Climate Change Adaptation – Birmingham event follow up

Our 2nd Climate Change Adaptation event series of the year was bought to Birmingham on the 6th July 2016, hosted by Jacobs.

The event was at full capacity with around 40 delegates attending.

Richard Baines represented UK BCSD and gave an overview on our work supporting profitable sustainable growth across the UK through UK BCSD and locally through MEBC.

Richard expanded on the 2016 programme and the projects we are currently involved with.


Alan Carr from Sustainability West Midlands spoke about the increasing importance of Climate Change Adaptation with the increase in extreme weather events and outlined why we should be focusing on rescilience.

Alan highlighted the NAP – National Adaptation Programme which he was involved in putting together and is the Government’s publication that sets out how to make the country more resilient. Includes actions related to business, such as:

  • To raise awareness and understanding amongst businesses about climate change risks.
  • To increase the extent to which businesses are actively considering climate change impacts in their risk management and resilience planning and decision-making processes and taking appropriate adaptive action.
  • To help businesses better understand and manage climate change risks to their supply chains.
  • To undertake research to increase the understanding of climate change impacts on growth and the economy, working with investors, insurers and other industry partners.

And the Business Resilience Healthcheck which is an online tool following a step by step processes to assess how resilient you are as a business.

  • Seven sections: Premises, Operations, Financial, Insurance, Markets, Staff and Logistics
  • Gives advice on what you need to check.
  • Simple inputs (multiple choice), useful output.
  • Provides a report which you can circulate amongst colleagues, managers and suppliers.


Jessica Fidler from Severn Trent spoke about their Adaptation report which highlights the fact that the water sector is vulnerable to climate change and focuses on 3 main strategies:

  1. Mindset and behaviour
  2. Reducing climate change risks
  3. Seek wider opportunities and solutions.

Jessica mentioned the work that Severn Trent have already done to combat climate change:

  • The Big Blue Pipe – low rainfall in 2011 and 2012 meant that Draycote reservoir which supplies water to customers in Rugby was at lower than normal levels. They installed a temporary pipe to take water out of the river Leam to refill it. Thanks to this they were able to pump 12.5million litres of water a day to safeguard supply for customers.
  • Birmingham Resilience Programme – after studies on the Elan Valley Aqueduct showed that it was at increasing risks from climate change they invested £250m in a new pipeline from the river Severn to act as an alternative water supply. This allowed essential maintenance on the Aqueduct to take place as well as providing a resilient supply of water the Birmingham and surrounding communities for years to come.

Alan Hendry, Sustainability Director for Jacobs gave an update on their main focus points for climate change adaptation which include:

  1. Water scarcity
  2. Flood rick
  3. Heat stress
  4. Natural capital

Alan spoke about some of the worldwide case studies they have been involved in such as a flood at a manufacturing facility in Thailand. Jacobs ran a site hazard study for the site involved as well as all their other locations globall suggesting the measures which needed to be taken to improve resilience.

Climate resilience and interdependence are particularly pertinent with the rain infrastructure and Jacobs are currently doing a lot of work surrounding this.

Nick Simpson from SUEZ spoke about their desire to educate businesses in the need to build water resilience into the plans. A recent business they have been working with have been hit with their predicted ‘1 in 100’ weather events, 6 times over the last 12 months.

The following can have dramatic impacts, as well as opportunities for the industrial sector:

  • Rainfall variability
  • Water scarcity
  • Water quality
  • Rising sea levels
  • Increased temperatires
  • Renewable and potential energy impact.

SUEZ offer audit and benchmarking services which increased data collection and site assessments, tailor made solutions meeting the companies needed and delivery to reduce costs, water consumption and risk.

Our final speaker was Steve Colella from South Staffs Water and is one of the board of directors for the MEBC.

South Staffs Water & Cambridge Water have an average daily demand of 374,000,000 litres and as they are a water only company, the only threat they see is regarding supply, however as they have a variety of water sources and can easilt transport water across the network they do not consider it to be a problem.

They are focusing on changing the behaviours of customers and have teamed up with Smooth radio WM to deliver water saving measures focusing on ‘fit and forget’ retrofit.

To view the presentations click the link below.

CCA Presentation Birmingham 6.7.16

To continue the debate, use the comment box below.

Victoria Kinally is a researcher for the UK Business Council for Sustainable Development and Midlands Environmental Business Company.

Leave a Reply


captcha *