Preparing your business for the effects of climate change
The arctic weather that hit Britain this winter is estimated to have cost £280 million a day in transport disruption alone, so why weren’t businesses better prepared for it?
Extreme weather patterns are something we are going to experience a lot more of, climate scientists are warning us, and while we are likely to be more at risk of flooding than snow, the potential effects are the same: disruption to work at best with the potential to be put out of business altogether at worst.
To help businesses avoid these risks, the Government has launched the Climate Resilience Toolkit, a free online application that it has designed with the help of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA). We are told it’s been created with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in mind and has been described to us as “quick and simple” to use. But just how useful is it? GreenWise Blog decided to put it to the test.
Businesses can access the toolkit via the Business Link website. The toolkit is essentially a ‘stress test’, where users are asked 10 questions, which cover various areas of a business that could be put at risk by our changing climate, including:
• Water usage
• Energy usage
• Risk of flooding
• Access to and resilience of premises
• Long-term investments
• Offsite working
Users are also asked about whether they think they could develop new products and services for changing consumer demands due to climate change.
The questions are simple and the ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘don’t know’ check boxes, make answering them quick and painless, but the toolkit is too broad in itself to provide a proper risk assessment of an individual company.
GreenWise Blog tested the answers by giving ‘yes’ answers in one version and ‘no’ answers in another version. The results were not much different in both cases. For example, if you said water usage was not a high priority for the business you were still directed to the same Business Link guides and toolkits to improve water efficiency and monitor water usage as you were if you used water a lot.
The Climate Resilience Toolkit should help raise awareness among small businesses about climate adaptation, but it’s unlikely to lead to much action unless it’s backed up by more targeted support for those firms that request it. Yet, the toolkit provides no monitoring or follow up service.
As we understand it, no SME was involved in the design of the toolkit and the Government has no plans to market it to the SME community other than through CIMA and the Business Link website. This could mean many businesses will never hear of it.
Have you used the toolkit? If so, what did you make of it? We want to hear from you.