Climate change affects each and every human around the globe, with profound and potentially lasting implications for global health. This paper uses data and case studies to highlight the impacts of climate change on health and help companies across sectors understand the resulting consequences for business.
The report demonstrates why and how business can act, and it explores how to establish a deeper understanding of the nexus of health and climate throughout the company; articulate the risks and opportunities for companies across sectors; secure buy-in from senior leadership; and identify, assess, prevent, mitigate, and remedy the adverse impacts of climate change on health.
This report is part of a series of six climate nexus reports that cover human rights, inclusive economy, women’s empowerment, supply chain, just transition, and health. This series is aimed at business to drive resilience inside the company, across supply chains, and within vulnerable communities.
Climate and Health
The health impacts of climate change will be distributed unevenly across the globe, and climate change may make preexisting inequality worse.
According to the World Health Organization, the direct damage costs of climate change to health could reach US$2B to US$4B a year by 2030.
- Changes in the distribution and burden of vector-borne diseases (such as malaria and dengue) and water-borne infectious disease
- Human undernutrition from crop failure
- Population displacenient from sea-level rise
- Occupational health risks
- Noncommunicable diseases and disorders like respiratory diseases, heart disease, depression, and mental disorders
The Business Case: Risk
The social and financial costs of unmitigated climate change on human health will be huge for businesses all over the world and in every sector— and will have a detrimental effect an workforce health.
The Business Case: Opportunity
Companies operating at the intersection of health and climate will have the opportunity to contribute to solutions.
Artificial intelligence and big data companies should see an increasing demand for technologies and solutions to understand, map, and anticipate impacts.
Solutions include disease surveillance, early-warning systems for extreme weather, and more.
Climate and Health (continued)
The Coca-Cola Company, among other partners, committed to investing US$21,000,000 (including cash and in-kind technical logistics expertise) to improve the distribution and storage of medical products in ten African countries.
Here’s how companies can act across their value chains and in the communities where they operate, enable their partners and stakeholders, and influence decision-makers to address the climate change-health nexus.
Businesses should assess and understand their own footprint and ability to contribute to addressing the growing health risks associated with climate change through their business, products, and services.
Pharmaceutical companies and organizations in the healthcare sector should map their portfolios and identify the products and services that are most likely to be affected by a changing climate.
Businesses can enable greater societal resilience by increasing public awareness of climate-related diseases and health impacts.
Companies can increase the affordability of and access to products and services that help build climate and health resilience in tandem.
Cross-industry collaborations can build more effective solutions and scale impact.
Business can seek to create an enabling environment for health and climate resilience through stronger community engagements that support climate-resilient infrastructure, such as by creating alert systems to minimize the impact of singular climate events. Investments in resilient communities will benefit companies in the long term.
The private sector can seek to create an enabling environment for health and climate resilience by engaging with policymakers on these issues.