By Shazre Quamber-Hill, Director of Strategy & Impact, Resilience First
As climate-related risks loom large over the global economy, businesses are ideally positioned to advance climate resilience; their innovations and investments are pivotal in fortifying operations, supply chains, and communities against climate threats. However, even as leading climate and private-sector organisations set out to define leadership roles and core actions that businesses can take to advance climate change adaptation, there is still an urgent need to coalesce localised and sector-specific approaches into a broadly recognised and utilised global corporate framework.
This was the overarching message echoed by businesses and other stakeholders alike at the Roundtable convened by Resilience First during London Climate Action Week in June 2023, where Her Excellency Razan Al Mubarak, UNFCCC High-Level Climate Champion for COP28 set the scene for an energizing conversation with opening remarks focusing on the opportunity for businesses to harness their potential for innovation and positively impact the resilience of whole communities and ecosystems. The insightful roundtable discussion that followed emphasized the urgent need for private sector action to address climate impacts on businesses and communities alike; the challenges faced by different sectors, the importance of collaboration and storytelling, and the untapped opportunities within the corporate world.
Recognising the private sector's growing need for climate resilience, and the clear demand for a common language and best practices to guide strategic decision-making, the discussion also brought into focus the mandate for an ambitious business-led initiative that elevates and accelerates the private sector’s efforts towards investments in climate resilience action. Resilience First, together with our partners Resilience Rising and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) have responded to this call, through the roll-out of our initiative “Corporate Climate Resilience Pathways ”. This groundbreaking programme seeks to develop a pathway and global framework for companies to take meaningful action to enhance their resilience to physical climate impacts, scaling-up private sector investment in climate adaptation and resilience, and spark a systems-wide transformation towards a strengthened economic system that sustains livelihoods, protects vulnerable communities and ecosystems, and enables local, regional and global economies to thrive in a rapidly changing and uncertain world.
Launched at New York Climate Week in September 2023, the initiative has to date convened over 55 sustainability leaders across industries in a private forum to share insights on organizational leadership and explore the private sector transformations necessary for enhanced societal resilience. We wrapped up the year with a roundtable meeting in Dubai, where we expanded the discussion to the broader stakeholder community at our official COP28 event “Enabling Private Finance for Adaptation: Practical Actions to drive progress on the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda” (full session available here), which showcased diverse real-world resilience initiatives and explored innovative private sector strategies for delivering to the Sharm El-Sheikh Adaptation Agenda’s outcome targets.
Through these convenings and consultations we have established a clear and compelling business case for climate resilience, identified the barriers to and drivers of corporate action, and what is needed to accelerate investment from the private sector, as set out in the position paper “Climate Resilience Pathways: Catalysing Private Sector Action” due to be published next month. We have also developed an accompanying set of working "Principles for Corporate Leadership on Climate Resilience," which reflect a current view of the role of leading companies and a definition of leadership, particularly for major corporations.
These important deliverables will set the foundation for a core community of practice and establish stakeholder-led process for developing a robust framework for corporate action; fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing, leveraging the power of collective action for transformative impact and accelerating the achievement of global goals on adaptation such as those set out for businesses in the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda.
The “Corporate Climate Resilience Pathways” initiative marks a critical stride towards a resilient tomorrow, underscoring the indispensable role of businesses in shaping a sustainable future. It is a direct response to our ever-increasing challenges that require transformative collaboration to secure a brighter tomorrow for businesses, communities and ecosystems alike.
If you are interested in learning more and/or getting involved, please contact Shazre Quamber-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resilience First, Resilience Rising, and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) would like to thank our sponsors AT&T, Marsh, Meta and Resonance for their gracious support of this work.