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To Stay Competitive, Businesses Urged to Make Climate Resilience a Priority

While most companies say they would benefit from investing in adaptation, few have actual plans in place to boost their resilience to warming

By Maria Gallucci, SolveClimate News

Jul 6, 2011
Albemarle Climate Change Adaptation Project

While 86 percent of the companies surveyed said that investing in adaptation solutions is a viable business opportunity, less than one-third are taking action to build climate resilience in the communities where they operate, according to a issued in June.

"Uncertainties about the location, magnitude, potential timing and consequences of climate change impacts make it risky for them to tackle adaptation on their own," the report said.

New Index to Bridge Info Gap

The Washington-based hopes to fill the climate information gap with its (GaIn), a metrics tool that examines the food, agriculture, energy and water sectors, as well as coastal protection efforts, in any given developing country.

"Much in the same way of what a rating agency will do in terms of country risk or sector risk, the Global Adaptation Index is going to rank countries according to their vulnerabilities and their levels of readiness," Juan José Daboub, the institute's CEO and a former finance minister of El Salvador, told SolveClimate News.

The index will be available to businesses, investors and the public sector this fall, and the institute will begin a global consultation process in July to develop corporate and civic adaptation strategies, he said.

Daboub, a former managing director of the World Bank, added that the tool is suited for "companies that are either investing in a particular sector and want to prepare themselves for the changes that will take place, or companies that ... want to be at the beginning of the line to actually make the investments at a manageable level of risk."

Climate Risk Analysis Takes Off

Rebecca Henson, sustainability analyst for , said that the Bethesda, Md.-based asset management firm is explicitly advising corporations to analyze their risks related to climate change.

"[Impact management] is an opportunity for us to drive our investments to find ways to address adaptation and the impacts of climate change," she said at the New York event.

In 2010, the issued guidance for publicly held companies to disclose their climate risks and mitigation, adaptation and management strategies.

Calvert has since filed shareholder resolutions with Cincinnati-based retail food chain Kroger asking the company and its board of directors to report on how they will assess and manage the impacts of climate change on the corporation.

The investment adviser also filed a resolution with Orrville, Ohio-based J.M. Smucker Company, which earns 40 percent of revenue from its Folgers coffee label and sources palm oil for its Crisco-brand cooking shortening.

"Despite exposure to commodities, the companies still have no strategic plans in place to address climate change or its impacts," Henson said.

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