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 RSVP is required by September 17

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

RSVP is required by September 17

Join us as we explore insights from our new report on corporate resilience including

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

Brazil Green Fair demonstrates how climate solutions can be scaled

Photo by Amy Morsch

A volunteer from Escola University uses a model home to demonstrate energy-saving tactics at the first Brazilian Alcoa Green Fair in Poços de Caldas.

Seeing is believing, even if it’s a meticulously built model used to illustrate action in real life.

Take the model home Escola University volunteers displayed at a recent Alcoa Green Fair in Poços de Caldas, Brazil. From top to bottom, it demonstrated energy-saving actions in every nook to help visitors see how each small change can save kilowatts -- and money.

Communities can use the same concept to illustrate and communicate what actions will help save energy and reduce climate impacts.

The way we talk about climate and energy issues can either empower people to act or leave them overwhelmed. People won’t necessarily be moved to act just because they know about the challenges. More often, they will be moved because they feel a collective responsibility for a shared problem and understand how they can make a positive impact.

Through the Alcoa Green Fairs, C2ES and the Alcoa Foundation work to drive action on climate and energy issues in a positive and engaging way. Now, Alcoa and C2ES have pushed this successful U.S. program to the international stage. The first-ever fair in Brazil in August attracted 17 organizations and more than 750 people to Alcoa’s Poços de Caldas plant, about four hours north of the capital Sao Paulo, to see demonstrations, learn about resources, and discover new ways to be eco-friendly.

Events like the Alcoa Green Fairs highlight how organizations are stepping up to reduce their impacts, both collectively and one employee at a time. This leadership was evident when Alcoa plant managers, employee champions, the Alcoa Foundation, C2ES, and Sustainable Poços Association (APS) gathered at an early-morning roundtable discussion before the fair.

Photo by Ellie Ramm

Native trees given to all fairgoers at the first Brazilian Alcoa Green Fair in Poços de Caldas.

The roundtable showcased programs and solutions that are inspiring people to cut their carbon footprints, save money, and improve the environment. For example, APS is leading Poços citizens to participate in worldwide environmental days, recycle waste, go car-free on some days to lower community carbon emissions, and conserve water.

Brazilians clearly care about climate change. A Pew Research poll this year found that 75 percent say they are very concerned about it. And it’s encouraging to see this awareness extending to personal action. To further encourage eco-friendly action, Alcoa gave everyone at the recent Green Fair native trees to plant. Each will capture about 220 pounds of carbon per year.

These organizations and individuals are building successful solutions at the scale that impacts them the most. Their efforts illustrate the kinds of actions we can all take to reduce energy use and carbon emissions – at home, in the workplace, or in our communities.


Are businesses prepared for climate impacts?

Increased extreme weather and climate-related impacts are imposing significant costs on communities and companies alike. While some businesses are taking steps to assess and address climate risks, many face internal and external challenges to building climate resilience.

In a new report, Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resiliencereleased at Climate Week NYC, C2ES examined how major global companies are preparing for climate risks, and what is keeping them from doing more.

C2ES reviewed public disclosures of S&P Global 100 companies, conducted in-depth interviews, and held workshops with business leaders, government officials, academics and other stakeholders. Key findings include:

Major companies recognize and report climate risks.

We found 91 of the world’s largest 100 companies see extreme weather and other climate impacts as business risks. Business leaders see climate risks firsthand – in damaged facilities, interrupted power and water supplies, disrupted supply and distribution chains, and impacts on their employees’ lives.

Most (84 companies) discussed climate risk concerns in CDP questionnaires. Fewer companies did so in their sustainability reports (47) or financial filings (40).

More companies are assessing their vulnerabilities.

The vast majority of companies rely on existing risk management or business continuity planning to address climate risks.

Many see climate change as a “threat magnifier” that exacerbates risks they already know and understand. This lens puts climate change into a familiar business context, but companies could overlook or underestimate the threats they face.

There is no one “right” approach to manage climate risks.

After talking to dozens of major companies, we saw approaches falling into two main categories.

Some companies broadly examine climate risks across their entire enterprise. Diageo, a global beverage company, conducts an annual companywide evaluation of potential climate risks in over 30 countries where they have production and distribution facilities.

Others take a more narrowly focused approach, looking at specific facilities, regions, or threats, like impacts on water supply. Anglo American, one of the world’s largest mining operations, focused on its high-risk facilities in Brazil and South Africa.

For companies looking to examine climate risks, it may help to start small with a limited-scope vulnerability assessment. This can build internal awareness of the issues and support a broader assessment.

Although some companies are taking action, they also face obstacles.

A wealth of climate data is available, but companies struggle to connect the dots between global or national data and business decisions focused on a narrower geographic area. There’s also a disconnect between longer-term climate impacts and the shorter-term horizon of investment decisions.

Business leaders told us they need “actionable science” to translate data into risk scenarios.

Companies and communities can work together to build resilience.

A lot of risks are outside a company’s control, like climate impacts on infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, and water and electricity systems.

Cities play a key role in designing and maintaining critical infrastructure. Many cities have started examining their climate risks and developing adaptation plans, sometimes in partnership with universities and nonprofits.

It’s less common for cities and companies to partner on resilience. That’s a missed opportunity.

Cities often have user-friendly, locally specific data and models that could give companies a head start in considering their own risks. For example, New York City has a Panel on Climate Change to develop city-level information about climate variables to use in planning.

Companies often can provide investment for resilience strategies that go beyond risk reduction to also enhance community facilities and improve air or water quality. In Philadelphia, private developers are partnering with city government, schools and neighborhood groups to fund green infrastructure to better handle storm water runoff.

More of these kinds of partnerships – to analyze data, evaluate climate risks, do cost-benefit studies, and implement resilience planning – will strengthen both companies and communities.

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

Weathering the Next Storm: A Closer Look at Business Resilience

Weathering the Next Storm:
A Closer Look at Business Resilience

September 22, 2015

By Katy Maher and Janet Peace

Download the Report (PDF)

Infographic with key takeaways
and recommendations.

As we saw once again in 2014—the warmest year globally on record—increases in extreme weather and other climate-related impacts are imposing significant costs on society. Even as governments, companies and communities strengthen efforts to reduce emissions contributing to climate change, they are awakening to the urgent need to address growing climate impacts. Across the United States, governments at all levels are taking steps to strengthen climate resilience. Simultaneously, a growing number of companies are recognizing extreme weather and climate change as present or future business risks. For many companies, these rising risks extend well beyond the “fence line” to critical supply chains and infrastructure, and can be effectively managed only in partnership with the public sector.

Janet Peace
Katy Maher

How a Green Fair connection helped the environment and employees

For most Americans, getting to work means getting in a car – alone. Using public transportation instead can help the planet because it is more fuel efficient to move people together than separately. At a recent Green Fair in Springdale, Arkansas, we also learned just how much public transportation can help employees, especially those without a driver’s license or a car who struggle to get to work each day.

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The Green Fair C2ES hosted with Alcoa brought people together to share information and opportunities about energy conservation and sustainability-focused groups in the community.

The connection made at the fair between Alcoa and Ozark Regional Transit (ORT) brought to light a critical problem – and a potential solution. Some of Alcoa’s workers rely on friends, co-workers, and family members for a ride to work. That means if their ride is sick or has another obligation, they may be late for work, or may not make it at all. For Alcoa, that can mean reduced productivity and high employee turnover.

To address this problem, Ozark Regional Transit has decided to launch a new bus route and a pilot program offering free passes to Alcoa employees for the next several months. The distinctive blue buses will wind through nearby neighborhoods and go past Alcoa and a number of other manufacturing companies, who will also participate in the pilot project.

If the program, initiated by Tyson Foods, is successful, companies may decide to extend the service or offer reduced fares as an employee benefit.

Bob Perciasepe's Remarks at the Innovative Financing and Clean Power Solutions Forum





JUNE 25, 2015

Welcome everybody and thank you for being here. I especially want to thank our co-host for today’s event: The George Washington University Law School’s Environment and Energy Program.

My name is Bob Perciasepe and I’m president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, or C2ES.

I think many of you know us, but for those of you who don’t, we’re an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit group dedicated to bringing diverse interests together to solve our climate and energy challenges.

Today is a perfect example of how we go about doing that. We’re going to be talking a lot about energy efficiency and renewable energy – and how innovative financing can help us increase investment in those areas. I’m pleased to be bringing together top financial experts from Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and the Coalition for Green Capital; state leaders from Tennessee and Pennsylvania; and energy leaders from Schneider Electric and Duke Energy. I think this group in itself shows you the mix of people who have to start working harder together to make sure we can make progress on clean energy and energy efficiency.

Finance may or may not have been your favorite class in college, but much of the progress we need to address our climate challenge – more efficiency and more low-carbon energy -- comes down to one question: How do we pay for it? Financing and using markets are ways to accelerate the rate of change.

On the other side of the coin, we’re already paying mounting costs worldwide for climate impacts like increasingly frequent storms and intense heat waves. We’re seeing rising sea levels creating higher risk in coastal areas. We face the prospect of more damage to our infrastructure and more disruptions to our supply and distribution chains, as well as our power and water supplies.

The primary cause of these problems, and you can take this all the way to the Vatican, is us. We’ve been pumping heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere for generations. Last year was the hottest since we started keeping records over 100 years ago.

But we know that there are things we can do. We know what some of the solutions are. We know how to make progress within a generation to change that trajectory. We need cleaner energy, cleaner cars, and more efficient ways to use energy.

Here in the United States, the No. 1 source of carbon emissions is the generation of electricity. EPA is in the process of finalizing a plan that will put a lot of responsibility on states to look at how they can innovate to develop clean power plans to reduce emissions from electric generation. We already have a process underway with light duty vehicles and heavy duty trucks, making them more energy efficient. And we have a lot of opportunity to think about how to do this at the state level for power.

The beauty here is while we continue to think about how to deal with this at the national level, cities and states and businesses are already innovating. They’re already making progress not only in reducing emissions but also in finding ways to accelerate the rate of change and stimulate innovation.

Of course, we want not just clean energy, but also affordable energy. This is a balance we have to have. We’re seeing solar and other renewables drop in price, something that can continue with increased deployment. Efficiency reduces how much energy we use, so that even if there’s a slight uptick in rates, a homeowner’s bill can stay the same.

The objective of having cleaner power and also using less of it provides a real opportunity to find that sweet spot of maintaining that affordability. It’s like what we’re looking at with automobiles. If you use less fuel, the actual cost to own the car is cheaper. The same can be said of energy efficiency in the home, business, and industry.

C2ES found something interesting on affordability when we recently looked at six economic modeling studies of the Clean Power Plan. All of the models project energy efficiency will be the most-used option to implement the plan. The majority of the studies project either cost savings to consumers or total costs of less than $10 billion a year, Per household, that’s about 25 cents a day.

So, how do we get to this future of affordable clean energy and energy efficiency? It takes investment, and that’s what we’re here to explore. How do we catalyze that investment? How do we leverage public funds to get more private dollars? What innovative business models are already working, and how do we scale those up?

It’s not simple. We face some barriers to investment like high upfront costs. If you invest in new windows and solar panels for a high rise, it will take a while to recover those costs in lower energy bills. Another barrier is lack of familiarity. People aren’t sure about new technologies and new financial products, which can make them harder to buy and sell.

Fortunately, there are ways to overcome these barriers. We have a brief overview of some of these options. I’ll mention two: Clean Energy Banks, sometimes called Green Banks; and Energy Savings Performance Contracts.

Clean Energy Banks are generally government-created institutions that can leverage a small amount of public money to increase private investment in clean technologies. Several states have them or something like them – Connecticut, New York, Kentucky, and Hawaii. And others, like Maryland, California, and D.C are thinking about them.

They can provide direct loans, but they also have other tools, such as credit enhancements, letters of credit, and loan loss reserves, that can help lower the risk for private lenders and investors.

So far, Connecticut’s green bank, the nation’s first, has attracted about $9 of private investment for every $1 of public money invested in clean energy projects. The bank oversees more than $100 million in assets.

The second example is an Energy Service Company, or ESCO, whose business model is based on establishing Energy Savings Performance Contracts with customers like cities, hospitals and universities. These contracts let a customer get energy-saving or clean-energy technology at little to no upfront cost. They pay the investment back over time from the money saved through reduced energy bills.

The City of Knoxville, Tennessee, has a 13-year energy performance savings contract that will fund energy efficiency measures at all city buildings, parks and sports facilities. Each year, Knoxville will pay the ESCO a fee based on expected savings from things like better lighting, water conservation, weatherization, and heating and cooling upgrades.

Innovative financial tools are not a panacea, but they are an essential tool to overcoming many of the barriers facing a new technology. They can also engage a broader group of investors, bring more capital to the table, and reduce costs. Those are the conditions that allow new technologies to spread.


Solutions Forum

States, cities, and companies all have a role to play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, building a clean energy economy, and strengthening resilience against increasing climate risks. In a three-part series of events, C2ES is bringing together these groups to explore opportunities and options for reducing power plant carbon emissions under the Clean Power Plan.

States have a vast array of policy options to consider. We explore how market-based approaches could be used to efficiently and effectively implement the Clean Power Plan, the role of information technology and energy efficiency, and the best models for financing clean energy technology.

Solutions Forum Events

Innovative Finance and Clean Power
June 25, 2015
States and companies are deploying tools like green bonds, clean energy banks, and energy service contracts to finance clean energy and energy efficiency. How can these tools be scaled up? What can we learn from leading states and companies and what stands in the way of further progress?


Introduction and Discussion: A State Perspective on Clean Energy Finance
Introduction: Bob Perciasepe – President C2ES
Remarks: Kathleen Merrigan – Executive Director of Sustainability, The George Washington University
Lee Paddock – Associate Dean for Environmental Studies, The George Washington University School of Law.
Discussion: Bob Martineau, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.


Key Tools to Mobilize Clean Energy and Efficiency Investment
Andrea Colnes – Board of Directors, Coalition for Green Capital
Granville Martin – Managing Director, Sustainable Finance, JPMorgan Chase
Robert Martineau Tennessee Environment and Conservation Commissioner
Bill Tyndall – Vice President of Commercial Strategic Initiatives, Duke Energy
Moderated by: Bob Perciasepe.

Financing Energy Efficiency: Scaling Up Models that Work
Amy Brusiloff – Senior Vice President, Community Development Financial Institution Lending & Investing, Bank of America
Anna Pavlova – Vice President, Government Relations, Schneider Electric
Keith Welks – Deputy Treasurer, Pennsylvania State Treasury
Moderated by: Donna Attanasio – Senior Advisor for Energy Law Programs, The George Washington University Law School

The GW Solar Institute: A Brief Introduction
Amit Ronen – Director, The George Washington University Solar Institute


Driving Energy Efficiency with IT
May 18, 2015
C2ES brings together business, state and city leaders to explore how information technology can help achieve energy efficiency and Clean Power Plan targets.


Why Energy Efficiency is Smart for States and Business
Introduction: Bob Perciasepe – President C2ES
Remarks & Discussion: Ralph Izzo – Chairman and CEO, PSEG


Intelligent Efficiency and the Power Sector; Options, Opportunities and Challenges
A discussion with Steve Harper – Global Director, Environment and Energy Policy, Intel Corporation
Alyssa Caddle – Principle Program Manager, Office of Sustainability, EMC
Lars Kvale – Head of Business Development, APX Environmental Markets


Delivering Intelligent Efficiency to Consumers – Why It Matters
A discussion with Doug Scott – Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, Great Plains Institute
Katherine Gajewski – Director of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia
Jessica Burdette – Conservation Improvement Program Supervisor, Minnesota Department of Commerce
Rick Counihan – Head of Energy Regulatory and Government Affairs, Nest
Moderated by: Janet Peace – Vice President for Markets & Business Strategy, C2ES


Carbon Pricing & Clean Power
April 15, 2015
C2ES brings together state leaders and industry experts to explore market-based approaches to efficiently and effectively implementing EPA's proposed Clean Power Plan.


State Perspectives: Weighing the Options
Introduction: Bob Perciasepe – Presidemt, C2ES
Remarks: Adele Morris – Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Michael Wara – Professor, Stanford Law School

Discussion with Janet Coit – Director, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
David Paylor – Director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Martha Rudolph – Director of Environmental Programs, Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment


Businesses Perspectives: Carbon Pricing in Practice
A discussion with Skiles Boyd – Vice President, Environmental Management and Resources, DTE Energy
Erika Guerra – Government Affairs and Corporate Social Responsibility, Holcim (US) Inc.
Kevin Leahy –
Director of Energy and Environmental Policy, Duke Energy

Katie Ott – Senior Manager, Federal Government Affairs, Exelon


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