Adaptation to Climate Change - Not Just a Public Policy Issue

Climate change
is no longer an issue for governments to resolve alone.  The
private sector can play a valuable role in advising on what
policies would encourage action by business, according to a new
study by PwC.

The study, Business leadership on
climate change and adaptation
, was launched to
coincide with the Global Business Day at the recent UN Climate
Summit in Cancun, presents the views of a range of businesses, from
major multinationals to local enterprises, on adaptation to climate

It was conducted
in collaboration with the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) and supported by the World Business Council
for Sustainable Development and the UK Department for International


It concludes that
business has an important role to play in adaptation, and that
better engagement of business is needed in the policy-shaping
process to harness this. The role of business is not just in
preparing its own assets and operations for anticipated climate
change, but also providing know how, solutions and resources to the
adaptation challenge.


This ranges from
climate risk assessment, to designing disaster risk management and
financing vehicles, and designing and deploying new


Adaptation is highly complex and involves dealing with
significant uncertainties. Impacts will vary, and stakeholders are
diverse. There is no silver bullet, no single solution. But these
are not reasons for inaction.

Dr Celine
Herweijer, director, PwC sustainability and climate change, said:
“For business, adaptation is not just a defensive play, to protect
business as usual. It is about capitalising on new opportunities,
innovations and markets. That’s often the forgotten story.”


The report
highlights that collaboration between governments and business is
crucial to scaling up action and investment on adaptation. Richard
Gledhill, head of climate change services at PwC, said:


policymakers and the private sector don’t just sit in different
rooms, they speak different languages. The new enthusiasm that the
UNFCCC and the Mexican Government hosts are showing for engaging
the private sector will be good for business and good for climate.
Business engagement is not a nice to have, it’s a must have in the


PWC chart


from the report that were released in Cancun called for more
business action on adaptation, better representation of business in
the international process, and collaboration with governments in
the development of adaptation responses. It covers five key

  • National
    planning and implementation of adaptation;

  • Assessment of
    risks, impacts and vulnerability and knowledge sharing;

  • Technology
    development and transfer;

  • Disaster risk
    management and insurance;

  • Financing
    adaptation activities.

Commenting in the
report Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC said:
“Adaptation to climate change is no longer the exclusive ambit of
the public sector. Investment in adaptation makes business sense,
due both to the need for companies to climate-proof their
operations, as well as to the new business opportunities opening in
the area of adaptation. Companies that act on this vision place
themselves in the forefront of sustainable entrepreneurship.”

The report found that increased public and private action on
adaptation would be central to the effectiveness of any future
international framework agreement on climate change. 

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target=”_blank”>Full Report and the href=””
target=”_blank”>Executive Summary are available for

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