Partners in Project Green: Adapting your Business to Achieve Climate ResilienceAugust 8, 2023
Written by Julia Kole, Coordinator for Partners in Project Green.
Even if global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions completely stopped overnight, the GHGs humanity has already emitted will change the Earth’s climate for generations to come. Some of these changes will cause significant damage through rising temperatures and extreme weather, and the cost of inaction or delayed action may be significant. Therefore, adaptation will be required to ensure businesses remain resilient and continue to operate in the face of an increasingly uncertain future.
The team at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Partners in Project Green (PPG) created the Building a Climate Resilient Business Resource Kit to help businesses across the GTA understand the risks and challenges of climate change on their operations. In our third blog with the OCC, we identified some of the main ways that a business can mitigate GHG emissions associated with their operations. The next section in our Resource Kit highlights climate change adaptation and breaks down the risk assessment process.
Adapting to future climate change impacts involves incorporating climate change information into an organization’s risk assessment process. For many companies, the risk assessment process is a familiar tool for identifying potential risks to their organization, such as operational and market-related risks, and the strategies to mitigate them. Once a company identifies and understands their climate change-related risks, they can start disclosing them to investors and stakeholders for transparency to show how they are addressing them.
The identification and scoping of climate risks involve first defining the boundaries and criteria for the risk assessment. This determines which areas of an organization are included and excluded from the assessment. Some organizations may wish to focus only on the potential physical risks to their facilities, while others may decide to prepare for risks across their entire supply chain.
Once the risk assessment boundaries have been determined and potential risks have been identified, risks may be analyzed and quantified further to determine how they may manifest for an organization. This part of the process involves the quantification of risks and scenario planning or stress-testing.
Risk Evaluation and Prioritization
Once risks have been analyzed and quantified, they can then be evaluated and prioritized. This part of the risk assessment process involves evaluating the risks based on their magnitude and likelihood of occurrence. This can be done in many ways, but creating a risk evaluation matrix is a straightforward way to achieve this.
Implementation of Risk Interventions
After identifying priority risks, several strategies of risk intervention can be implemented. This depends on how an organization views climate change and the associated risks for their business. Once an organization identifies the appropriate approach to addressing climate change risk, several strategies must be considered, including addressing current vulnerabilities, planning for potential futures, and implementing mutually beneficial measures.
Monitoring and Review
The final stage of the climate change risk assessment process involves regularly monitoring and reviewing the climate change risks an organization faces as well as the effectiveness of their selected risk reduction strategies. The ability of an organization to regularly monitor and review climate change risks will depend on organizational capacity and risk appetite.
The Path Toward Business Climate Change Resilience
While each business will need to examine their own operations to create specific roadmaps to resilience, there are key factors that provide the foundation for a climate resilient business. Creating adaptation plans for climate-related physical risks throughout your operations and supply chains, and the communities in which you operate will be pivotal for businesses to continue to operate sustainably. One way to help businesses with this task is to connect with expert organizations that can provide knowledge sharing, capacity building and networks to accelerate your journey towards climate resiliency.
Explore our Building a Climate Resilient Business Resource Kit or visit our website to learn more about our upcoming workshops, events and webinars.
Contact Julia Kole, Coordinator for Partners in Project Green, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 437-880-2156 with any questions or comments you may have about your business’ sustainability journey.
Photo caption: Adapt your business operations now to be ready for the risks of climate change. Sheridan College installed a district energy system to heat and cool their campus buildings that consume less energy, reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, and reduce demand on the electric grid. Image courtesy of Julia Kole.