Climate Week NYC: The Quest for Climate Wisdom

Climate Week NYC always reminds me of a scavenger hunt. You have to make your way across the city, oblivious and buzzing, from one event to the other, sometime literally searching for the right building or event venue – but once you find it, a new world opens.

C2ES business resilience
Janet Peace moderates a panel on business resilience with with Melissa Lavinson from PG&E, Jay Bruns from The Hartford, and Roberta Barbieri from Diageo.

Dedicated groups of practitioners and experts gathered from all around the country to discuss the next big thing in climate adaptation, share their insights and look up to the next challenge.

On September 22nd, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) launched its new report Weathering the Next Storm, which analyzes how Fortune 100 corporations approach climate risk and resilience: what they’re concerned about, what they disclose, and what they’re doing – or not doing – about it. You can view the video recording of the event on YouTube, including the excellent panel on corporate best practices moderated by Janet Peace from C2ES.

C2ES’s series of reports on business climate resilience are among my favorites, and this report is no exception. The good news: the number of Fortune 100 companies that acknowledge that climate risk is material is growing. The bad news: they’re still not doing much about it, for four key reasons:

Climate data for business resilience

These challenges are also the ones we had identified in our 2015 Corporate Adaptation Survey, and what we work on solving, day in and out. You can find more on business resilience and key takawayrs from the C2ES report in this blog post.

On September 23rd our partners the Notre-Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) unveiled the recipients of the ND-GAIN 2015 Corporate Adaptation Prize, which recognizes excellence in climate adaptation for projects in countries below 60 on the NDGAIN Index.

Peter Williams from IBM and Aman Singh from Edelman discuss climate resilience and corporate adaptation.
Peter Williams from IBM and Aman Singh from Edelman discuss climate resilience and corporate adaptation.

A small Dutch company, DADTCO, and multinational giants AECOM’s and IBM’s Resilience Scorecard won the day. The panel discussion revolved a lot around how to incentivize resilience investments. Nick Shuffro from PwC pointed to the lack of price signal from the insurance industry, since companies that have invested in resilience do not get lower premium, while Peter Williams from IBM insisted we need to point to the return on investment (ROI) of resilience projects so they can compete with other investment opportunities in the business. I could not agree more.

Later that day, Triple Pundit had invited me to a Twitter chat on The Business Case for Climate Action ahead of COP21. The full recap of the Twitter chat, which also involved the Climate Reality Project and Novozyme, is here. In general, it’s worth noting we tweet live from all the events we attend – you can follow us @427climaterisk and @emazzacurati.


Last but not least, Risky Business Project held a fantastic event on September 24. The Climate Data Summit brought together a large swath of professionals dedicated to bringing climate science and climate data to business for a behind-the-scene conversation on technical and economic challenges in using climate data in a business setting. It’s hard to do justice to the rich conversations that unfolded in a short post, but you can listen to my remarks on “Listening to End-Users:Climate Data and the Bottom Line” in the audiocast here.

Did I find a treasure at the end of my Climate Week NYC scavenger hunt? Not one, but many nuggets of wisdom and new connections to continue down the path of our journey to climate resilience.

Emilie Mazzacurati