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22 Apr 14 14:01

Earlier this month, I shared a video excerpt of my conversation with The Wall Street Journal editor and Stanford University professor, Jeff Ball, at The Wall Street Journal’s ECO:nomics conference. The full video of our discussion, including the audience Q&A, is now available, offering an opportunity for me to reflect on our conversation.

We had an up-front dialogue with the executives in the audience at ECO:nomics about the extent to which businesses globally are aware, and planning for, the risks associated with climate change. Many businesses think the climate change storm is coming, but we know it’s already here and we're trying to get them to higher ground, so to speak.

Even though proof of climate change is nebulous, the forecasted trend line shows natural catastrophes increasing in frequency and magnitude. Rather than sit on our hands, businesses and government have to work together to prepare for what will certainly be stronger storms, longer droughts, and flooding on a much wider-scale.  

This is easier said than done. Government works on election cycles, and businesses on earnings calendars. Accountability and responsibility can easily be tossed from one entity to another like a hot potato – unless, in my view, constituents and shareholders speak up and demand long-lasting solutions.

I’m interested in hearing what you think – are there other ways we can motivate more companies to work with public entities on meaningful resiliency efforts in order to adapt to a changing climate?

ECO:nomics: Preparing For The Big Storm

How can companies prepare for environmental disasters? J. Eric Smith, President and CEO of Swiss Re Americas talks about what steps companies can minimize their risk.

Category: Climate/natural disasters: Climate change, Disaster risk, Drought, Resilience

Location: The Wall Street Journal's ECO:nomics Conference

1 Comment

Alicia Montoya - 30 Apr 2014, 7:47 p.m.

Given the costs governments are often left to cover after natural catastrophes like Sandy, and the rising costs of insurance premiums due to more frequent and more severe natural disasters... Would fiscal incentives like tax breaks, subsidies and feed-in tariffs for citizens, companies and municipalities that invest in measures that boost resilience be an effective measure? I think we need to put a price on resilience inaction, in the same way that we need to put a price on carbon due to the costs of climate change.

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