National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy

National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy

April 27, 2012 09:12 ET

Canadian Businesses not Climate-Ready Says NRT

Agency sets out path to climate-ready private sectors essential to Canada's future prosperity

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 27, 2012) - The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy today released two new reports dealing with the need for Canadian businesses to build resilience in the face of climate change. The reports show that adapting to climate change is not yet on the corporate radar.

Benefitting from the input of major Canadian companies and over 80 stakeholders across the country, "Facing the Elements: Building Business Resilience in a Changing Climate" explores the key role and needs of Canada's private sector in planning ahead and keeping operations and supply chains resilient in a changing climate. It specifies also how government can help.

"Facing the Elements" is a series of three targeted reports aimed at business executives, climate practitioners and government decision-makers. It examines the risks and opportunities that a changing climate presents to firms, and how businesses can adapt - such as strengthening supply chains, investing in climate-ready infrastructure, and collaborating with governments and across industry sectors - in order to stay competitive and prosper in years to come.

The reports point out helpful steps governments can take, such as sharing climate data, information, and scenarios with companies to build business resilience. It highlights the importance of critical infrastructure, both public and private, and how it needs to be safeguarded through forward climate planning.

The Advisory Report provides specific recommendations on how government can support greater business adaptation to climate change and why this matters; the Business Primer provides practical steps and approaches business executives and managers can use to get in front and succeed in the face of this growing challenge; while the Case Studies report - released in March - presented successes, challenges, and lessons from thirteen Canadian and international pacesetting companies who are already adapting to climate change.

Facing the Elements is the product of new research and convening with directly affected companies and sectors. By looking at the issue from the vantage point of the firm, it outlines roles for government and business in tackling the climate adaptation challenge together.

Steps to adapt are within the reach of companies today. Building from the examples of pacesetting companies, the NRT created a dashboard for business success in a changing climate which, lays out a three-phase process to help firms gain a competitive edge.

"Business is on the frontline of climate change and how they respond will say much about our economic ability to face the elements", said NRT President and CEO, David McLaughlin. "What we have learned from businesses is that without support from governments, adapting to climate change - so we can manage the impacts to come - will be much more difficult", he concluded.

The NRT offers 21 recommendations in four specific areas for how governments and organizations that engage with business can help build the resilience of Canadian firms:

  • Tailoring climate change information to address business adaptation needs;
  • Augmenting investor information through better corporate disclosure;
  • Enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure;
  • Preparing now for future policy innovation

Among the recommendations, the NRT suggests putting climate change data and information in one place for easy access, improving enforcement of financial disclosure rules so investors can better evaluate company's positions in light of shifting weather and climate phenomena, encouraging risk assessments of publicly-and privately- owned and operated critical infrastructure with climate change in mind, and exploring commercial opportunities for Canadian industry sectors resulting from physical climate changes at home and abroad.

"These reports present a state of play of business adaptation in Canada and draw from real practitioner experience to highlight steps and strategies that need to be taken to build climate resilience in the private sector", said NRT's Vice Chair Robert Slater. "Our climate is changing and that is causing all of us - governments, communities, and businesses - to change the way we make decisions. We can no longer look to the past as a good guide for the future."

The reports have been sent to the Minister of Environment for his consideration and are available on the Round Table's website:

About the Round Table

Through the development of innovative policy research and considered advice, the NRT's mission is to help Canada achieve sustainable development solutions that integrate environmental and economic considerations to ensure the lasting prosperity and well-being of our nation. The NRT is the only national organization with a direct mandate from Parliament to engage Canadians in the generation and promotion of sustainable development advice.

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