4 Great Ways To Protect Against Climate Change
Government programmes can make far-ranging changes that affect SMEs. They can include adaptation programmes or incentives for conserving resources, boosting productivity, and strengthening targeted communities.
One example of this at work is the Government of Rwanda and their National Strategy for Climate Change and Low Carbon Development. This took the climate change development projects and policies and turned it into a one-page document to guide businesses on what they can do.
Governments can do similar things through various programmes, infrastructure or general adaptation projects that support the private sector. First port of call is to contact your local government and find out which programmes are running. Start simple.
Market And Develop Your Business Further
With finite resources, this is easier said than done, but in a changing environment you, conversely, need to be making changes. One idea is finding and producing goods and services that allow customers to build resilience as well. This can be on top of finding other ways to tap into new markets in general, and can diversify your product offerings overall.
A simple example of this was in Tajikistan, where local farmers received support from the UN to plant climate-resilient Tajik fruit species. Beyond the orchards, farmers began selling the seedlings of those species through local markets and fairs.
Form Partnerships Or Cooperatives
Of course, one of the biggest problems to building resilience and adapting to climate change is funding. However, this can be mitigated to some extent if businesses can set aside some of their competitive instinct and work out how to cooperate with other companies in their sector.
If businesses pool resources and fund together, instead of following the ‘traditional’ route of attempting to buy each other out, then this can provide some insurance against weather-related shocks. Pooling of expertise will be critical in developing strategies to mitigate climate-related pressures, and that will not come from a ‘divide and conquer’ approach.
Going back to farmers, Nepal has the Garima Farmers’ Cooperative which offers various crops that grow well in shortened seasons. Other such cooperatives could be formed in other industries where raw materials could be provided. That, or providing businesses new ways to diversify their income stream by developing new products that correspond to changing conditions.
Look For Innovative Ways To Keep Work Going
Productivity is also greatly undermined due to climate change, most obviously in the case of force majeure events like hurricanes and floods. However, heatwaves can also be especially detrimental. Under extreme heat, we are simply not as productive. In 2019, even temperate Europe was forced to shut down restaurants because extreme heat made work impossible.
Extreme weather is only going to continue to increase across the globe, and companies will need to consider cooling and heating needs in order for production to keep up. Some options are green or cool roofs, better air conditioning, or switching schedules around so people avoid working in the hottest parts of the day.
A simple place to start is by assessing the thermal comfort for your workplace. Typically, a range between 19-25 degrees C is considered acceptable for sedentary work. Use this simple checklist to ask questions that will help you understand where heat, humidity, and cold are outside of your comfort zone, then figure out what you need to do to start managing those variables.
Make A Difference
Adapting to changing climates with limited resources is tough. However, SMEs form the backbone of the global economy. Let’s restate that: SMEs account for 90% of companies globally, and half of the employment. This is the place where business needs to adapt and make credible changes towards a warming world.
Even the smallest of changes, or adaptations, will make a difference. Why? Because it will build awareness where there may have been none before. Now you’re aware of why the office is uncomfortable? Well, take that knowledge of environmental management and transfer it to others, to your home life, and elsewhere.
Making any kind of change is the hardest thing to do. However, it’s a little easier when ‘change’ means ‘opportunity'.
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