April 28, 2014
Climate of Change: Business Decision Support for Extreme Weather Risk Assessment
The increase in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events presents a serious threat to the profitability and sustainability of the private business sector. In 2013, Canadian businesses saw losses estimated at over $3.2 billion due to climate-related catastrophes. Damages due to weather-related disasters can be severe and long-lasting because an initial crisis may incite a cascade of subsequent complications. As a result, businesses need to consider the importance of business preparedness and continuity planning in order to improve overall resilience in the face of a changing climate and extreme weather.
In 2014, the OCC worked with students in the Masters in Environment and Sustainability Program at Western University to develop a report that provides three engagement tools for initiating dialogue and development of resilience-building strategies in the face of extreme weather events.
The deliverables of this project include a “Risk Assessment Fact Sheet” which provides an overview of how climate change has shaped businesses in Ontario, a “Business Decision Support Manual” which provides descriptive procedures and checklists to underscore proactive management of vulnerabilities, and a “Case Study” which selected a business in the Region of Peel and applied the framework provided in the Business Decision Support Manual. These engagement tools provide descriptive frameworks and guidance mechanisms to activate discussion surrounding the importance of acknowledging extreme weather events and their potential of creating detrimental impacts to all businesses.