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Saving for a sunny day

So it was hot this past summer. Now, if you’re in the business of selling ice creams, shorts, cold drinks or sun hats you probably enjoyed a few months warmth and sunshine.

icecream cone

What does this crazy weather mean for business? And what should business do about it? Adaptation Scotland provide the questions that businesses need to be thinking about!

Attenborough says

If there’s anyone that people trust it’s surely national treasure Sir David Attenborough? In “Climate Change – Britain under threat”, more than a decade ago, Sir David’s message was clear:

“for all of us it’s truly the time to act”.

There’s already been some notable success in Scotland in our contribution to tackling climate change. For instance Scotland produced more than two-thirds of its electricity from renewables in 2017. A cleaner, greener, healthier present will help to reduce the emissions which are contributing to causing climate change. As they say: the best way to predict the future is to create it.

Despite Sir David’s call to action, climate change IS happening. And this means that there’s a role for businesses of all shapes and sizes as responsible members of society, to take the smart choices like reducing waste, saving energy and conserving water that Resource Efficient Scotland handily set-up to help your business with. However, that’s not everything a business needs to be thinking about!

Hotter. Drier. Milder. Wetter.

What can businesses do about the hotter, drier summers and the wetter (Scotland has become on average 27% wetter since the 1960s), milder winters that are already happening? And what about the future?

The projections point to the – to misquote Daft Punk – “Hotter Drier Milder Wetter” trend continuing and intensifying in the years to come. The last decade has been the warmest ever recorded and the weather we’re experiencing is becoming less predictable, making it harder to plan. Anyone for more intense rainfall, increased heatwaves, less snow, changing growing seasons?

Is there a chance the track could bend?

Weather already frequently causes business disruption – this summer’s  heatwave caused roads to start melting, speed restrictions on trains in central Scotland as tracks bend and  water shortages that affected crops and livestock.

Scottish businesses will face many challenges as a result of climate change impacts.  Making sure you’re adapting will help you to ensure business continuity, gain competitive advantage, save costs and build your business’s reputation.

Too hot to work?

Hot weather, cold weather, wet weather, windy weather can all have impacts on that most valuable part of your business: people. Extreme weather can affect people’s ability to get to work, their productivity and let’s not forget what it can mean for consumers, audiences or visitors!

There’s no official regulation on when it’s “too hot to work” but as a business you’ve got to think about how to ensure the workplace remains a place that people can work in comfortably. Or should you be changing working practices? Allowing people to work from home? At different times of day?

Hot HQ

In June the Glasgow Science Centre’s roof started melting into black goo. The people in your business are one thing, but extreme weather can even have impacts on the physical infrastructure and buildings that your business relies on.

How would you cope if your roof started melting? Or your office was flooded? How about if the electricity went down in one of those “more severe storms”?

We're not an island

Planning for and dealing with the direct impacts on business in Scotland is one thing, but many businesses are part of global supply chains. Where do your machines come from? Your raw materials? The food you serve? And where are you selling that whisky, widget or wool jumper?

How would your business cope if the supplies were disrupted or prices fluctuated due to droughts, floods, fires or pest & diseases? And how about if you couldn’t get your products out of Scotland, or they were disrupted on route to market?

Follow the money

With the likelihood of extreme weather events increasing you’ll need to think about money. Would your insurance cover you if your business was flooded? Could you afford to relocate or retrofit your existing premises? Could your investors pull out if they think you’re not taking the risks from climate change into account? Do you have business continuity insurance if climate impacts mean you can’t do business? Will your business model itself have to change?

Get on the front foot

There’s lots of questions to think about! But never fear, the Adaptation Scotland “Climate Ready Business Guidance”  is here – and we’ve even got an interactive checklist for you to satisfyingly tick off tasks as you get Climate Ready!

Changes to the climate – and the resulting impacts - are projected to continue and intensify over the coming decades. Experts agree planning ahead rather than responding reactively will help to save you money in the long term, manage the risks and allow you to identify possible business opportunities to give you an edge over competitors. So make sure you’re ready for sunny days, rainy days, windy days, dry days, hot days, cold days and everything in between.

Adaptation Scotland provides advice and support to help organisations, businesses and communities in Scotland prepare for, and build resilience to, the impacts of climate change. We work with a range of partners including those with interests in policy, research and practical implementation. The Adaptation Scotland programme is funded by the Scottish Government and delivered by sustainability charity Sniffer.

Guest blogs welcomed

Thanks to Adaptation Scotland for contributing this blog. If you have something interesting to share that will help businesses cut energy, water or waste cost, or deal with climate change, do get in touch.

Resource Efficient Scotland is a programme from Zero Waste Scotland. Free support to business is funded by the Scottish Government and by the European Regional Development Fund through the £73 million Resource Efficiency Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.

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