Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience

Promoted in Energy Efficiency section: 
9-11:30 a.m. Bank of America TowerOne Bryant ParkNew York, NY

September 22, 2015
9-11:30 a.m.

(Doors open at 8:45 a.m. for light breakfast. Program begins at 9:15.)

Bank of America Tower
One Bryant Park
New York, NY


Read the report and executive summary, watch video of the report launch and find additional resources on resilience.

How are companies are assessing and addressing climate vulnerabilities?

What is keeping them from doing more?

Which tools, data and partnerships can drive action to the next level?

Speakers include:

Alexandra Liftman
Global Environmental Executive, Bank of America

Bob Perciasepe
President, C2ES

Amy Luers, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, Climate Resilience and Information
Office of Science and Technology Policy
Executive Office of the President

Roberta Barbieri
Global Environmental Director, Diageo

Jay Bruns
Vice President of Public Policy
The Hartford

Melissa Lavinson
Corporate Sustainability Officer, PG&E


Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience

Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience

Extreme weather and other climate-related impacts are becoming more frequent, and are imposing real costs on communities and companies. Companies have always navigated a changing business environment. But now they face a changing physical environment, as climate change affects their facilities and operations, supply and distribution chains, electricity and water, and employees and customers.

A new 2015 C2ES Report, Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience, examines how companies are preparing for climate risks and what is keeping them from doing more. It also suggests strategies for companies and cities to collaborate to strengthen climate resilience.

The new report synthesizes public disclosures by S&P Global 100 companies, in-depth interviews and case studies, and workshops. It updates the groundbreaking 2013 report, Weathering the Storm, Building Business Resilience to Climate Change, which provided a baseline for how companies were assessing their climate vulnerabilities.

Click above to see our Weathering the Next Storm  infographic, with key takeaways

Key Findings

  • Most major companies recognize and report climate risks. Ninety-one percent of companies in the S&P Global 100 Index see extreme weather and climate change impacts as current or future risks to their business.
  • Companies worry about climate impacts beyond their facilities. Almost all companies interviewed expressed concern about impacts to their supply chains and public infrastructure.
  • There isn’t one right way to assess and manage climate risks. Many companies view climate change as a “threat multiplier” that exacerbates existing risks. This puts climate change into a familiar context, but could cause companies to overlook or underestimate the threats they face.
  • Companies struggle to translate long-term, global climate data into short-term, local risks. Despite growing access to climate-related data and tools, companies say they need “actionable science” that helps them understand locally-specific risks or risk scenarios.

C2ES Recommendations

  • Companies can start with a limited-scope vulnerability assessment – focusing, for example, on the most critical parts of the business – to raise internal awareness of climate risks.
  • Companies should facilitate regular communication across departments involved in climate risk and resilience -- including sustainability, risk management, operations, and finance – and consider whether to change planning horizons to better incorporate climate risks.
  • Companies, state and city governments, non-profits and local experts should explore partnerships to analyze data, evaluate climate risks, undertake cost-benefit studies, and implement resilience planning.
  • Governments should look for ways to streamline climate risk reporting and provide more guidance on how to incorporate climate risks into financial disclosures.
  • Governments should improve public infrastructure and provide opportunities for the private sector to contribute to resilience planning efforts and investments.

Additional Resources:


Video of our report launch


Building Resilience to Climate Change -- Why it's Crucial


Panel: Taking Business Resilience to the Next Level

Key Insights on Business State and City Collaboration for Climate Resilience

Key Insights on Business State and City Collaboration for Climate Resilience

November 2015

Download the Fact Sheet (PDF)

C2ES held a Solutions Forum workshop focusing on opportunities for collaboration on climate resilience in November 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. More than 40 business leaders, state and city officials, non-profit organizations, and other experts shared their experiences addressing climate change impacts and enhancing resilience. Discussion focused on the role each stakeholder group can play in planning for climate change. This paper summarizes the key insights of the meeting and areas of focus moving forward.

Key insights from the C2ES Solutions Forum on Business State and City Collaboration for Climate Resilience

New business models plus public support can boost investment in EV charging

More than 300,000 electric vehicles (EVs) are already on the road in the United States, but to ramp up adoption of this technology, consumers will need more access to charging beyond their home or office.

C2ES has identified business models that, combined with near-term public support, could boost investment in publicly available EV charging and expand the environmental benefits of EVs.

The business models are detailed in a new C2ES publication, Strategic Planning to Implement Publicly Available EV Charging Stations: A Guide for Businesses and Policymakers. The guide draws on research from a two-year initiative in partnership with the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) to explore innovative financing mechanisms aimed at accelerating the deployment of alternative fuel vehicles and fueling infrastructure.

This figure illustrates the business challenge facing charging service providers presently. Over the expected life of the charging equipment, the direct revenue for the provision of charging services is less than the cost of owning and operating the charging station.

Private investors concerned about high upfront costs and uncertainty about demand for charging services often choose to step back from public charging projects because they are unlikely to earn back their investment in five years or less.

Indirect revenue streams can make a big difference. For example, an automaker and an EV charging station operator could share the revenue generated by additional EV sales that could come from an expansion of charging services. Or a group of retail businesses could co-host a charging site, sharing the costs and attracting new customers.

These and other business models were analyzed using a tool, developed by C2ES and Cadmus Group, that helps investors evaluate the financial viability of publicly available charging station projects.

The charging projects in Washington and New York assume 60 percent of the project capitalization cost is financed through debt. The baseline interest rate used was 8 percent, as indicated in this figure.

Even with these business models, some projects may still not be profitable soon enough for investors. So the report recommends near-term public support, such as grants, low-interest loans, and vehicle purchase incentives. Grants help lower initial costs to speed return on investment, and low-interest loans provide access to investment capital. Incentives to buy EVs, like the wide array of policies outlined in a recent report on EV promotion in the 25 largest U.S. cities, can help expand the demand for charging stations. 

Publicly available charging not only helps travelers with EVs get where they need to go; it also helps reduce emissions contributing to climate change that affects us all.

As with many new technologies, EV charging will need creative business models and public support to capture the environmental benefits of electric vehicles. With continued public support in the near term, new business models that capture indirect revenue can gradually make publicly available charging projects profitable for private businesses.

Strategic Planning to Implement Publicly Available EV Charging Stations: A Guide for Businesses and Policymakers

Strategic Planning to Implement Publicly Available EV Charging Stations: A Guide for Businesses and Policymakers

November 2015

By Nick Nigro, Dan Welch and Janet Peace

Download the Report (PDF)

This guide answers questions that private investors and state and local agencies, such as state energy offices, may have in deciding whether and to what extent they should invest in publicly available charging infrastructure.


Dan Welch
Janet Peace
Nick Nigro

There's growing business momentum for climate action

Can you feel the momentum?

With negotiators meeting in Bonn this week and only six weeks to go until Paris, the business community is not only stepping up to the plate, but is swinging for the fences on its support climate action (Yes, it’s playoff season, so baseball is also on my mind).

This week’s announcement that 69 companies have joined the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge brings the total to 81. Many of these companies pledging to reduce their emissions, take other actions to tackle climate change and support a strong international agreement include a number of members of our own Business Environmental Leadership Council: Alcoa, Bank of America, GE, General Motors, HP, IBM, Intel and PG&E. Together the 81 companies represent a combined $3 trillion in revenue and 9 million employees.

And last week, 14 companies with a combined revenue of $1.1 trillion and 1.5 million employees signed a statement organized by C2ES in support of a Paris climate agreement, that began “Paris presents a critical opportunity to strengthen efforts globally addressing the causes and consequences of climate change, and to demonstrate action by businesses and other non-state actors. ”

But these companies aren’t just talking about climate change; they’re doing something about it. They’re making commitments to reduce their own emissions, and some are even committing to use 100% renewable energy through the RE100 campaign.  They are also working both internally and with communities and cities to increase climate resilience.

Now it’s time to take this enthusiasm and put it to work. We know there is growing support for a strong agreement in Paris, and hopefully that’s what we’ll get in December.  But that’s just the first step—we’ll need to ensure that countries live up to their commitments, and back here in the United States, we’ll be working with businesses, states, and cities to build partnerships that harness the power of the markets to reduce emissions, develop innovative financing for clean energy and strengthen our resilience to climate impacts.

We have some real momentum going now. Let’s make the most of it.

Cities are driving climate solutions

Cities and counties are increasingly emerging as climate leaders, becoming laboratories and incubators for climate solutions. These solutions take a fresh approach to emerging local challenges, and could drive progress at a larger scale.

Here are two key ways cities are stepping up:

·      Local governments are creating an invaluable knowledge base for efficiency and sustainability efforts.

To reach your destination, you have to know where you are starting from. That’s why it’s so important that cities are taking advantage of ever-improving data collection and analytical capabilities to become the providers of rich databases of energy and water use in their jurisdictions.

Philadelphia's Energy Benchmarking program requires large commercial buildings to disclose their energy use. As a result, the city has a baseline of energy usage by nearly 2,000 buildings across multiple sectors. By sharing this data with building owners and energy managers, the city is focusing more attention on saving energy. And by sharing building data online with potential tenants, the city hopes to create a market for efficient buildings.

A similar program in New York City has had promising results. The disclosure policy corresponded with energy savings of nearly 6 percent - worth more than $260 million.

·      Local governments are leveraging technology to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

A partnership between the City of Charlotte and Envision Charlotte, a local nonprofit, was among the examples of this strategy featured at the recent Smart Cities week in Washington, D.C. Working with the city and Duke Energy, Envision Charlotte has installed shadow meters in uptown commercial buildings to gather real-time energy use data that informs customized training for building managers. Recent assessments document a 16 percent drop in energy use over a 2010 baseline.

Envision Charlotte plans to reach more buildings in the city and is developing an app to engage office tenants. It’s also partnering with the White House to launch the newly unveiled Envision America program, which aims to achieve similar energy savings in other cities.

In both of these cases, access to strong data is helping to identify candidates for educational programs and investment opportunities to improve building performance. Local leaders know that these activities can strengthen their communities and local economies, and cities have a growing track record of facilitating such projects and ensuring they are implemented and monitored successfully.

As programs like these show, cities can be valuable partners as states and companies seek to improve sustainability and save energy. They can also play a key role as states seek emissions-cutting strategies under the Clean Power Plan.

That’s why local governments are playing a key role in the new C2ES Solutions Forum initiative. By sharing their experiences with states and businesses, cities and counties will help inform decisions and promote climate solutions that work. 



New commitments to reduce HFCs show leadership

The fastest growing family of greenhouse gases – extremely potent hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) -- aren’t going to be growing as fast in the future.

Today’s White House announcement of voluntary industry commitments to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), along with new regulations put in place over the past year, have created game-changing shifts toward more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Developed as substitutes for ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the late 1980s, HFCs have become widely used worldwide in refrigerators, air conditioners, foam products, and aerosols. While they don’t contribute to ozone depletion, HFCs can trap 1,000 times or more heat in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide. This means they have a high global warming potential (GWP).

The amount of these compounds produced around the world has been growing at a rate of more than 10 percent per year. Unless controlled, emissions of HFCs could nearly triple in the U.S. by 2030. Strong international action to reduce HFCs could reduce temperature increases by 0.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, a critical contribution to global efforts to limit climate change.

The 16 voluntary industry commitments that make up today’s announcement highlight the innovation and leadership U.S. industry is showing in meeting the challenges of addressing climate change. These actions build on 22 commitments made by industry at a White House event just a year ago.

Progress in developing alternatives has been dramatic and is likely to accelerate even more over the next few years. For example:

  • Coca Cola has installed 1.5 million HFC-free cooler units in its global network.
  • Dow Chemical is shifting several of its foam lines to low-GWP alternatives.
  • Mission Pharmacal introduced the first zinc oxide aerosol product using a new low-GWP alternative.
  • Goodman Global Inc. will soon be introducing the first package terminal air-conditioning unit that relies on a low-GWP coolant.
  • Both Chemours (formerly DuPont) and Honeywell have commissioned a number of new plants to ensure adequate quantities of alternatives with lower global warming potential are available to companies worldwide.

As a critical complement to these voluntary industry actions, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented a series of new rules over the past year under its Significant New Alternatives Program (SNAP). These rules both expanded the range of acceptable low-GWP alternatives and limited the use of high-GWP HFCs where more environmentally friendly alternatives are available.

Today’s announcement also includes a new proposed rule that would extend refrigerant managing practices (e.g., recycling) now required for ozone-depleting substances to HFCs.

Together, these voluntary and regulatory actions demonstrate both the importance of acting and the feasibility of shifting to alternatives. They also help the United States make a strong case to the international community as nations gather the first week in November to discuss phasing down HFCs globally.

A call for climate action in Paris

Fourteen major corporations based or operating in the United States are voicing strong support for the adoption of a new global climate agreement.

The companies are endorsing a statement organized by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions calling for negotiators at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris to adopt “a more balanced and durable multilateral framework guiding and strengthening national efforts to address climate change.”

The full text:


This statement was developed by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) and is supported by the major companies listed below.

The U.N. Climate Change conference in Paris presents a critical opportunity to strengthen efforts globally addressing the causes and consequences of climate change, and to demonstrate action by businesses and other non-state actors.

We recognize the rising environmental, social, economic, and security risks posed by climate change, and that delaying action will result in greater risks and costs. An effective response to climate change requires strong government leadership, and presents both enormous challenges and significant economic opportunities for the private sector. As businesses concerned about the well-being of our investors, our customers, our communities and our planet, we are committed to working on our own and in partnership with governments to mobilize the technology, investment and innovation needed to transition to a sustainable low-carbon economy.

We support the aim of a more balanced and durable multilateral framework guiding and strengthening national efforts to address climate change. We believe the Paris agreement should commit all parties to undertake nationally determined efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; provide strong transparency to hold countries accountable; require periodic renewal of national contributions to progressively strengthen the global effort; and facilitate international carbon markets. The agreement should, at a minimum, include all of the world’s major economies.

A new climate agreement in Paris can help strengthen the role of, and minimize risks to, the private sector in a number of ways:

·   Providing Long-Term Direction An aim of progressively decarbonizing the global economy can provide a clearer signal to markets to shift long-term investments toward energy efficiency and other lower-carbon alternatives.

·   Promoting Transparency Requiring countries to be transparent about their policy intentions and implementation can provide greater clarity on domestic policy landscapes, better enabling companies to anticipate regulatory risks and economic opportunities.

·   Addressing Competitiveness – Agreement by all major economies to contribute their fair share, and to simultaneously and regularly renew their contributions, can lead over time towards a greater comparability of effort, helping to ease concerns about potential carbon leakage and competitive imbalances.

·   Facilitating Carbon Pricing Requiring countries choosing to employ international carbon trading to ensure the environmental integrity of these transactions can help facilitate the growth and credibility of the global carbon market, a critical tool for cost-effective emissions reduction.

We stand ready to work with governments and our civil society partners to deliver and implement a sensible and effective global climate agreement in Paris.



Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience, Executive Summary

Weathering the Next Storm:
A Closer Look at Business Resilience
Executive Summary

September 22, 2015

By Katy Maher and Janet Peace

Download the Brief (PDF)

Infographic with key takeaways
and recommendations.


Increased extreme weather and climate-related impacts are imposing significant costs on society and on companies. While businesses are increasingly taking steps to assess risks and prepare for future climate changes, many companies face internal and external challenges that hinder efforts to move toward greater climate resilience. Building and expanding on an earlier review completed in 2013, C2ES examined how large companies are preparing for climate risk, who they are partnering with, and what is keeping them for doing more.

Janet Peace
Katy Maher
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