From back to back hurricanes, to extreme tornados, to blistering cold temperatures, there is no doubt that natural disasters, and their intensity, are on the rise in the United States and around the world. At the same time, global average temperatures are increasing drastically, and at an unprecedented rate, leaving no company immune to the risks of climate change.
With an unpredictable future ahead of us, companies must prepare for the long-term effects. Climate change is driving businesses to adjust their models, invest in innovative technologies, and support climate-forward collaborations so that they can adapt and survive these changes.
Adjusting Business Models
With the trending increase in natural disasters around the world showing no signs of slowing down, it is imperative that corporations invest more in climate resilience. Companies relying on international supply chains more than ever, and there’s the likelihood that a natural disaster may interrupt ‘business as usual’ is ever-increasing. Diverting investments into strengthening infrastructure, increasing efficiency in resource management, and supporting local communities are three efforts that may help to ensure a more resilient entity with long-term profitability.
While some of the “low-hanging fruit” resiliency opportunities are relatively easy to implement (i.e. switching from fossil fuels to renewables, reusing grey water, building storm-resistant facilities, etc.) — other aspects like the political landscape and the willingness of key stakeholders to support such efforts can make these improvements a challenge to implement.
Investing in Innovative Technologies
Increasingly frequent natural disasters are racking up the bills on recovery, and corporations are feeling the burden. This is especially true for the agricultural industry, with record flooding in America’s plains states recently. Meanwhile, these farmers are still digging out from the catastrophic winter bomb cyclone.
Technologies such as solar powered irrigation for crop production and vertical farming are on the rise and must continue to develop at high speed. Additionally, improved digital communication tools to more accurately predict and monitor weather patterns can mitigate production losses and financial burdens. Some companies are even developing programs to educate their producers and stakeholders on the benefits of healthy soil for climate change mitigation.
Collaborating and Spreading the Word
Beyond the greenhouse gas feedback loops warming our planet, other inventions of the Anthropocene are presenting evermore difficult challenges. Plastics are contributing to our climate crisis in more ways than most realize!
One example we love of a pre-competitive collaboration between businesses within the food industry was the Next-Gen Cup Challenge. By exchanging best practices and bringing the public and nonprofits into the fold, we’re creating real opportunities for a sustainable future.
As brands continue to take stands for better environmental, social, and governmental polices, it’s important for individual thought-leaders and brands to transparently communicate their successes (and losses), so that our greater society can benefit.
While not every company can step into the award-winning limelight, every company can “do better” and create a meaningful story to tell.