Virtually every business decision is also a decision about the use of natural resources. In this paper, we describe how global warming is affecting water and energy resources, and the challenges and opportunities this presents globally. We summarize the way in which connections among climate, energy, and water are likely to affect business and offer general guidance on how companies can respond to the challenges in an integrated way. The paper highlights how regions of the world that will experience the worst impacts of climate change are those near the equator and overwhelmingly impoverished.
Industrialized nations, which have produced most of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, are already spending billions of dollars to adapt to climate change impacts, such as coastal flooding and drought. However, countries near the equator face the greatest vulnerabilities and have the least capacity to deal with the challenges posed by global warming. International aid organizations traditionally focus on social and economic development. In addition to efforts to reduce GHG emissions, decision-makers are targeting some development assistance to create more resiliency and help countries avoid some of the worst impacts of global warming.
Responsible businesses can play a role in helping avert climate catastrophe among the world’s poor. Because water is one of the resources most affected/vulnerable by climate change, companies can work to understand water-related climate risks and help to support resiliency building and adaptation strategies related to water.