Monday, 13 September 2010

CBI calls for clearer data to help businesses prepare for climate change

The CBI (Confederation of British Industry) has released a report - Whatever the weather: managing the risks from a changing climate – calling on the Government to make its environmental data more easily available to help businesses prepare for the risks of climate change, including rising temperatures and extreme weather.  It also called for the creation of a new public information bank showing the risk to critical infrastructure.

The report’s key recommendations include:

For the Government:

  • The UK Climate Projections (UKCP) should be extended and made clearer for non-climate-specialists.

  • An information bank detailing the climate risk to public infrastructure should be developed to support businesses in their planning.

  • The forthcoming national Climate Change Risk Assessment should develop a coherent approach to climate adaptation in regulation, planning and infrastructure procurement.

  • A consistent approach should be taken to support firms to adapt public infrastructure to long-term climate risk.

For businesses:
  • Companies should include an evaluation of climate risk in their assessment of business risks.

  • Climate adaptation strategies should focus on actions that fit within broader sustainability strategies and which deliver savings in their own right.

  • Climate risk evaluation should cover supply chains, assets, operations, markets, regulatory compliance and business reputation.

  • Climate exposure should be clearly identified and included in corporate reporting.

  • Non-commercially sensitive climate adaptation information should be shared by companies to avoid an inconsistent approach between different sectors.

Dr Neil Bentley, CBI Director of Business Environment, said:

“Many businesses aren’t ready for the changes that could be ahead. The impact of climate change needs to be made part of on-going risk management and we must also ensure that what we build today is resilient enough to withstand changes to the climate over the next century.

“The Government must help ensure that businesses have the information needed to take action. Most of this data is already in the public domain, but needs to be made available in an easy-to-use format.”

 

It’s certainly needed. Businesses must build resilience to the impact of inevitable climate change and will need the data to do it. In fact as extreme weather events are likely to increase, the need for more data, and more frequently updated, will grow.   

The ICT sector will be an essential part of providing that resilience – it’s part of green IT - but it’s disappointing to see that the sector is also one that has been identified as least prepared, at least outside the major corporations. The CBI report includes a chart produced by climate risk consultancy Acclimatise, working with the CDP which shows an ‘acclimatisation index’, analysing the resilience of FTSE-350 companies. The average is a low ‘acclimatisation’
score of 38%, with the IT sector showing the greatest lack of knowledge of the risks and opportunities of a changing climate.

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© The Green IT Review

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