Climate change impacts each of us. From the way we live and work, to how we make decisions and plan for the future, the transforming climate requires each of us to adapt—and businesses are no exception.
In order for businesses to be successful in the long term, they must be climate resilient. But what does that mean exactly? Simply put, climate resilience is the capacity to absorb stress and maintain function in the face of external stresses that are directly or indirectly caused by climate change.
It’s not enough for businesses to simply react to climate risks. Given the worsening impact of climate change, increasingly uncertain weather events, and enhanced focus on corporate climate strategy, adapting to climate risk proactively is a must.
Being climate resilient starts with identifying an organization’s associated climate risks, including extreme weather events, and taking action to prepare for and mitigate those threats. For many businesses, though, this is easier said than done, and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for corporate climate resilience.
What All Climate Resilient Businesses Have in Common
Regardless of industry, climate resilient businesses all do certain things that make them more adaptable in the face of climate change.
1. They Have Climate Adaptation Built Into Their Core Strategy
Real climate resilience is more than a short-term initiative. Businesses who successfully adapt to the impact of climate change do so as part of their core business strategy. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, this includes developing and maintaining ambitious mitigation efforts in order to become less vulnerable to climate risks.
Leading companies across all industries are taking steps to address climate risks where there is a clear business case to do so, including becoming more efficient, reducing costs, and/ or providing greater value to customers.
HP, for example, is incorporating climate action into their overall growth strategy. Chief Operating Officer John Flaxman explained that “HP is helping to minimize operational risks associated with a changing climate and building a more resilient company that’s ready to serve customers.” Furthermore, Walmart’s Project Gigaton aims to remove 1 billion metric tons of GHG emissions from its supply chain by 2030, with an intermediate milestone of reducing emissions in its own internal operations by 18 percent before 2025. These goals are more than one-off objectives, signaling their commitment to long-term resilience.
2. They Invest in Tools to Proactively Mitigate Risk
Besides having long-term vision, climate resilient businesses also invest in the right tools to proactively mitigate risk. Why? Identifying each business’s unique climate risks is no small feat. This involves companies adopting resilient strategies to proactively mitigate risk. At the forefront of this is investing in tools to proactively mitigate risk.
Companies like JetBlue invest in Tomorrow.io’s climate security technology to mitigate their climate risks by leveraging the product’s automated decision-making capabilities. SVP of Customer Experience at JetBlue, Ian Deason explained that Tomorrow.io helps JetBlue make better decisions:
“On one cold and “snowy” February morning in Boston, every major weather report was calling for snow from the early hours of the morning until 11 AM. Given this information, airlines at Logan Airport posted delays and halted their regularly scheduled takeoffs, except for JetBlue. Using Tomorrow.io, JetBlue was able to see the weather report was wrong and the snow was going to end closer to 8 AM, and they immediately implemented their action plan accordingly. The team took control, didn’t cancel any flights, and ran all of their operations that morning on time while every other airline sat and watched helplessly. Not only was this a huge win for customer satisfaction, but financially as well since delays cost airlines $75 per minute.”
3. They Have Top-Down Buy-In
Another key factor that sets climate-resilient businesses apart is their support from the top. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, businesses need to integrate their climate change risks into both their Enterprise Risk Management processes and factor climate action into their decision-making processes.
Here are some examples from companies that are supporting top-down buy-in:
- In 2018, Tata Chemicals senior leadership empowered the team to tackle conservation in India by developing the center for marine biodiversity and coastal ecosystem conservation.Tata’s senior leadership encouraged the development of this center to increase the company’s knowledge of ecosystems that are an integral part of their business model.
- In 2017, Apple released its 11th Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, which provided specific top-down directives to minimize carbon footprint, reduce landfill waste, conserve water, and reduce the use of unsafe chemicals. As a part of this policy, Apple suppliers that do not comply with the new selection criteria are at risk from being dropped from the partnership.
- California Utility company Pacific Gas and Electric senior leadership has developed an internal climate science team that is responsible for integrating the latest climate science into the company’s risk assessment process.
Ready to Make Your Business Climate Resilient?
No matter your industry, extreme weather events present a serious threat to your business.
Over the past 20 years, the frequency and severity of extreme weather events have increased around the world. For businesses to be climate resilient, they must assess the vulnerability of their operations and facilities to climate risks and extreme weather events.
Tomorrow.io is powered by its proprietary weather intelligence and security platform that offers a much-needed organizational roadmap for operational resiliency and climate adaptation. Our weather and climate security platform is the only software that helps teams prepare for the business impact of weather by automating decision-making and enabling climate adaptation at scale.
Learn How Weather-Related Risk is Impacting Your Business