The Business Case for Climate Action
Adapt to survive: ignoring sustainability risks your business.
Learning with Climate Champs
Free support and lunch and learns from our knowledgeable volunteers.
Share and network locally
Sustainable businesses and support from your peers in St Albans District.
Why bother? The business case for Climate Action
Even if your business is not explicitly in the ‘environmental’ space, there are plenty of reasons that working towards a more planet-friendly business model should be a necessity.
Climate change itself, as well as related changes to regulations in the UK and abroad pose significant risk to businesses in every sector of the world.
There are two elements to climate change action: reducing your impact on the planet’s ecosystem NOW to try to undo the damage that humans have caused (called MITIGATION) and adapting your practices to make sure that your business can survive the consequences of that damage (called ADAPTATION). Generally, changes to adapt to a changing regulatory, customer and financial landscape will have benefits to mitigate climate impacts to. For example, improving the energy efficiency of business premises will help cope with extreme temperatures and rising energy costs (adaptation) as well as reduce wasted energy (mitigation). It will also reduce your energy bills and make for a more pleasant working environment.
Articulating the business risk of NOT acting can help leverage investment and action in your company. Consider which of these represent the biggest risk to your business model, with thanks to the UN Committee for Climate Change:
This could include damage to your physical assets, such as buildings and equipment, resulting from climate change impacts. Have you thought about rapid onset impacts, such as floods or seasonal heatwaves, or slow onset impacts, such as gradual temperature or sea level rise. What would happen if your premises are flooded or your staff are unable to work in increasing temperatures?
Climate change is already impacting prices of raw materials, such as the price of water being driven up by drought, or the price of crops being driven up by storm damage. Supply chains can be impacted by weather or civil volatility, leading to increased costs for businesses and their customers. Have you done all you can to manage these variables, or communicate to your customers what you are doing to reduce your impact, or explain your prices?
Regulation risk refers to potential business impacts from the actions governments take to combat climate change, including new regulations that impose added costs of business or the withdrawal of subsidies. Are you keeping an eye on your obligations, and also those of your customers? If you are in the supply chain of a larger business you may be required to declare your carbon footprint or supply chain transparency for their reporting needs.
Are you at risk of negative public perception: could your business practices be considered harmful or inadequate in the context of climate change? Have you anticipated possible losses through boycotts, damaged investor relationships, or other developments stemming from action or inaction on climate change?
Liability risks arise when individuals, businesses, governments, or other actors seek compensation from a company for losses suffered as a result of a company’s alleged contribution to the problem of climate change or their failure to adapt their practices. This might include investors seeking compensation for losses when a company fails to account for or disclose climate change risks.
Once you’ve recognised that your business needs to take action, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.
These free resources are great to get you thinking, and help you frame your response and actions into a plan that everyone can contribute to:
There are also usually sector-specific net zero business support packages from individual industry bodies such as Accounting for Sustainability, Climate Action Plans for Education, and Sustainable Fashion Toolkit. An online search for Sustainability Action Plan or Net Zero Toolkit plus your industry should set you on your way.
Learn from our Climate Champs
If you would like a speaker to come to your organisation for a lunchtime talk or staff development seminar, please get in touch. Our Climate Champs project provides a free Climate Champion to give an introduction to the climate crisis and support your workforce development for meaningful change throughout and beyond your organisation. We’re happy to arrange a time that suits you and our friendly informative approach can help spark conversations and action.
Network with your peers
Talking with other businesses to learn about climate action, its positive benefits and community solutions makes business sense and improves your connections too.
In St Albans District, get in touch with the following organisations who may be able to help build your network to share your learnings and ambition on climate action:
Check out the Local Groups in our District too if you’re interested in joining or affiliating your organisation to theirs.
If you have an organisation that can provide free or unbiased advice on sustainability to an organisation, please get in touch to add your link here.