Issues important to adaptation were featured in several meetings held during the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
Executives from Rio Tinto, Nestlé and SABMiller participated in the session, “The Natural Resource Context,” and discussed the challenges of resource management in the water, food and energy sectors. A WEF summary of the meeting includes a statement on responding to climate change: “Responses to climate change need to be more than a knee-jerk reaction to the ‘issue of the year’ and should concentrate on much more than simply carbon dioxide emissions.”
There has already been significant media coverage of the losses Thailand’s flooding has created for multinational corporations. While the Thai government has pledged to prevent such disasters from occurring again, this single incident may now spur investors, particularly the Japanese, to reconsider their business strategies.
Transparency International just released its climate change Global Corruption Report. The extensive report is downloadable here in several languages and sections — section 5 focuses solely on strengthening accountability in adaptation.
James Lewis’ chapter, “Climate-proofing development: Corruption risks in adaptation infrastructure,” is particularly interesting to the Institute. The construction industry, which often consists of public-private collaborations, will be crucial in reducing the vulnerabilities of urban areas, transportation routes and water systems. However, Lewis points out that corruption can account for 5 - 20 percent of total construction costs. Given the long supply chains and various local, national and international governance structures involved with large infrastructure projects, corruption risks are high. For adaptation projects designed to save lives, substandard construction due to corruption is particularly worrisome.
The effects of a changing climate, increasing population and other global problems are mounting every year. We are not talking about the future, this is happening now. There is much more we could do to address these challenges. For that, participation by the private sector is an essential part of the solution.
Business as usual will not work, and many companies are already aware of this. The Institute seeks to partner with these early movers and work with other businesses to guide them into resilience.
Here is a quick compilation of recent cases for Adaptation:
Dr. Juan José Daboub was this week’s featured business leader in the EcoInnovator Blog, hosted by the Corporate Eco Forum. The posting, “Facing a New World of 7 Billion + Climate Disruption: How Prepared is Your Company?”, discusses the importance of adaptation for the private sector as the 7 billionth person entered the world last month. The EcoInnovator Blog is “by-invitation articles featuring thought leaders and practitioners at the cutting edge of corporate sustainability.”