Editor's note: This is the first post in an ongoing biweekly series on the climate adaptation gap. Stay tuned for future installments here on TriplePundit!
Recent data indicate that a gap exists between corporations understanding the big-picture risks of climate change and their actions to address those risks to shore up their bottom line.
MIT’s Sloan Management Review published results of the annual sustainability survey they conduct with BCG (aka The Boston Consulting Group). In Harvard Business Review's synthesis, they note: “The vast majority of respondents in a new Sloan and BCG survey say climate change isn't a significant issue … And of the 27 percent that acknowledge climate change is a risk to their businesses, only 9 percent say their companies are prepared for the risk.”
In contrast to this data, another corporate survey—the annual World Economic Forum Global Risk Report--says, this year, four out of the top 10 global risks derived from the World Economic Forum’s global risk perception survey relate to climate disruption:
As the report starts: “To manage global risks effectively and build resilience to their impacts, better efforts are needed to understand, measure and foresee the evolution of interdependencies between risks, supplementing traditional risk-management tools with new concepts designed for uncertain environments.”
The takeaway from WEF’s report: It’s up to all of us to build and refine the proper measurement tools to ensure we are creating business opportunities that offer rewards for humanity in this era of climate risk. A goal will be to pair other notable trends about sustainability progress to lead the way.
So, based on the WEF numbers, if corporations see a risk, but, based on the MIT numbers, they do nothing about it, that gap suggests that businesses are not yet sure how to manage the risk that a changing climate brings to their value chains.
Since climate adaptation relates to the direct impacts on our most important assets—our employees, our customers, our communities and our families--those who advise corporations possess a great opportunity to demonstrate to their clients the significant collateral benefits of a five-step plan of adaptation action. The five steps are outlined briefly here, and will be rolled out in-depth throughout a six-part, biweekly series on Triple Pundit.
Read more in the Climate Adaptation Gap series:
Joyce Coffee, LEED AP, is founder and President of Climate Resilience Consulting. She is an accomplished organizational strategist and visionary leader with over 25 years of domestic and international experience in the corporate, government and non-profit sectors implementing resilience and sustainability strategies, management systems, performance measurement, partnerships, benchmarking and reporting.