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.
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
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.