Web Date: August 5, 2011
Companies that are able to adapt to climate change will gain a competitive business advantage in the future, according to a new report prepared by the United Nations Global Compact, a corporate network committed to social and environmental goals, in cooperation with the UN Environment Program and allied social justice and environmental groups.
The report is based on a survey of 72 global companies in a variety of industries, including makers of chemicals and pharmaceuticals such as Bayer, Dow Chemical, DuPont, Mitsui Chemicals, Novartis, Novozymes, and Sasol. The survey was conducted under the auspices of the UN.
Among those surveyed, 86% said responding to climate risks or investing in ways to adapt to those risks is a business opportunity. However, the survey found that executives aren’t always sure what climate adaptation means to their companies and the markets they serve. In addition, respondents said that they find it difficult to incorporate climate-change data into strategic analyses and that they would like more information on adaptation costs and benefits.
Among the report’s recommendations are that firms should align business objectives with climate-change adaptation and build a portfolio of climate-resistant goods and services.
The report itself anticipates two upcoming events: this fall’s UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, and next year’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, also called Rio+20 because planners hope to foster a new global compact on climate change 20 years after the last such major effort that took place there. The report is intended to enliven policy discussions at those events.
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