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