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How can workplaces adapt to the climate crisis?

How can workplaces adapt to the climate crisis?

  • What is climate change?
  • 5 Ways businesses can reduce climate change
  • Key takeaways

Climate change is having an influence across all sectors of business. But what should concern business leaders the most, and how can they plan for a more environmentally friendly tomorrow? In this article, we'll discuss the impact of the climate crisis on the workplace, and what businesses can do to adapt.

We’ve all seen the effects of climate change first-hand—increased flooding, droughts, hurricanes, and record-high temperatures. The bottom line is that it can't be "business as usual" when it comes to the climate crisis, and businesses will need to adapt and change their approaches to mitigate damages to both their bottom line and the world at large. 

In this article, we’ll discuss how companies can adapt to climate change, including:

  • What is climate change?

  • What are five things that can industries do to reduce climate change and reduce their carbon footprint?

What is climate change?

Climate change isn’t a “someday” problem; it’s a “now” problem. Climate change itself is more than just “global warming”—it's a long-term alteration in weather/temperature configurations. While some of these changes are natural climate patterns, human behavior—including heavy industry—has had the greatest effect on climate.

According to the United Nations, the average temperature is now 1.1° warmer than the pre-industrial era, and warmer than it’s been in the last 100,00 years, and the results of climate change include fires, flooding, polar ice melting, drought, lack of water, and a decline in biodiversity.

Statistical Insight

The climate’s influence on business isn’t theoretical. According to AON, climate-related events cost the global economy $313 billion in 2022, and only $132 billion of those losses were covered by insurance. And it’s affecting all areas of business and commerce, including the tourism and leisure industries. For example, as the global temperatures rise, ski resorts will see their seasons shorten by as much as 50% by 2050, decreasing their overall income.

5 Ways businesses can reduce climate change

So what can businesses do? There are a few things that have both short and long-term effects on the climate.

  1. Encourage employees to utilize public transportation to reduce greenhouse emissions. Transportation is the greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the US, and CO2 emissions account for about 97% of the potential increase in temperatures across the globe.

  2. Replace less-efficient equipment and infrastructure in the workplace. For example, printers, light bulbs, paper, and air conditioners can be replaced with more sustainable options, and company cars/vehicles could be swapped for hybrid or electric versions.

  3. Decrease waste in the workplace. This isn’t just reducing items that end up in a landfill; it means using sustainable materials and making sure the building is well-insulated to increase energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

  4. Evaluate the company’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) so that you are aware of the effect your company is having on the environment — you can’t fix what you don’t know about.

  5. Analyze your value-chain emissions — what impact do your vendors and partners have on the environment, and what can they do to reduce their overall carbon emissions?

As awareness of the impact climate change has on business and industry, companies can no longer bury their heads in the proverbial sand. More and more, customers are becoming aware of the importance of sustainable products and a company's carbon footprint. Businesses would be wise to mitigate their risk and take the steps necessary to protect not only their profits but also the whole planet.

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Key takeaways

  1. Climate change is a long-term alteration in weather/temperature configurations and human behavior has the greatest effect on climate.

  2. Climate change is affecting all areas of business, and climate-related events cost the global economy $313 billion in 2022, less than half of which was covered by insurance.

  3. Ways companies can help the environment include encouraging the use of public transportation, reducing waste, and analyzing greenhouse gas and value-chain emissions.

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