While much of the focus has been on reducing harmful greenhouse gases, more and more businesses are at last beginning to understand the much wider-reaching physical, social and economic impacts of a changing climate. Scientific evidence has shown that the main effects of our changing climate are increasingly unpredictable weather patterns including more frequent and severe flooding and storms as well as hotter summers which can lead to droughts and water shortages.
The risks associated with climate change can have a detrimental and sometimes even catastrophic impact on businesses. For manufacturing, it could mean the price of raw materials increases dramatically; for a business with an international supply chain it could mean disrupted logistics; and bad weather can also obviously lead to poor crops or crop damage. The knock-on effects for businesses can be broad – ranging from the buildings in which they work not being fit for purpose to difficulties for employees travelling to places of work in extreme weather conditions. Increased risk also leads to increased costs, notably insurance.
As these effects become more apparent, it’s time for companies to develop proactive strategies to future-proof their businesses and protect both their employees and the communities in which they operate. For a business, ‘Climate change adaptation’ means businesses have built-in processes and strategies to plan for these eventualities and take advantage of any additional benefits these may offer. For example, the long term financial benefits of implementing climate change adaption measures may far outweigh the initial costs.
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SGH Martineau’s specialist team of energy and climate change lawyers are here to advise you on how you can best protect your business and the people you work with.
Contact: Andrew Whitehead at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0800 763 1528 or Helen Tringham at email@example.com or on 0800 763 1607.
Associations and memberships
SGH Martineau is a founding member of the Legal Sector Alliance (LSA). The LSA was set up to encourage law firms to develop a collaborative approach to the challenge of climate change, including planning for adaptation.
The firm also supports Business in the Community by chairing a West Midlands Climate Change Leaders Group as part of the Prince of Wales’ Mayday network. The firm is also a member of the Sustainability West Midlands Climate Adaptation Partnership. A key message from both these initiatives is the tangible business benefits which flow to an organisation which embraces sustainability and an awareness of climate change across its business activities.
Other useful links include www.decc.gov.uk; www.london.gov.uk/climatechange; www.direct.gov.uk; www.defra.gov.uk; www.carbontrust.co.uk and www.energysavingtrust.org.uk.