More evenly distributed - Climate change preparation is getting real

This week saw the release of the results of a significant poll - that the world's leading climate scientists expect us to hit at least 2.5C increase in global temperatures: World’s top climate scientists expect global heating to blast past 1.5C target | Climate crisis | The Guardian

A graph showing that the majority of scientists (77%) expect temperature rises of at least 2.5C.

I don't expect that future polls of this nature will go the other way. So, the question is what to do about it, and that is the focus of this week's issue.

But first, let's go through this week's signals...

Signals from the future:

Emerging trends that are likely to drive changes to the way we live, work and do business.

Focus Issue - Climate change preparation is getting real

Climate change is emerging as a critical issue that businesses must adapt to in order to remain viable and competitive in the coming years. According to a report by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, only 20% of companies currently have a climate adaptation plan in place, highlighting the need for more proactive and comprehensive strategies to build resilience.

As the frequency and intensity of climate hazards such as wildfires, floods, heat waves, droughts, and windstorms continue to increase, businesses face growing threats to their operations, supply chains, and long-term viability. Christina Shim of IBM outlines six key adaptation strategies that organisations should consider, including leveraging weather predictions, understanding the impact on their business, implementing adaptive weather protection measures, developing proactive solutions, investing in resilient infrastructure, and collaborating with stakeholders. By incorporating these strategies into their decision-making processes and risk management practices, companies can better anticipate and respond to the challenges posed by a changing climate.

Moreover, businesses must navigate an increasingly complex landscape of compounding risks—connected, cumulative, and novel threats that can amplify one another and pose existential dangers. A McKinsey article stresses the need for CEOs to shift from traditional risk management approaches towards enhanced risk governance, team preparedness, long-term investment horizons, and the incorporation of compound-risk scenarios into strategic planning. The authors emphasise the critical role of proactive, comprehensive risk mitigation efforts, including "what if" scenarios and premortems, to safeguard shareholder value and ensure organisational longevity.

Private sector engagement in climate change adaptation also presents significant opportunities for companies to reduce costs, increase productivity, and improve competitiveness. Five practical strategies for boosting climate resilience include investing in training and awareness programs, innovating business models, directing investments towards vulnerable communities, leveraging resources and experiences to improve adaptive capacity, and collaborating with stakeholders to drive systemic change. By adopting these approaches, companies can not only enhance their own resilience but also contribute to the development of more sustainable and equitable solutions to the challenges posed by climate change.

As businesses navigate an increasingly uncertain and disruptive landscape, adapting to the impacts of climate change will be essential for long-term success. This will require a fundamental shift in strategic planning, with shorter planning cycles, increased focus on sustainability and ESG, digital transformation, customer and employee experience, data-driven decision making, AI and automation, cybersecurity, supply chain resilience, and remote work and distributed teams.

There's an oft-cited quote about "fighting the last war" and that's how most organisations are walking into the world in which climate change is a significant impact. The traditional ways of developing strategy, deploying it into an organisation and seeing it come to life just are not fit for purpose any longer.

Consider these strategic insights:

Here are some bold and actionable insights for Australian businesses from this report:

  • Develop adaptive supply chain networks: Invest in diversifying and localising supply chains, incorporating climate risk assessments and contingency plans to ensure resilience in the face of disruptions.
  • Collaborate on shared climate infrastructure: Partner with local governments, communities, and other businesses to co-invest in shared, resilient infrastructure such as flood defences, water storage, and microgrids.
  • Pioneer climate-resilient products and services: Innovate and bring to market new offerings that help customers adapt to climate impacts, such as heat-resistant materials, water-efficient appliances, or AI-powered early warning systems.
  • Empower employees as climate champions: Provide comprehensive training and incentives for employees to become advocates for climate resilience, both within the organisation and in their communities, fostering a culture of proactive adaptation.

Business at the point of impact:

Emerging issues and technology trends can change the way we work and do business.

I'm working on an innovative approach to strategy design and development.

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