UK businesses need to be ready to face the risks and benefit from the opportunities that climate change could bring, environment secretary Caroline Spelman said today.
A new survey of UK businesses and other organisations carried out for Defra by Ipsos MORI has found that while many businesses have been affected by the type of weather that climate change may bring, preparations for the impacts of climate change are not well advanced.
Three quarters of the businesses surveyed were concerned about the effects of climate change on the UK and one in three (31%) had been significantly affected in the last three years by extreme weather such as flooding and drought. However, less than a quarter (23%) had actually started to do something about the risks and opportunities that climate change poses.
The survey also shows that businesses generally perceive a changing climate to be a threat rather than an opportunity.
However recent Defra-funded research has shown that the impacts of climate change will present opportunities for UK businesses across a range of sectors such as construction and retro-fitting, water management, tourism, transport and food production. But greater effort is needed by companies to factor climate risk and opportunity into their business if they are to exploit these new opportunities and areas for significant growth.
“A warmer climate will bring both opportunities and challenges for businesses of all sizes. I want to ensure that UK businesses are well placed to take advantage of the new opportunities that arise as well as ensuring they are ready for the difficulties that higher temperatures and more adverse weather could mean for their staff and working practices,” said Spelman.