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IPCC Climate Report: A Critical Catalyst for Business Continuity Change

IPCC Climate Report Critical for Business Continuity Change

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If somehow you missed the world’s most popular report this week, then let us introduce you to the mammoth 3,949-page document, IPCC’s The Physical Science Basis on Climate Change. 

You can download it here ↗

Collated by 234 scientists across the world, the report is essentially a code red for humanity, which of course means it’s also code red for your organisation. It doesn’t sugar-coat the truth, and unlike many trending documentaries and shared assumptions, we’re not “running out of time”, time is essentially up! And this report sticks the blame unequivocally on humans and large multinational corporations.

We asked our consulting team how often they’d heard of climate change or natural disasters being a major part of organisational resilience planning, the consensus not being in favour but rather dwarfed by ransomware or pandemic concerns.

If you are neglecting the grim reality of a warming planetyou may be subjecting yourself to serious public scrutiny and regulatory change.

There were no-holds-barred in the IPCC’s report when they chose to name and shame the top companies contributing to the world’s highest carbon emissions. You don’t want that sort of acknowledgement.

But not everyone’s business is mining fossil fuels and chopping down trees. Many of us work remotely, perhaps permanently, and we have complete confidence that our carbon emissions are next to zero. However, a wide-stretching employee base is still very much subject to natural disasters. Take the significant bushfires of 2020 in Australia and the flooding in New Zealand this year to name a few. Many of our clients saw their team members go offline without warning for days.

Staff can be more easily controlled and supported during an event within the workplace, this is almost an impossible task remotely. Extreme weather events are playing havoc on people’s livelihoods, affecting physical dwellings, as well as their mental health too.

The World Economic Forum (2021) estimates the cost of mental disorders to be $16 trillion in 2030, exceeding that of cancer, diabetes and heart disease combined.

AON 2021 Global Wellbeing Report highlighted the top physical wellbeing risk impacting company performance is stress (67%), followed by burnout (46%). The top two wellbeing issues reported from the 1,648 participants across 41 countries who participated: work-life balance (65%) and mental health (46%).

How does this connect to business?

In the coming years, countries will experience an increase in drought exposure primarily due to the interaction between climate change and population growth.

By 2025, two-thirds of the world will be living under “water-stress” as demand outstrips supply according to the GAR’s Special Report on Drought. By 2030, more than 600 million people will be displaced as a result of drought. And by 2035, the damage to our globe will take between 2,000 and 3,000 years to reverse, says the IPCC report.

That’s only thirteen years away.

This places greater strain on food and energy production, agriculture, and mining, with significant impacts to supply chain, trade, and human migration.

How is this relevant to your business?

This is a smouldering crisis. Like the increase in global temperatures the IPCC discloses, the impacts these natural disasters are having will not be realised for a while yet.

The Global Risks Report for 2021 listed extreme weather and failure to mitigate climate change within its top 5 global risks by likelihood and impact.

While Australia and New Zealand are no strangers to drought, the impacts of drought in other parts of the globe can and will have cascading consequences to many industries and will require organisations to identify potential impacts of drought and other extreme weather scenarios on critical business processes, financial revenue, and evolving customer needs.

We’re seeing a similar domino effect already through supply chain impacts caused by the pandemic. The blockage of the Suez Canal on March 23rd was exactly what the already fractured global supply chain could have done without. Some reports suggest that the impacts of that event won’t be realised for another seven months yet.

There will (probably) be regulation changes.

It’s important to begin preparing for impending change that will be implemented by the government. A watch on regulation change isn’t new, but there is a real chance this one could be extreme (and rightly so).

While some countries will play catch up here, this side of the world (Australasia) has vocal populations that will demand regulatory change implemented by their governments. These changes could have massive effects on your business and people and will require an agile approach.

World leaders will head to Scotland in November for the pivotal COP26 international climate talks. They’ll be tasked with taking the IPCC’s scientific report and turning it into meaningful policy.

These policies will surely find their way to our shores, and as such, organisations will have to pivot their plans and procedures. And if it feels like those policies might not affect you, consider the impacts and severity of the European GDPR regulation and the millions already handed over by organisations that aren’t even based in Europe.

You can get ahead of the curve here by reviewing your business continuity plans today. Look for your potential procedures and policies that won’t work or be adequate during a natural disaster. Ask yourself where are the gaps a new legislation will take advantage of?

With the continuous growth of the COVID-19 Delta variant, we still don’t know how long our teams will have to work from home. As this unknown continues, we will need to adjust our plans to combat events that can impact our team’s current location of work; it’s an absolute must!

What can Business Continuity do to help?

With all the excitement and hype around the IPCC’s report, it can seem that it’s a wait and watch situation, but that’s not entirely true. Organisations can pull out their business continuity plans now or start a new one with the intention to support and manage climate change.

The simple act of adding this into your next quarter’s critical implementation plan will generate a culture buzz worth going public about.

Welcoming feedback from our clients, suggests that employee positivity and devotion to their employer is increasing alongside implementations on carbon policies and commitments to the climate. Employees are proud and boasting news of their employer’s commitment to make a difference, and this in turn resonates with customers, stakeholders, and the media.

As millennials continue to dominate much of our workplace, so too do expectations on doing their part for climate change. An evolution of business continuity is well underway, but this can be a positive time for organisations to revamp how they manage crisis events.

business continuity plan is an organisational must but often finds the top shelf with the thickest dust. It doesn’t have to be that way anymore. We have an opportunity to put more momentum behind a resilience program now that a report like the IPCC’s is front and centre.

Use this three-thousand page document as an excuse to amplify your resiliency.

For more information on how we can help with your business continuity, click here ➜

The Resilience Digest