The World Resources Institute and their partners have come up with a list of risks and business trends that could arise from predicted climate change. You can read their summary here.
WRI and some global corporations that support them used real-life case studies to determine where the points of danger and opportunity lie for businesses. WRI says, "Ecosystem degradation is highly relevant to business because companies not only impact ecosystems and the services they provide but also depend on them. Ecosystem degradation, therefore, can pose a number of risks to corporate performance as well as create new business opportunities." Here are some of their key findings:
Higher cost for fresh water
Danger of coastal flooding affectuing facilities there
Decrease in hydroelectric electricity production
Possible increase in government regulations and pollution penalties
Financial and retail businesses may be pointed out as responsible for deforestation or other einvronmental problems
Eco-certification systems and government intervention could devalue long-standing resource use, even drive some customers away
Higher value placed on water efficiency and on-site water recycling
Higher value placed on habitat restoration activities
Sustainable resource use and management could be major corporate strength
"Launching new products and services that reduce customer impacts on ecosystems, participating in emerging markets for carbon sequestration and watershed protection, capturing new revenue streams from company-owned natural assets, and offering eco-labeled wood, seafood, produce, and other products."
Making eco-sensitive loans and investment. ------- WRI ciytes a study showing a majority of the globe's eco-systems have suffered degradation in the past fifty years. Corporations, they point out, depend on ecosystems for their resources and operations. In conclusion, WRI says, "Unfortunately, companies often fail to make the connection between the health of ecosystems and the business bottom line. Many companies are not fully aware of the extent of their dependence and impact on ecosystems and the possible ramifications."
Clesarly WRI sees plenty of opening for start-ups and existing large corporations to position their investments to fit into the coming business climate. They leave no doubt that there's going to be change in the business climate for corporations around the globe.
Who should care, you ask? After all, I sell pencils and blank discs in my office supply business. Or, I just write code, thank you very much. WRI's answer: "The Ecosystem Services Review can provide value to businesses in industries that directly interact with ecosystems such as agriculture, beverages, water services, forestry, electricity, oil, gas, mining, and tourism. It is also relevant to sectors such as general retail, healthcare, consulting, financial services, and others to the degree that their suppliers or customers interact directly with ecosystems. General retailers, for example, may face reputational or market risks if some of their suppliers are responsible for degrading ecosystems and the services they provide."
With that in mind, WRI outlines a Ecosystems Review procedure that would allow any business manager to see where the company stands now, and where it might be positioned going forward.