World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Adapting to climate change - Impacts for business

Changes in the Earth's climate system are already creating issues for how business operates. While the magnitude and frequency of climate impacts is uncertain, the consequences of some climate change impacts are now unavoidable. These include, water scarcity, disruption of international markets, increased frequency of extreme weather events, and potential mass migration of people. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), adapting to climate change will require the right measures to reduce the negative impacts of climate change (or exploit the positive ones) by making the appropriate adjustments and changes.

The WBCSD's new publication 'Adaptation: An Issue Brief for Business' presents an overview of climate adaptation issues from a business perspective. The report examines the potential impacts of climate changes on business, risks and opportunities, the business case for adaptation planning, and highlights areas in which business could have a role in promoting adaption, both at community and global levels.

Key highlights:

- Coordination of mitigation and adaptation policies is necessary and will lead to global benefits.
- Climate change impacts will create business risks and opportunities within a company's operations and supply chains, a company's local community, and in the global consumer market in both developed and developing countries.
- The risks to consumer markets are greatest in developing countries because they lack sufficient adaptive capacity to climate change impacts.
- Key drivers of adaptation planning include: competitive advantage, cost savings, liability management, investor pressure, regulation and community resilience.

'The WBCSD is committed to helping business find solutions to the challenges of energy and climate change,' says Björn Stigson, President, WBCSD. 'Adaptation measures are intrinsically linked to challenges of sustainable development, and business is part of the sustainable development solution.'

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