How can national-level governments learn from the private sector and encourage investment and decision making to promote the public good in a changing climate?
As adaptation needs intensify around the world, and investment and implementation costs become apparent, there is growing interest in engaging the private sector in these efforts. With the potential to increase investment capacity, creativity and innovation, the private sector is a prospective partner who can multiply the impact of government, development agency and civil society efforts. Corporate experience and practices in managing risk may also help inform decision making for climate adaptation by these other actors. For example, whilst companies require certainty to make long-term investments, some have developed tools and approaches to moderate the risks of an uncertain economic environment, such as volatile fossil fuel prices, exchange rate fluctuations, and other market instabilities, and have become adept in managing change. These provide lessons from which the public sector might usefully draw.
In addition to bidding on government-led adaptation investments, such as new infrastructure projects, the private sector will play a major role in shaping adaptation efforts by integrating climate risks into their own planning processes and investments. For example, companies could, by adapting their own operations, help protect critical global markets from disruption —especially those sectors that utilize natural resources and depend on critical ecosystem services, such as steady water supplies. Some may even find new business and investment opportunities that promote economic development by incorporating climate adaptation priorities into growth strategies.
To what extent, and precisely how, the private sector will respond to a changing climate, is at present an open question. Corporate responses may strengthen vulnerable communities. Or they may ignore or misinterpret adaptation needs, resulting in activities and investments that instead run counter to the public good. As governments seek to build climate-resilient societies, their efforts to facilitate behavior and activities by companies that promote ‘positive’ adaptation can help shape the direction of private sector actions.
This paper series for the World Resources Report asks expert authors to consider the overarching question: How can national-level governments learn from the private sector and encourage investment and decision making to promote the public good in a changing climate?
Within this context, we pose the following sub-questions as possible areas to explore in your responses.
- How does your company manage risks, especially risks characterized by uncertainty, like impacts from climate change?
- What public policy incentives would enable your company’s adaptation program to support and enhance a developing country's national strategy to adapt to climate change impacts?
Helmy Abouleish, Matthias Keitel, and Philipp Maximillian Boes - SEKEMRead Author's Bio
Egypt is a typical example of a developing country which is highly vulnerable to climate change and faces numerous threats to its economic, social and environmental sustainability – including energy...
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Samantha Putt del Pino, Monika Kerdeman, Eliot Metzger, and Sally Prowitt - World Resources InstituteRead Author's Bio
This paper argues that private sector support of adaptation efforts will be contingent on the strength of the business case to commit time and resources for long-term climate resiliency. The “...
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- Expert Perspectives on...
- Does climate change require new approaches to making decisions?
- How can we balance today’s pressing needs with long term risks?
- How can development agencies help vulnerable countries adapt effectively?
- Must we fundamentally change course to conserve ecosystems in a changing climate?
- How can information for adaptation decision making be collected and disseminated so as to advance integration of climate risks into plans and policies and be useful for those who need it most?
- What types of information are needed for adaptation decision making?
- Thought leaders explore how to meet both today’s development challenges and tomorrow’s climate risks.
- How can national-level governments learn from the private sector and encourage investment and decision making to promote the public good in a changing climate?
- How can civil society best support, and hold accountable, national-level governments in their efforts to integrate climate change risks into planning and policy-making processes?
- Case Studies
- Controlling Yangtze River Floods: A New Approach
- Building Resilience to Extreme Weather Events: Index-Based Livestock Insurance in Mongolia
- Namibia: Combating Land Degradation with Tools for Local-Level Decision-Making
- Nepal: Responding Proactively to Glacial Hazards
- Increasing Food Security: Mali's National Meteorological Service Helps Farmers Manage Climate Risk
- Indonesia: Managing Peatland Fire Risk in Central Kalimantan Province
- Mangrove Restoration and Rehabilitation for Climate Change Adaptation in Vietnam
- Bangladesh's Comprehensive Approach to Disaster Management
- Rwanda: Ecosystem Restoration and Sustainable Hydropower Production
- South Africa: Ecosystem-Based Planning for Climate Change
- China's Agricultural Development: Adaptation in Action
- Brazil: Fire and Flood Responses in the Amazon
- In-Country Simulations
- Decision-Making In Depth
These commentaries were commissioned by the World Resources Report to react to the Expert Perspectives series. Below each paper in the series you will find a comment box for your feedback. Please respond.