Partners in Project Green: Mitigating the Risks and Effects of Climate Change on BusinessJuly 12, 2023
Written by Julia Kole, Coordinator for Partners in Project Green
Mitigation focuses on the root -cause of climate change, which involves efforts to reduce the amount of human-caused Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions. GHG emissions can be reduced through technological upgrades, improved efficiencies, and changing what type of energy is used and how it is used.
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Partners in Project Green (PPG) team 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 second blog with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, we shared an overview of the impacts of climate change on businesses. The next section in our Resource Kit highlights climate change mitigation and what businesses can do to reduce their emissions and be part of climate change solutions.
Actions to address climate change typically fall into one of two large buckets: mitigation (reducing GHG emissions) and adaptation (dealing with/preparing for climate change impacts). Both of which are needed to address the current climate crisis. Businesses can reduce their GHG emissions through incorporating one or more of the following mitigation strategies from PPG’s Business Resource Kit, into their sustainability, emissions reduction, or energy management plans:
- Energy efficiency and conservation refers to the strategic implementation of technologies, process changes, or behavioural practices that reduce the amount of energy needed for a desired outcome.
- Fuel switching is a climate change mitigation strategy that involves changing the fuels used for energy generation from high GHG-emitting fuels (e.g., fossil fuels) to low GHG-emitting fuels (e.g., renewables, hydro, and nuclear).
- The climate change mitigation strategy of heat recovery involves capturing and recycling excess heat in and around buildings to reduce initial energy needs for heat production.
- Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration/storage (CCUS) involve physically capturing and removing CO2 from the atmosphere. CCUS can also involve capturing CO2 from a process and storing it prior to its release into the atmosphere.
- Transportation is a significant source of GHG emissions that presents different challenges and opportunities for mitigation strategies. Transitioning to low-carbon transportation options is, therefore an important strategy for climate change mitigation both globally and locally.
- Behaviour change involves changing the way people think about the energy they use and the carbon emitted through everyday activities.
In addition to the measures a business can take within their organization and supply chains, they must also consider being champions for the impactful systemic energy changes they would like to see and find like-minded businesses to inspire and collaborate with.
One mitigation champion we highlight in the Business Kit is Algood Caster Innovations, Canada’s largest caster manufacturer and a current PPG member. Climate change issues like supply chain disruptions and carbon taxes have had cost implications for Algood, especially as a small business. In response, Algood has started to implement monitoring and mitigation projects to save costs and reduce their carbon footprint.
Most notably, Algood has participated in fuel switching for their machinery, transitioning from propane to battery-operated forklifts. Before this transition, propane lifts required opening warehouse doors to release fumes. With battery-powered lifts, Algood can save on space heating and propane gas bills, as well as improve air quality for employees. They also practice heat recovery in the winter months, where they direct their compressor’s exhaust air into the factory for heating, allowing them to turn off two to three heater units. Modernizing equipment has helped Algood improve output in production and reduce costs.
Successful climate change mitigation must involve business engagement with municipalities, utilities, and other businesses to support the advancement and implementation of large-scale energy system projects.
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 email@example.com with any questions or comments you may have about your business’ sustainability journey.
Photo caption: Climate Change impacts industries like agriculture, creating new risks such as increased droughts, extreme heat days, pests and food insecurity. Photo courtesy of Julia Kole.