Summary Report: Business Adaptation to Climate Change

Summary Report: Business Adaptation to Climate Change

When uncertainty exists, the tendency is to do nothing. Avoid the paralysis of inaction that will leave your firm unprepared for extreme climate events. 
NBS April 29, 2011
Summary Report
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Corporate practices, government policies, and academic research are focused largely on mitigation, and not adaptation. The NBS Knowledge Forum on Business Adaptation to Climate Change, which took place in November 2009, convened fifty managers, academics and policy-makers to address business adaptation to climate change.

Participants discussed how firms should encourage managers to conduct vulnerability risk assessments across their supply chain to evaluate potential impacts. It is equally important for firms to select a climate change adaptation strategy, focussing either on innovation or compensation.

Yet, more data is required to help managers make more informed business decision. This is necessary as a base for business and policy decision-making. To this end NBS commissioned David Nitkin, president of EthicScan, to conduct a systematic review of literature on business adaptation to climate change.

Dialogue Summaries

Worst Practices in Business

When uncertainty exists, the tendency is to do nothing. Business may operate in fear of making the wrong decision. Yet, this inaction may be creating the inertia that could lead organizations to be unprepared for a future changed by extreme climate events.

Challenges and Opportunities for Companies

Challenges and Opportunities for Government

The Bigger Challenges

With increases in the number of catastrophes, people, organizations and governments must change their behaviours in order to adapt. Drawing on multiple stakeholders to generate more realistic solutions may provide the best hope for the future.

Despite many obstacles, solutions exist if leaders are willing to take bold steps and if people, organizations and governments have the will. Leaders can think about the future in spite of short-term pressures. Scenarios can help with long-term planning and get people to think about the bigger picture.

Forum Highlights

Overview of the Business Adaptation to Climate Change Project

David Nitkin, President of EthicScan Canada Ltd.

Climate Adaptation and Business Risks Context, Challenges and Potential Solutions

Dr. Robert Page, Chair, National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE)

Organizational Resilience to the Physical Impacts of Climate Change

Dr. Monika Winn, Professor, University of Victoria

An Overview of Business Responses to Climate Change

Dr. Jonatan M. Pinkse, Amsterdam Business School

Policy, Technology and Economics of Adaptation

Allan Amey, Senior Fellow, ICF Consulting Canada
Three-Stage Screening (Allan Amey)

additional resources

Research Insight

Managers can learn from different strategies when considering how to deal with climate change in their business.

Lauren Rakowski
Reports and Articles

Dr. Ann Dale and Rob Newell of Royal Roads University provide five tips for companies seeking innovative ways to address climate change.

Case Study

Accountants are more than bean counters. At Horizon Utilities, they are leaders on climate change adaptation.  

S. Jeff Birchall
Reports and Articles

Learn four steps your business can take to prepare for an era of extreme climate and weather events. 

Jonatan Pinkse
Frederica Gasbarro