Climate Resilience in Business
Global climate is changing and the impacts of this are becoming clear. Even if efforts are successful in reducing emissions, some degree of change will still occur, so it’s essential that businesses forward plan to mitigate the resulting risks and realise opportunities for growth.
The Time to Adapt is Now
While Kent has been a strong location for business growth in environmental terms, investment in climate resilience now will enable us to capitalise on, and protect, this advantage. Preparing for climate change and being aware of how its impacts could affect your business is vital for future resilience. The effects of climate change are already being observed, so the best time to start adapting your business is now.
Capitalising on Opportunities
Adapting your business to climate change can create opportunities for your business to grow. Climate change is expected to increase the demand for some products and services and reduce others. The Environment Agency has found that 33% of market opportunities arising from climate change will be within the next 3 years.
The climate is changing. The MET Office predicts that Kent will experience warmer, wetter winters with increased risk of flooding and hotter, drier summers with more frequent droughts and heatwaves.
Adaptive capacity is the ability to adjust to cope with changes in the climate. It’s currently thought that the adaptive capacity of many small businesses in the UK is very low which could have increasingly severe consequences in the future.
Business Continuity Planning is the process of identifying parts of your business that you cannot afford to lose and developing a plan to protect and maintain those areas if an incident, such as severe weather, occurred.
Cold weather and wintery conditions can have significant negative effects on businesses, particularly SMEs. Supply chains, logistics, personnel and property can all be impacted.
Flooding is one of the most damaging impacts of severe weather. After recent flooding in the UK, 38% of businesses reported damaged stock and 22% reporting a decrease in trade; with costs averaging £7,000 per business. Climate change is likely to cause increased frequency and severity of flooding.
Water resources, particularly in the South East, are already under pressure from increasing demand. For much of the country, low rainfall in winter (not summer) is the key determinant of potential drought. UK weather is notoriously variable and dry spells are possible year-round, which can have impacts all year.
High temperatures can have a marked negative impact on health and productivity. It is therefore important to ensure you take steps towards maintaining the wellbeing of your employees and business operations in periods of hot weather.
Studies show that SMEs do not necessarily associate weather events with climate change. However, climate change is likely to result in more frequent and severe extreme weather events.
The STAR2Cs project, led by Kent County Council, unites 8 partners from the UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands who are working to increase our resilience to climate change. On the STAR2Cs website you will find innovative tools developed to build resilience and information on public engagement strategies implemented by partner organisations to encourage businesses and communities to adapt to our changing climate.