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New climate change advice to help businesses boost growth

Climate change will bring opportunities for economic growth if British businesses think now about how climate change will affect them, Environment Minister Lord Henley said today. The message came at the launch of a new interactive online tool designed by Defra and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) to prepare businesses for both climate risks and opportunities.

The Climate Resilience Toolkit is a quick and simple online tool available on the Business Link website for businesses wanting to increase their resilience to the changing climate, or explore possibilities for growth by taking advantage of the opportunities climate change will bring.

The toolkit provides a tailored report for each business to help it focus on what it should be doing to prepare, such as checking the robustness of its supply chain, the threat of flooding to premises and possible changes in customer demand for products.

Lord Henley, Environment Minister, said:

Climate change will have impacts on all UK businesses, such as the availability of resources, demand for different products, and the increased threat of floods, drought and other extreme weather. But smart businesses that take action now to limit the risks and identify the opportunities climate change could bring will steal a march on their rivals.

“The Climate Resilience Toolkit we have developed with CIMA is an excellent tool for quickly and simply assessing areas in your business that could be affected by climate change.”

While many organisations have looked at reducing their carbon emissions, fewer have seriously considered how to address the impacts of an already changing climate. A survey commissioned by Defra last year found that two thirds of the UK’s largest businesses (68%) have not yet acted on the risks and opportunities that climate change poses.. Businesses must not only consider how to reduce their environmental impact, but also how to adapt and build resilience to the expected impacts of climate change as part of their wider business model.

Andrew Harding, Executive Director, CIMA Markets, explains:

“Forward-thinking businesses must be aware of the risks and alive to the opportunities that climate change brings. Many SMEs fail to prepare for climate change, leaving it to the big players in industry to manage and mitigate those risks. This can leave many SMEs in a vulnerable position. It is vital that all businesses, whatever their size, assess these risks now and take action to manage those risks to avoid costly disruption. This online tool will improve organisations’ risk planning around climate change and will help them become more economically resilient.

“Sustainability makes good business sense and it should be embedded at the very heart of any company strategy. As companies incorporate these environmental considerations into their strategies for long-term business success, management accountants have an important role to play in ensuring that investments in sustainability capabilities produce greater returns than simply meeting compliance requirements.”

Andrew Slight, Head of External Affairs at PepsiCo UK & Ireland, said:

“PepsiCo is reducing carbon emissions in our own operations as well as throughout our supply chain. But we also know that tackling climate change is about adaptation as well as mitigation. For example, we are working with Climate East, Defra, Suffolk Country Council, Anglian Water and the Environment Agency to understand how climate change will affect the water availability for our Copella apple juice plant at Boxford in Suffolk and for the local community. By asking these questions now, we want to ensure the long term resilience and viability of our operations, and work with others towards having a positive water impact.

“The new toolkit will help businesses gain a better understanding of the risks and opportunities involved in adapting to a changing climate and, we hope, lead to more collaboration between business, Government, water companies and other stakeholders which will help us all manage future risks better.”

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