Partners in Project Green: Supporting Business Adaptation and Resilience to Climate ChangeMay 8, 2023
Written by Julia Kole, Coordinator for Partners in Project Green
The impacts of an increasingly warming world are already being felt locally here in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Every business will be faced with a variety of risks related to a changing climate that will impact their operations, energy needs, supply chain, logistics, insurance, and employees.
The team at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Partners in Project Green (PPG) recognizes that each business has its own sustainability objectives and challenges to respond to the risks, resilience, and adaptation to climate change. In response to this, we teamed up with a group of knowledge experts and stakeholders to create the Building a Climate Resilient Business Resource Kit.
These resources are designed to help businesses across the GTA with:
- Understanding their climate change risks
- Determining how to evaluate and prioritize these risks
- Learning about potential strategies to address them
Quite simply, climate change is a business risk that must be accounted for, forecasted, and built into your budget and operations to strengthen business continuity in a changing and uncertain world. One way to increase your climate resiliency, for example, is to create an adaptation plan for climate-related physical risks throughout your operations and supply chains, and the communities in which you operate.
To recognize the intricacies of these risks and challenges, it is helpful to have an understanding of what climate change will mean for the GTA. For example, as the planet warms, wet regions are expected to get wetter and dry regions are expected to get drier. This has important implications for global supply chains as changing global precipitation patterns will impact where and how much water can be used for industries and agriculture.
To understand the future local climate, TRCA’s Ecosystem and Climate Science team used available downscaled, regional climate model (RCM) data to develop local climate projections for TRCA’s jurisdiction at a spatial resolution of about 25km squared. The following are some examples of our findings:
Projections show an increase to an average temperature between 11.6°C and 12.4°C by the 2080s, with an increased likelihood and severity of heatwaves and extreme heat events to about 37-41 days by 2080. This will impact businesses that rely on outdoor labour and will increase energy demand for building cooling during summer months and heatwaves.
Warmer air can hold more moisture and produce more storms. This means that more precipitation will fall in some areas in the GTA over a certain period; up to 182.6mm/year more than the historical average by 2080. Businesses should consider their risks to precipitation changes and take the appropriate actions to address them, such as including rain gardens and tree planting on property or in their communities to help reduce flooding and erosion risks.
The average annual growing season for the agricultural industry may expand from 166 days from May to October to 217 days from April and November by 2080. This longer season can bring along a variety of predictions such as larger yields, an increase in pests and disease, and challenges, such as periods of drought and heavy rains that will require changes in irrigation, drainage, and crop selection.
Investing in climate change adaptation and resilience is a strategic investment to make, given the severity and variability of possible future climate change. At the start of 2020, global sustainable investments totalled $35.3 trillion, which is equivalent to around a third of assets under management in major economies. There is increased stakeholder interest in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting and demand for more frequent and detailed disclosures.
To learn more, we invite you to further explore our Building a Climate Resilient Business Resource Kit. This resource provides a foundation in the basics of current climate science, the impacts of climate change on businesses, and mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Please explore these resources, visit our website and check out our upcoming workshops, events, and webinars. Feel free to contact me, 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 will alter the business landscape around the world, including in places like Toronto. Photo courtesy of Julia Kole.