Businesses ‘aware of climate change opportunities and risks’

Businesses in the UK are already exploring the opportunities and risks of climate change and extreme weather. That’s according to a new report from the Environment Agency which combines evidence […]

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By Jacqueline Echevarria

Businesses in the UK are already exploring the opportunities and risks of climate change and extreme weather.

That’s according to a new report from the Environment Agency which combines evidence from Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) surveys of UK firms with new insights from interviews with businesses.

It states 86% of the companies surveyed identified one or more climate-related risks out of which 36% were marked as having a high cost to their operations and 28% of them quantified financial implications to their business.

However, for every three risks reported, one opportunity was identified by firms, the report adds.

Some of the benefits were effectively protecting vital assets, maintaining business continuity and gaining a competitive advantage and reputation.

Much of the work businesses are doing to protect their firms from climate risks don’t need extra funding, staff and skills, the companies said.

On the other hand, the report adds 44% of companies do not know the financial costs of climate impacts and 62% of the market opportunities identified by companies are related to increased demand for existing and new products and services.

In the UK, sectors such as manufacturing, finance and insurance, environmental and engineering consultancy and construction are exporting products and services globally to help clients manage climate change impacts, the Environment Agency states.

Emma Howard Boyd, Environment Agency’s Acting Chair said: “Planning now for the impacts of severe weather and a changing climate makes good business sense and can have immediate benefits. For instance, if businesses can keep trading during severe weather they will not only retain customers, they may have the chance to win new ones.

“We want UK businesses to be resilient to extreme weather to, be prepared for future risks and to seek opportunities, where they can, from a changing climate.”