaptation and Resilience

1. Make the Commitment:

Adaptation and Resilience for Caring for Climate

  • Implement a comprehensive climate risk assessment to identify how climate change will impact the company through its entire value chain taking into account recommendations laid out by the Task-Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), particularly those on physical climate risks and opportunities
  • Integrate adaption & resilience goals into core business strategies and operations to address community risks
  • Engage with policymakers and relevant stakeholders to support national or local adaptation & resilience planning and implementation, particularly in the areas where the company or its suppliers operate
  • Disclose climate risk information considered material by the company and communicate annually on the three elements above in a public corporate report (in line with the TCFD’s recommendations).

Additional guidance for how to implement the TCFD’s recommendations, specifically on physical climate risks and opportunities, can be found at the Global Center on Adaptation and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Understand and Respond to Water-Related Risks Posed by Climate Change

We know that water will be the primary medium through which we will feel the impact of climate change —especially freshwater resources. Increasing water variability and rainfall pattern changes have led to severe flooding or drought, which has also created consequences for health and a variety of other areas. Companies can show their commitment to addressing water and climate issues by signing onto the Business Alliance for Water and Climate, which calls on companies to commit to:

  • Analyzing and sharing water-related risks to implement collaborative response strategies
  • Measuring and reporting water use data
  • Reducing impacts on water in operations and throughout the value chain.

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    • Institute on the Environment