Climate change and its effects will continue to change the world in major ways. This year alone, we have seen super typhoons ravage third-world nations, wildfires destroy parts of the West Coast, and more intense droughts being felt and seen across the Great Plains and the Southern Hemisphere. Global warming is here, and we can’t escape its consequences and effects; we can only slow it down.
One sector of society that will continue to be affected by these effects are businesses of all sizes, so business leaders and owners must be proactive in acclimating to this crisis. Here are some ways climate change will continue to change businesses and industries and how business leaders can adjust to the coming storm.
Changing needs and demands
As the climate continues to change, so will specific demands. As the world’s temperature rises, the demand for heating oil will also decrease—as will the demand for winter and cold weather goods. More consumers will also focus on sustainability, and they will keep their eye on brands that prioritize being environmentally-friendly in their input and output processes.
What businesses can do: Identifying opportunities to meet climate change-specific demands is key, and how they can improve their environmental performance not just to score brownie points with consumers, but because it’s the right thing to do for the planet.
More extreme working conditions
Experts say that it doesn’t matter where you choose to live. We will all have to pay the price of climate change regardless of the state or city we choose to call home or operate our business. Our properties, both residential and commercial, will have to contend with harsher weather and more extreme temperatures. Jobs that necessitate physical labor will be more of a safety and health risk, which will increases costs in their sectors.
What businesses can do: Business owners will be smart to prioritize the structural integrity of their properties. An insulated patio roofing may cost more, but if it protects your home and your business from the long-term effects of wear and tear due to heavy rains and winds, it’s a worthy investment. Business owners also need to continue to comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act to protect their employees from hazards.
Different resource availability and costs
Extreme weather changes can disrupt different supply chains, making resource and material availability and costs volatile. Severe weather pattern changes and extreme drought have the ability to cause a shortage of crops used for food, clothing, and other products. Rising transportation and electricity expenses can also escalate the cost of delivering goods. Changing laws and regulations on goods based on climate change could also increase business expenses. A potential scarcity of resources and materials could drive many companies and businesses to use alternative materials and recycle more waste.
What businesses can do: As early as now, companies should determine if they can source alternative materials and determine the feasibility of utilizing renewable energy like solar, wind, and biomass. The information from a thorough feasibility study can help businesses shift to an environmental management system that’s more environmentally-efficient.
Increased pressure from the public
The COVID-19 crisis has caused many consumers across the globe to re-think their spending and purchasing habits. But even before the pandemic hit, climate change has already caused many to reconsider switching to conscious consumerism and being more aware of how the products they patronize are harming the earth’s natural resources. In some cases, excessive waste and a lack of social responsibility have even become a “cancelable” offense, with 77% of shoppers in the United Kingdom switching, avoiding, or boycotting certain products based on their lax environmental policies.
What businesses can do: Business leaders need to stay abreast of consumer sentiment and commit to making the shift to renewable energy. A sincere dedication to social responsibility and more eco-friendly practices will go a long way in building a loyal consumer base that will appreciate their efforts in saving the planet. After all, the business world—especially the bigger corporations—is largely responsible for more than half of the world’s emissions, and they also have the power to tackle climate change.
We All Have a Part to Play
No matter how big or small, your business can play a part in helping save the planet. Climate change is more than just an environmental or scientific issue; it is also a social and human one. When corporations, world leaders, and individuals come together, we can create a profound, lasting, and positive impact in the years to come.