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Research | Climate Change Adaptation

Climate change—and its resulting impacts, including the increasing severity of storms and weather disasters, receding rivers, advancing deserts, and more frequently occurring landslides, floods, and sinkholes—will test business’ ability to deliver products and services.

Beyond direct business impacts, companies will need to understand how climate change will affect their most vulnerable stakeholders—the poor, citizens of developing countries, and women—who will become more at risk to drought, disease vectors, and the perils of migration.

Leading companies are already working with BSR to understand their climate change risks and opportunities, and there are substantial resources available to translate the growing body of science on climate impacts into tools for business management.

Working With BSR

BSR brings tools for managing climate change across industries and experience generating local benefits through sustainable business practices in a variety of settings.

We can help your company:

  • Develop a strategy: The profound, widespread, and unpredictable effects of climate change will substantially impact core business and CSR efforts alike. Drawing on our experience guiding companies to develop and implement sustainability strategies, BSR helps companies understand the issues of adaptation at global and operational levels, ask the right questions, and develop effective systems for governance and decision making on responses to climate change.
  • Identify sustainability solutions: With disruption, climate change brings opportunities for innovation, which range from delivering hydration solutions and helping vulnerable communities meet other basic needs, to applying finance and technology to build more resilient infrastructure and networks. BSR has experience facilitating productive dialogue and identifying opportunities for sustainability solutions in new markets to help companies responsibly deliver new products and services that anticipate the demands of customers living in a changing environment.
  • Communicate climate risks: Over 80 percent of Global 500 companies now report to investors on climate risks, opportunities, impacts, and issues through the Carbon Disclosure Project. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also made informed reporting a requirement. We advise companies on the most important issues they should be communicating about, including physical, regulatory, technology, and market issues. Beyond disclosure, we also work with companies to find an effective, forward-looking framework—for example, preparedness, innovation, or future-proofing—to communicate with internal and external audiences on the topic of climate adaptation.
  • Create local benefits: Many sources of risk for companies will likely be far from their headquarters and centered in local communities where they have field operations, suppliers, and customers. In these locations, capacity and infrastructure needs to provide robust disaster response systems and continuity plans. From Latin America to Bangladesh, BSR has experience working with companies and local stakeholders in international communities that are vulnerable to climate change. We bring our approach to building and facilitating cross-sector alliances to creating partnerships with stakeholders from government, civil society, and business on key local development priorities.


BSR wishes to thank the following people who have provided valuable input: Rebecca Adamson (First Peoples Worldwide), Andrea de Angelis (UNDP), Darren Beck (Sprint), Philippe Boncour, International Organization on Migration, Christopher Bray (Barclay’s plc), Richard Choularton (UN World Food Programme), Beth Coby (Danisco), Alec Crawford (International Institute for Sustainable Development), Robert Dennle (Aramark), Lily Donge, Rebecca Henson (Calvert), Tom Downing (Global Climate Change Adaptation Partnership), Julie Gorte (PaxWorld Management LLC),Tim Grettle (Dr Pepper/Snapple), Madeleen Helmer (Red Cross), Todd Houston (Belk), Brian Jacobs (Coca Cola), John Jacoby (Oxfam America), Nancy Kelly (HP), Scott Klinger (First Peoples Worldwide), Katharina Latif (Allianz), Bruce Kahn (DeutscheBank ), Thomas Loster (Munich Re), Robert Muir Wood ( RMS), Brigitte Pilpot (Coca Cola ), Danny Shapiro (US Department of State), Tim Smith (Walden Asset Management ), Marja-Liisa Tapio-Bistrom (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), Zoe Tcholak-Antitch (Carbon Disclosure Project), Anna Walker (Levi’s), Mark Way (Swiss Re), Bill Williams (Barrick Gold Corporation), Jan du Plessis (Gold Fields), Vivian MacKnight (Vale S.A.), Cristiane Cassia (Vale S.A.), Mark Way (Swiss Re), Zoe Tcholak-Antitch (Carbon Disclosure Project), Tim Smith (Walden Asset Management), Thomas Loster (Munich Re), Lily Donge and Rebecca Henson (Calvert), Christopher Bray (Barclay’s plc), Terry Mutter (The Boeing Company), Steve Leffin (UPS), and Daniella Spiessmann (Deutsche Post DHL).

We also wish to thank Carbon Disclosure Project for sharing responses to the Investor Questionnaire, which was instrumental in our research.

Adaptation to Climate Change: BSR’s Industry Guides

Other BSR Resources