While many companies are making substantial progress on climate issues, others are plagued by disconnects between climate goals and climate actions, or between climate strategy and the real strategy of the business. These disconnects create real business risk as companies set expectations they cannot or will not meet, miss valuable opportunities or overlook real risks to their business model.
Even those companies facing their responsibilities to reduce climate change (“mitigation”) may be paying too little attention to the risks and opportunities climate change may pose. This is sometimes true for the “transition” risks of a decarbonizing marketplace. It is even more frequently the case when it comes to “physical” climate risks.
The physical impacts of climate change are already affecting businesses around the world, though, through increased frequency, intensity and duration of storms; flooding; drought; fires and extreme temperatures. Every aspect of business can be affected by physical climate changes, including day-to-day operations and business continuity, process safety, labor force, supply chain vulnerability, market access, capital expenditure, and even merger and acquisition activity. While some companies have made major strides in efforts to slow climate change, business progress on climate adaptation lags behind.
Scott Nadler has a clear point of view focused on business’ need to honestly face up to climate change realities and responsibilities. He spelled out this perspective in his 2022 article: “It’s time we all get more honest about climate strategies.” That article urges companies to:
- Create honest senior-level conversations about climate change.
- Bring the people who make promises and the people who keep them into one conversation.
- Be honest.
- Communicate honestly about climate change and your company with your employees (not to or at them).
He also brings a unique perspective to business adaptation challenges (summarized in a 2019 LinkedIn article on “Facing the Future Now”). His experiences in business, consulting, environment, sustainability, real estate and economic development combine to shed light on the challenges of investing (and disinvesting) for the uncertain future – and for the uncomfortable present.
- Leadership awareness, understanding and acceptance, including through use of TCFD disclosure preparation
- Climate risk and opportunity analysis
- Climate transition and adaptation strategy development
- Led fossil-fuel intensive company’s C-suite through TCFD preparation resulting in fundamental changes in direction of their business strategy.
- Guided corporate CSR team through expanded climate risk and opportunity analysis
- Conducted multi-company, multi-sector benchmarking on physical climate change impacts and responses
- Convened successful Business Adaptation Workshops with select leading companies both in US and in Africa, addressing practical business adaptation to physical climate changes
- Helped design and lead Business Adaptation Workshop series for Finance in Africa including both public and private investors from Africa, Europe and North America
- Supported multi-national company updating of climate adaptation strategy including implications and applications of downscaling results