The Business Case for Responsible Corporate Adaptation: Strengthening Private Sector and Community Resilience

The outcomes and the implementation of the 2015 Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will likely influence the future of our planet and the lives of generations to come. Yet even as leaders decide and act on ambitious emission reduction measures, the reality of unavoidable climate change impacts has already set in and will continue to grow.

The private sector plays a key role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and has made significant progress in mitigating its carbon footprint. While corporate measures to prepare and adapt to climate change impacts are just as critical, they are not yet as widespread.

Responsible corporate adaptation encompasses the strategies, actions and partnerships through which businesses adapt to climate impacts and at the same time create shared resilience benefits for the communities and ecosystems where they operate. Climate change impacts will be felt disproportionately in communities that lack the resources and infrastructure to effectively prepare for and adjust to these impacts. When companies take action to support and empower the communities they depend on, they will also reap the benefits.

This report is an invitation for companies to become leaders in advancing social, environmental and economic resilience through responsible corporate adaptation. Developed by Caring for Climate – a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact, UNEP and UNFCCC secretariat – together with partners, this report shares lessons learned and provides actionable guidance for both public and private sector leaders. It highlights how companies can adapt to climate change, and how to address the most pressing challenges that stymie private sector progress.

The report’s recommendations will also be useful to businesses as they actively engage in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015 with the aim of eliminating poverty, overcoming inequality and addressing environmental degradation across the globe. The SDGs are an example of ambitious targets arrived at through inclusive multi-stakeholder engagement and broad consensus. They will play a key role in shaping local adaptation activities to meet global climate goals.