WBCSD Insider Perspective: Adaptation Futures 2016

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10 May, 2016


WBCSD insights




Last week, over 1,500 sustainability and development experts – including the Dutch Queen – gathered at the  Adaptation Futures 2016 event in Rotterdam.

The event is the largest climate-adaptation focused conference in Europe, and it’s designed to scale up efforts on climate adaptation and resilience.

Mitigation of climate change has rightly been a huge focus for business in recent years, and it will continue to be so for many years to come. Many companies are active on the climate change mitigation front, especially through WBCSD’s Low Carbon Technology Partnership initiative – but events like Adaptation Futures are a good opportunity to focus on the other piece of the puzzle.

Adaptation and resilience are critical in the fight against climate change, and business must also help to provide the solutions that society needs in these areas. 

We were proud to help create the first ever Business Day at Adaptation Futures, and our President and CEO, Peter Bakker, brought together business leaders for a roundtable discussion on the morning of 11 May.  

Our member companies Arcadis, DSM, DNV GL, Infosys, and Tata Steel took a leading role at the roundtable, where companies demonstrated how they are tackling the dual challenges of mitigation and adaptation.

Infosys and DSM shared their goals for decarbonization, while highlighting their ambitions to simultaneously apply adaptation principles to their own operations, and to those of their suppliers. A key point was that companies have responsibilities to help the communities in which they operate, also adapt to the effects of climate change.

All representatives agreed that companies need to move away from internal policies that are solely reactive – meaning that we should no longer wait for extreme climate impacts before we make a change. Instead, we must recognize the business case for being proactive, and reduce our exposure to such climate risks.

Incremental change is not enough. Businesses in the room called for new data, tools and training within their companies to ensure transformational change instead. They were also eager to see a collaborative platform dedicated to scaling up adaptation and resilience solutions.

Ensuring that adaptation stays high on the business agenda is critically important, and we look forward to continuing the dialogue.

For more information, check out the video below.