600 business giants form new network on climate resilience and adaptation
Businesses with combined annual revenues of more than $3trn, spanning a range of the global economy's biggest sectors, have formed a new network aimed at helping the private sector work with cities and governments to build climate resilience.
Convened by think tank The Resilience Shift and business network Resilience First, the new network has garnered the support of the likes of Tesco, Starbucks, Intel, HSBC, NBC Universal, BP, EY, WSP and Deloitte. All in all, 600 businesses have signed up.
The network said in a statement that its mission is to act as a “single global hub to spur knowledge, advice and best practice, and bring forward innovative, resilient solutions to pervasive climate and societal challenges”.
It will aim to achieve this mission by lobbying for stronger policies on climate-resilient infrastructure; advocating for private-sector leadership on resilience and creating cross-sector networks and working groups enabling knowledge sharing and plan development.
The network will also leverage the combined financial power of its members to shift finance and investment in low-carbon sectors – similarly to the way in which the Climate Group’s RE100 and EV100 initiatives act in the renewable electricity and electric vehicles (EVs) markets.
More than 50 of the participating businesses had already pledged to support the International Coalition for Sustainable Infrastructure, created by the Resilience Shift. The Coalition helps businesses overcome challenges relating to financing and funding, innovation, leadership, whole-life costing and compliance with standards. It is hoped that the new initiative will amplify, broaden and accelerate this work.
“Over the last year, the importance of resilience has been made starkly clear; from firms enabling us all to adapt to online work or adapting to online product and services, through to healthcare services responding to the massive increase in intensive care cases, and even energy and transport networks operating on a skeleton staff,” Arup’s global sustainable development leader Dame Jo da Silva said. Arup is one of the 600 network members and a Coalition co-founder.
Dame Jo added: “This ability to adapt to and recover from crisis or change will only become more critical as we navigate the implications of climate change, digital transformation, a growing population and less resources over the next 20 years. I am delighted that today the Resilience Shift joins forces with Resilience First bringing business and infrastructure providers together with a shared ambition to create a safer world.”
Strength to strength?
As noted by the new network, resilience has become more of a focus point for the private sector amid Covid-19. Some have described the immediate system shock of lockdown as a precursor for what the impacts of the nature and climate crises could look like in future decades, so, while some businesses are in crisis management mode, others are taking a longer-term and more holistic view of resilience.
The need to act is financial as well as moral. A WWF analysis last year outlined how the global economy could lost $8trn per year to environment-related shocks by 2050. For the UK alone, the annual cost could reach £16bn by this point.
The UK recently published climate adaptation plans and claims it is one of the first nations to do so. It is urging others to follow suit in the run-up to COP26 and has made adaptation a key focus topic for the conference.
The EU outlined its own climate adaptation strategy this week, detailing plans for more frequent extreme weather events like flooding and wildfires, as well as day-to-day impacts like warmer cities. But the strategy was quickly criticised by environmental campaigners, who argue that it needs binding targets.