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Many businesses are failing to consider climate change resilience measures, despite expecting impacts

A new international survey conducted by DNV GL, with support from GFK Eurisko, has investigated whether companies are resilient enough to climate change. The study involved more than 1,200 professionals from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

“Companies are already feeling the impacts of climate change on their operations or see a high risk of imminent consequences,” said Luca Crisciotti, CEO of DNV GL – Business Assurance. “Despite this, our study records a lack of proactivity, with a minority acting to adapt or increase resilience. Are businesses underestimating how disruptive the impacts could be and how urgent it is to face this issue?”

Companies are expecting impacts to affect their business within a few years. Only 1 in 8 companies expects them to occur more than 10 years into the future and more than 1 in 4 claim that one area of their value chain has already been impacted. However, only 25 percent say they are already applying adaptation or resilience measures. Large companies are further ahead, with 40 percent reporting that actions have already been implemented.

“This is a small percentage compared to the threats they are facing. Additionally, there seems to be a confusion between climate change adaptation/resilience and mitigation, as over 43 percent indicate actions falling within the broader definition of climate resilience.  Mitigation efforts are crucial to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but these will not help a company adapt to climate change or build resilience. That indicates that there is a huge potential to increase companies’ awareness of and preparedness for handling the effects of climate change,” explains Luca Crisciotti.

The results suggest that businesses are only starting their journey to deal with climate change adaptation and resilience. External factors such as laws and regulations (50 percent) and needs/requests from customers (43 percent) are prominent drivers for action. However, safeguarding the company, public concerns/corporate responsibility and business continuity rank just behind.

The survey has identified a small group of companies, labelled Leaders, that stand out as frontrunners. They have already implemented adaptation or resilience actions and rank higher on every aspect highlighted in the survey. To them, business continuity (55 percent) is just as important as laws and regulations (53 percent) when it comes to motivation for climate change actions. Approximately half of the Leaders are also convinced that benefits will arise in terms of competitive advantage and 35 percent name value creation as a driver.

Luca Crisciotti comments: “On the one hand, the frontrunners show there is an opportunity to adapt and build resilience while gaining a competitive advantage. On the other hand, the report clearly highlights that we need to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of adapting and building resilience to climate change. We advise companies to start by assessing the risks and defining a strategic approach to tackle them.”

Obtain the survey report (PDF).

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