Jacobs welcomed us with, amongst other things a comprehensive health and safety briefing for the event which turned out to be very useful as there was an unscheduled fire alarm and we had to evacuate the building just before the lunch break. The point being that members of the UK-BCSD walk-the-walk as well as talking-the-talk! The UK-BCSD Secretariat presented their mission to promote the business case for profitable sustainable growth and illustrated the organisations success with several projects that have World-wide traction in pursuit of this mission. We heard from Jacobs and also from Suez, about their work for clients in identifying and preparing for climate related issues. Flooding was a common thread through several presentations and the most tangible example of climate change impact demanding mitigation planning and action. That said, these case studies illustrated the economic, reputational and human impacts of climate-change related incidents; which were evidenced as being equally relevant to heat, cold and drought events.
The approaches to adaptation and mitigation were consistent with any planning for change, comprising elements of:
- Characterisation – what are the threats we face?
- Baseline assessment – where are we today?
- What if analyses – what might happen of it is wetter, drier, hotter, cooler in the future?
- What can we do to adapt and/or mitigate impacts – what is the priority list of things to do that we can afford?
The Low Carbon Research Institute, Cynnal Cymru and National Resources Wales embellished the case-studies with illustrations of practical approaches to adaptive and mitigating actions. There were presentations of a net-carbon-negative dwelling proposition, a service to help SMEs understand the issue and plan to deal with climate change impacts and some important insights into the public perceptions of climate change and possible impacts. These thought provoking presentations gave useful steers to managers wrestling with the problem from a lay perspective. Key to emerge was the need to adopt a “business continuity planning” approach and to provide better information on the nature, scale and likelihood of the different risks faced by communities.
It became clear from the discussions that the past presentation of the problem has not been successful in mobilising voluntary action at the individual scale. People are still sceptical about climate change and still tend to think it is someone else’s problem. Until the majority of people demand action the politicians and economists are unlikely to give sustainability sufficient attention or resources. A remaining challenge for those working in the sustainability space is, therefore, to get the message across and mobilise grass-roots action. Making the business case for profitable and sustainable growth has never been a greater imperative.
Presentations will be made available shortly. If you require further information please contact