Climate change is more than a futuristic environmental problem; it is also something that can affect your family business. The world’s climate is linked to society in even the most minute way. It can and will affect more than just the weather.
From the health industry to the beauty industry to the fashion industry and, most especially, the food industry, climate change can and will have irrevocable and irreversible effects on everyone on the planet. It’s already happening now and will continue to affect the next generation of business owners.
Fast Facts About Climate Change
By definition, climate change is the “long-term change in the average weather patterns that have come to define Earth’s local, regional and global climates. Global Climate Change – Vital Signs of the Planet” There are a few things that have raised several alarms about climate change in recent years.
According to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports that 2010 to 2019 is the hottest decade recorded in human history, with the year 2016 as the hottest year. The WMO predicts that this will be surpassed in the next five years. Bad news for all of us. Moreover, the ice caps are fast melting, causing sea water levels to rise.
Greenland lost 329 gigatons of ice in 2019. This is so far above its annual average of ice melt over the past few decades. The ocean also absorbs 90% of the heat caused by global warming. This causes immeasurable damage to the marine ecosystem which, in turn, causes a ripple effect on the shorelines and people’s dinner tables.
Climate change also causes more natural disasters like typhoons, storm surges, and even tsunamis. This is highly dangerous, especially for vulnerable communities. Perhaps most personal and direct of all, the almost 7 million people who were displaced in 2019 alone because of climate disasters. Not to mention the people who have had to move their homes because their resources have been extremely limited due to the fluctuating weather.
Climate Change is changing businesses in a number of ways:
Extreme Weather Causes Increased Risks to Businesses
Extreme weather events include storms, floods, heat waves, and droughts. Science has found that climate change has caused these extreme weather events to increase in intensity and intensity. Some countries in the Pacific have experienced even more flash floods and storm surges in recent years and their effects have been devastating, not just to regular individuals but also to businesses.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMSEs) are more vulnerable to this, especially those without good insurance coverage. Also due to extreme weather conditions, insurance costs skyrocket for businesses that are situated in more vulnerable areas.
Resource Availability and Costs Are Changing
With the fluctuating and extreme weather changes, resources are slowly becoming more scarce. Floods and droughts disrupt crops used for food, and raw materials for hundreds of consumer products, and may even contaminate water used for drinking. Transportation expenses may also rise in cost as it becomes more difficult to reach areas that have been affected by extreme weather events.
Harsher Working Conditions
Humans and animals are the first ones affected by climate change. As temperatures rise and weather patterns change, working conditions become harsher. For example, a farmer
As temperatures rise and weather patterns change, working conditions in some sectors may become harsher. Jobs that require physical labor, especially outdoors, will become more challenging, and health and safety risks in these industries will rise. This will increase costs in these sectors.
Business Regulations Will Need to Adapt
While many companies already have regulations put in place to mitigate and prevent contributing to pollution, they will need to amp it up, even more, to adapt to the rate that pollution is rising. Businesses that produce higher levels of emissions will need to look for alternative sources of energy. If laws that are passed are in favor of this, every business will be required to only produce and use clean resources.
Public Pressure to Become a Greener Business
As the public becomes more aware of climate change, as they should, and each individual is made to accept their role in this crisis, human behavior when it comes to consumption also changes. People are now clamoring for businesses to go greener, especially conglomerates and global companies. From sustainable products to justly compensated labor, consumers now expect all companies to uphold human values and the sake of the environment above profit.
How Can Family Businesses Cope?
The most important question for businesses now, knowing how badly they might — or already are — impacted by the climate crisis, has can they prepare? Is there a proven method or series of steps to follow for businesses to cope during these trying times? Many companies have already started to adapt ahead of time, decades before climate change was declared to be a climate emergency. Although this was a smart move on their end, even they have had to amp up their efforts to keep up with the rising demand and changes.
What more of the SMSEs that have no sustainable way of putting up new processes or changing their facilities and utilities? Fortunately, experts are saying that there are small but effective ways to start turning your business into a more sustainable, environmentally-friendly company.
The first step is to conduct a thorough analysis of how your business impacts the environment, both directly and indirectly. Also conduct an assessment of the potential risks you might be facing such as extreme weather, change in working conditions, and the availability of resources. If you are offering individually wrapped products, try sourcing for more sustainable packaging. Solar, wind, and biomass energy are also more readily available now than they were before.
After assessing what your business is facing with climate emergencies on the rise, you can use this information to come up with an environmental management system within your company, no matter its size. Climate change does not only impact the environment but humans directly. You must learn to adapt and do your part for your business to succeed with the tides of change.
How is the Next Generation Dealing With the Climate Emergency?
The next generation is the backbone of family businesses. They are the true hope that a business will succeed beyond its intended goal. The youth, as they say, is the future. But how can this stand true when even the youth is afraid of the irreparable damage that has been done to the planet? The climate crisis has sparked up conversations, entire movements, and what some would call a revolution.
The youth are clamoring for their governments to take action; for corporations to be held accountable; for industries to become more aware of their impact on the environment. The Paris Agreement, also known as the Paris Climate Accords, is a global treaty that sets out a framework for countries to work together to mitigate, adapt, and finance the fight against climate emergencies.
Movements all over the globe, amazingly led by young individuals, have been happening. They have made a tremendous impact as their governments have heard their pleas and signed on with the Paris Agreement. However, the agreement itself is without value if the citizens it aims to protect will not move with ambitious actions. The youth’s cry that everyone should hear? Climate justice now.