Executives may be wondering what is the pathway for responding to the challenges of climate change? Where should they start?

The answer in a nutshell?  Take a proactive and continual approach to manage energy and water.

More specifically, here are five steps every executive should consider taking*:

1. Align your executive responsibilitiesAcknowledge responsibility for your company’s long-term viability with respect to potential shifts in the business landscape that may result from climate change. Commit to incorporate the risks and opportunities presented by climate change into your company culture, processes and systems. Consider writing a charter for signing by your executive team. 

2. Understand your energy profileDevelop a baseline of your energy and water use and cost. Consider using a common denominator such as kWh for energy comparisons. Calculate and report on the associated GHG emissions. 

3. Prepare your Case for ActionSubject energy reduction projects, including fuel switching and energy efficiency improvements, to a cost-benefit analysis. Many energy conservation measures require no or little capital investment. 

4. Align your actions with Risk ManagementEnsure your enterprise risk management process addresses material climate related risks, such as: regulatory; technology; reputational; operational and market disruption. Identify the associated opportunities.

5. Integrate into your strategic planningEnsure your business model, scenario planning and business strategies protect company continuity, security of supply and distribution networks in light of climate risks and opportunities. 

* I’m indebted to the framework developed by Dr. Bob Willard.

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