Assessing the Impact of Climate on Business Operations

111014_Resiliency_OriginalResilience – the ability to bounce back after a disruption – has always been vital to business success. But now, businesses must contend with climate impacts along with their usual concerns. By understanding the potential effects of climate change on their ability to deliver products and services, businesses can create a thoughtful operational plan that will allow them to respond to events more quickly and effectively.
Thinking about how your business will recover from disruption is important, but it’s not enough. True resiliency means being proactive and strategic, so you can take steps to reduce the impact of the event. A good resilience plan helps protect all of a company’s assets, including its people. Too often, in dealing with unexpected business challenges, the human factor is overlooked. Equipping staff to cope with climate impacts and other potential disruptions can help keep operations running smoothly. Strategies should also be in place to help prevent employees from getting overworked, and to handle cases where staff may be unavailable due to circumstances like severe weather.
A variety of resources are available that can help businesses thrive in the face of challenges (climate and otherwise). One is Resilient Organisations (ResOrgs), a team of researchers and practitioners dedicated to making businesses more agile. ResOrgs have identified 13 indicators of resilience, which include strong leadership, staff engagement, proactivity, and unity of purpose. Their library of booklets, tools, and case studies can apply to businesses of all types. A good place to start is the Benchmark Resilience Tool, which measures the resilience of an organization and allows that company to benchmark against others in the same or related industries.
Another organization focused on helping business owners and leaders achieve resiliency is Business for Social Responsibility (BSR). With broad expertise in sustainable business practices across industries and regions, BSR offers guides and other tools that support a variety of business settings. They advocate a simple 4-step process for managing climate change: develop a comprehensive strategy, identify sustainability solutions for changing markets and environments, communicate climate risks to internal and external audiences, and create positive local benefits.
IBM recommends a tiered approach to resilience planning. Resilience tiers define levels of resilience that match specific business requirements. By setting an objective scale for these requirements across an entire enterprise, tiers help businesses create a more streamlined and holistic framework for their resilience capabilities.
These resources and planning tools can help businesses of any size respond to weather changes with clear-mindedness and contingency responses. With the right strategy in place, companies can continue to effectively deliver their goods and services, take care of their people, serve their customers, and support their communities. Learn more by joining like-minded business owners and leaders at
Image credit: Wikimedia via CTsabre14

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