Defra is calling on businesses, local councils and communities to get ready for climate change and extreme weather in a report published today, as part of the government’s National Adaptation Programme.
Recent research shows that 64% of UK businesses have suffered supply chain disruption due to extreme weather and 70% of major businesses and their suppliers see significant risk from climate change. Yet only 40% of large businesses in the UK are taking action to ensure they are ready to deal with the impacts of climate change.
The Climate Change Risk Assessment, which was published last year, showed that unless action is taken to respond to climate change, the UK could incur significant costs and miss out on important business opportunities, both at home and abroad.
Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said:
Recent floods and droughts have highlighted the need to plan ahead and prepare for changing conditions.
We have vital expertise in the UK which will stand us in good stead to adapt to climate change and help us compete in the global race.
Businesses, government and local communities must ensure they are equipped to deal with the challenges ahead and embrace the opportunities that arise, both at home and overseas.
The National Adaptation Programme report sets out the actions that leading businesses, councils and communities, as well as government, are taking to tackle climate threats and take advantage of new opportunities.
Economists have estimated that every £1 spent on adaptation could represent four times its value in potential damages avoided. Preparing for the impacts of climate change and taking advantage of changing conditions means businesses can remain resilient and competitive in the future.
The UK is already leading the way in the global market for adaptation goods and services such as flood defence, climate modelling and insurance. Internationally, the sector is valued at around £65.8 billion and growing.
Andrew Brown, Head of Sustainability at Anglian Water said:
The services we provide are vital for people’s health and wellbeing as well as a thriving economy.
That’s why we are investing now to make sure we can provide those services to a growing population in the face of less predictable rainfall and more frequent extremes of weather.
This report is a welcome call to action for everyone in the UK to think about how they can prepare and make sure that we can continue to grow and thrive, whatever the future holds.