As Carmen Lacambra noted in her previous post, there are a growing number of enterprises in various sectors implementing adaptation strategies in Latin America. Indeed, the private sector everywhere is undertaking increasing action in response to the demands of climate change.
But for the great majority of companies, these actions are not described as “climate adaptation” or “climate resilience,” but simply as a part of the “doing business.”
This is changing.
The President and CEO of NRT, David McLaughlin, begins with a message that reads in part:
“Climate change means business. And adapting to a changing climate by reducing risks, seizing opportunities, and building resilience should all be part of any business strategy. Many businesses are already on the frontline of climate change, experiencing or planning for extreme weather events, supply chain disruptions, and the need for long-term infrastructure investment. But many more need to get ready. And government needs to play its part too.”
Well put. While the NRT Case Studies look at the adaptation experiences of large to very large Canadian and international companies in several sectors, there are lessons that are useful for all firms. These include newer approaches to climate uncertainty and integrating adaptation as part of a comprehensive climate change management strategy.
For example, Hydro-Québec, a public utility company, employs a “multi-method” approach to appraise the sensitivity of its hydro-climactic simulations to different greenhouse gas emission scenarios, climate and hydrological models. One result is the revision in their runoff projections for all of Hydro-Québec’s watersheds.
Rio Tinto Alcan, a metals and mining company, is developing a climate sensitivity framework, not intended to predict climate impacts, but to produce a range of potential greenhouse gas emissions scenarios and global climate models. While the sophistication of such multi-method approaches will be beyond the capacities of the great majority of smaller firms, such methodologies offer insights for specialized SMEs to employ in the offer of climate resilience services to clients in various sectors.
The NRT Case Studies also include several examples of integrated climate change management strategies, of which adaptation is a key component. For instance, Whistler Blackcomb a company that owns ski resorts and other entertainment properties, is implementing a 7 step climate change strategy that analyzes: (i) the financial implications to the company of climate change, (ii) the nature of the company’s emissions, (iii) statement of commitment on reduced emissions, (iv) adaptation, (v) mitigation, (vi) risk diversification, and (vii) education.
The NRT “Business Primer” contains a practical overview of the business risks and opportunities associated with climate adaptation and the basic processes needed to respond this challenge. Much of this is applicable to smaller companies as well, and could also be useful when thinking about certain challenges in community adaptation.