As the threat of climate change increases, so do the risks for business; it is imperative that the private sector expands its engagement in building resilience in regions and communities that are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Business has an opportunity to move beyond approaches such as “climate-proofing” its operations from the physical consequences of climate-related events to those that build resilience by reducing vulnerability and enhancing adaptive capacity.
Companies in climate-vulnerable locations are starting to assess and prepare for the environmental impacts that climate change will have on every aspect of their operations. Our target audience is the professionals within those companies—particularly those working in the sustainability, supply chain, human resources, community engagement, risk-management, and legal departments—that are considering the operational, social, and environmental impacts of climate change on their business, as well as on their employees, their customers, nearby communities, and other stakeholder groups.
The report demonstrates the important role the private sector plays in building resilience and adaptive capacity in the face of a range of climate-related shocks and where opportunities exist for further action. We focus on Thailand, which suffered severe flooding in 2011 and faces a range of risks from climate change. Although climate change affects business and communities all over the world, the specific mandate of this report is to examine climate risks and strategies for resilience in Thailand exclusively. To highlight the different approaches business can take to resilience-building, we also provide four examples of how organizations are tackling this issue and present opportunities for future action by the business community. These examples are set in the Thai context, but they include elements that can be applied by companies working in other countries facing similar challenges.
We begin with an introduction to the concept of resilience based on a literature review, and then outline what climate change resilience looks like in the Thai context. The third chapter of the report introduces four case studies selected by BSR and the Rockefeller Foundation as best representing different approaches to building climate resilience across different industries. They are based on interviews conducted and information collected over a six-month period with representatives from each of the organizations included in the case studies, and with the Thai Red Cross Society, Li & Fung, Loxley, USAID Bangkok and the ASEAN CSR Network. We would like to thank the organizations profiled in the case studies for their review of this report for accuracy.