Friday, June 6, 2014

Tools to Help Business Leaders Manage Climate Risks

Business leaders need tools to help them identify and anticipate climate issues that can interfere with their activities. Such a climate awareness can help with planning and decision making. In the best case scenario business leaders can preempt problems altogether. At the very least, they can prepare contingency plans to manage deleterious impacts. Shoring up an organization's vulnerabilities is no small feat in the context of the wide range of climate change related threats we face. This includes extreme weather, storm surges, floods, fires, droughts and head waves. Access to the right information can support smarter strategies. For example, areas prone to sea-level rise could be avoided, and threats to the local water utility operators could be identified.

Physical Infrastructure

Climate change represents material risks that can figuratively and literally inundate an enterprise. Effective leadership entails being able to ensure the integrity of the physical infrastructure which includes offices and manufacturing plants.

Supply Chains

Business leaders must also ensure access to the raw materials required for production. Scrutinizing a supply chain can reduce the risk from disruptions and help a company to manage when such disruptions do occur. Protecting the physical infrastructure and managing the supply chain are just two of a multitude of concerns that today's business leaders must entertain if they are to effectively manage risk.


To help business leaders and others have a better understanding of climate impacts a large number of companies and organizations* have joined the White House to launch a suite of climate data projects. The Climate Data Initiative will eventually address human health, energy infrastructure, and the food supply. The USGS, the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency have released mapping information about hundreds of thousands of the nation’s infrastructure units and geographical features, including bridges, roads, railroad tunnels, canals, and river gauges.

As of right now more than 100 data sets, web services and tools are available related to coastal flooding and sea level rise.

For more information click here.

* Google, Microsoft Research, Intel Corporation, Esri, Climate Central, World Bank, MIT, Antioch University New England, CartoDB, the Rockefeller Foundation, Code for America, annual hackathon EcoHack, the Alliance for Water Efficiency and NASA.

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