Newsletter: All Hands on Deck!



The Global Impacts of Droughts and Extreme Heat

From the Desk of Emilie

Better data. More efficient technology. New sources of financing. The recipe to address global impacts of climate change — such as drought, the focus of this month’s newsletter — is very much the same as in the U.S. But the needs are more pressing, and the ingredients even harder to find.

As I write from the ProAdapt conference in Cartagena, Colombia, I can’t help but notice how the discourse on the private sector has changed in the past years. Many government agencies, donors,  and NGOs now beat the drums of private sector resilience – for its own sake, and also as a critical provider of products and services to support community adaptation efforts.

Such products and services are still nascent,  but I’m confident this clear signal will help grow the market and spur innovation and investments. Fellow entrepreneurs and business folks: our ingenuity and resources are needed to build climate resilience. All hands on deck!

Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO

ProAdapt: The Challenge and Opportunity of Private Sector Climate Resilience

Emilie is at the Proadapt conference on The Challenge and Opportunity of Private Sector Climate Resilience in Cartagena de Indias, Columbia from May 25-27th. Emilie will join a panel discussion on A Strategic View of Private Climate Resilience. The panel will discuss evolving private awareness of climate risks and resilience in their sectors, changing business strategies and continuing barriers to private action on climate resilience. Emilie will highlight opportunities for the private sector to offer products and services that help bridge the adaptation gap and make the business case for responsible corporate adaptation.

Insights in Resilience: International Adaptation


“In the international arena, we’re currently seeing a shift from a focus on immediate adaptation needs to a more strategic, longer-term approach to adaptation planning.” Read our interview of Yoon Kim, Director of Advisory Services at Four Twenty Seven, about her work on international adaptation and for insights from her recent trip to the 2016 Adaptation Futures Conference in Rotterdam Netherlands.

Learn more about her work, and stay up to date with the latest in international adaptation.

Back from the (Adaptation) Futures

Yoon attended Adaptation Futures in Rotterdam from May 10th-13th. On May 10th, she spoke about Four Twenty Seven’s Resilient Hospitals tool on a panel about financing solutions to address the health risks of climate change organized by the World Bank. Yoon also co-presented a poster on the US Agency for International Development’s (USAID) approach to climate-resilient development and National Adaptation Plans. She and her co-authors provided an overview of how USAID’s approach has been applied through stakeholder workshops to catalyze National Adaptation Plan processes in Jamaica, Tanzania, and 11 coastal West African countries and summarized lessons learned to inform development and implementation of National Adaptation Plan processes under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

What We’re Reading: Lancet Study connects Climate Change and  Disruption of Global Food Systems

Climate change is having a direct impact on the productivity of the world’s crops, and a new Oxford study warns that 500,000 lives are at risk by 2050 due to disruption of global food systems caused by the impacts climate change.

The report in The Lancet indicates that droughts, floods, and other climate-related impacts “will lead to per-person reductions of 2-3% in global food availability, 0-4% in fruit and vegetable consumption, and 0-7%  in red meat consumption. These changes will be associated with 529,000 climate-related deaths worldwide, representing a 28% reduction in the number of deaths that would be avoided because of changes in dietary and weight-related risk factors between 2010 and 2050.”

Read the Report or Washington Post Article

Better Data for a Better World:  Forecasting Drought

We are always on the lookout for climate data that represent advancements in observational data sets that can improve projections of the impacts of climate change, and we found one.

“The data set, called CHIRPS (short for “Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation With Station data”) blends data from weather stations and weather satellites with extraordinary accuracy, providing a detailed record of global rainfall stretching back more than 30 years.” The data is being used to project the impacts of extreme drought and improve resilience for those vulnerable to extreme heat caused by climate change.

More about CHIRPS from journalist Eric Holthaus

India’s drought migrants head to cities in desperate search for water

The links between extreme heat and climate change are becoming clear in India where drought is driving rural populations to cities in search of water.

In cities like Mumbai, which are already struggling to provide essential services to their already large populations influxes of climate migrants places additional stress on resources that are becoming more scarce due to climate change.

“The drought has affected 330 million people in India this year, according to government figures. About 15% of India’s gross domestic product comes from agriculture and 68% of the 1.3 billion population are farmers. With no water for irrigation, the drought has been devastating for farmers.”

Learn more about the impacts of drought in India.

Meet the Team: Claire Quiner, MPH

We are excited to announce the latest addition to our team: Claire Quiner. Claire joins as a senior analyst to support Four Twenty Seven’s growing climate health practice.

With a dual background in Public Health and Environmental Planning, Claire specializes in infectious diseases and brings six years of experience working in molecular virology. Her previous work investigated how viruses interact with their hosts (e.g. mosquitoes) and vectors to evolve. Through her research, she also collaborated with the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention on emerging infectious diseases, whose rise is related to global trends including climate change and urbanization. Her current point of interest is the interface of climate change and public health and what municipalities can do to prevent infectious diseases epidemics and other climate health emergencies.

Claire earned Masters degrees in Public Health-Epidemiology/Biostatistics as well as City and Regional Planning from the University of California-Berkeley in 2016 and Bachelor of Science in Biology from Alverno College, Milwaukee, WI in 2007.

Clevland Clinic and Four Twenty Seven win Verdantix Information Management Award

We are excited to announce that Cleveland Clinic and Four Twenty Seven were awarded one of the inaugural EH&S Information Management Awards at the Vendantix Summit 2016. Cleveland Clinic is one of nine health care networks across the US currently putting our Resilient Hospital Dashboard to use to inform their climate focused outreach and communications and to guide their resilience planning efforts.
See the Resilient Hospital Dashboard

Upcoming Events

Join our team in the field at these upcoming events







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Newsletter: Climate and Health



The Nexus of Climate and Human Health

From the Desk of Emilie

Climate change has major impacts on human health. From heat waves to floods, from poor air quality to the spread of vector-borne disease like Zika, many climate hazards translate directly into measurable negative effects on human quality of life.

Our team has been working with key healthcare actors to help them identify how climate change could affect their ability to serve their patients and communities and better prepare. Learn more on how we help solve some of humanity’s most pressing challenges in this month’s newsletter on the nexus of climate and human health.

Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO

Four Twenty Seven Wins 2015 Climate Change Business Journal Award

We are honored to announce two of our projects on climate change and human health won the CCBJ’s 2015 Business Achievement Awards for Project Merit: Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience.
The projects include a web-based Heat Vulnerability application that empowers health professionals to understand and communicate how heat and humidity will affect the most vulnerable populations in the U.S., and the Resilient Hospital Dashboard that empowers hospital administrators to assess risks to their facilities, to their patients and to their communities.
View the Heat Vulnerability App
Explore Resilient Hospitals

California: Preparing Public Health Officials for Climate Change


hospital image

Four Twenty Seven was recently awarded a contract from the State of California to develop a decision-support tool for public health officials. Working closely with state and county public health agencies across California, and with the expert support from our partners from the Public Health Institute, Argos Analytics, and HabitatSeven, we will develop a tool that enables better preparedness and response to heat health events in communities across California.

The project is part of the California Fourth Climate Change Assessment, a statewide effort to provide critical additional information to support decisions that will safeguard the people, economy and resources of California.

Preparing Hospitals for Climate Change: the Resilient Hospital Dashboard


Resilient Hospital Dashboard

A busy medical ward is the last place you want the lights to go out in the event of a hurricane, flood or extreme weather event. These are also the conditions that can drive surges of patients to emergency rooms for treatment at a rate that can quickly outpace the hospitals capacity to react. However, most hospitals have yet to integrate local climate change projections into their risk management and planning processes.

To support hospital resilience, and as part of our commitment to the White House Climate Data Initiative, our team has created the Resilient Hospital Dashboard. This analytical, interactive application is designed to help hospitals understand their vulnerability so they can become more resilient and continue to provide high-quality care to their patients.

Insights In Resilience: The Nexus of Climate Change and Human Health


The healthcare sector is often the first to witness the impacts of poor air quality, extreme weather patterns and other climate related hazards on the health of their community.

We asked our director of research, Nik Steinberg, to present his work to inform the healthcare industry about the effects of climate change and the trends he is observing in how healthcare professionals approach climate change.

Climate Change and the Zika Virus


Zika Virus is in the news, and the media and scientists alike are asking about the role climate change will play in the spread of the disease. This article from Vox, Zika virus, explained in 6 charts and mapsbreaks down the virus through visuals, citing evidence from the CDC and research from the University of Arizona. The disease is having profound health impacts in Brazil. Eric Holthaus, of Slate puts the implications of climate change and Zika in the context of global equity, he writes: “Zika is heartbreaking because it’s hitting communities in Brazil while they’re down. It’s taking the most precious things from people who already have very little. That’s also the main tragedy of climate change: It was caused by us, in relatively wealthier countries, but we don’t really have to pay for the worst of it.” 

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement and report on Global Climate Change and Children’s Health and the need to act on climate to protect the health of our children and grandchildren.

Learn how we are working to support health care professionals with our award winning Heat Vulnerability Maps.

Resources: Understanding the Health Impacts of Climate Change


Greenhouse gas emissions threaten public health by affecting local air quality. Respiratory, cardiovascular, and mental diseases have all been tied to climate change or air pollution linked to climate change.

Climate change has also been linked to a rise in extreme weather disasters, as well as war and displacement, both of which often result in morbidity and physical and mental injury. Climate Nexus has provided a compilation of the increasing awareness in the medical community of the risks of climate change.

What we’re Reading- Cancer and Climate Change

NASA climatologist Piers Sellers was recently diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Despite the diagnosis Piers is going to work on climate change solutions because he is “hopeful for our planets future.”

“This diagnosis puts me in an interesting position. I’ve spent much of my professional life thinking about the science of climate change, which is best viewed through a multidecadal lens. At some level I was sure that, even at my present age of 60, I would live to see the most critical part of the problem, and its possible solutions, play out in my lifetime. Now that my personal horizon has been steeply foreshortened, I was forced to decide how to spend my remaining time. Was continuing to think about climate change worth the bother?” 

Continue Reading Piers’ Cancer and Climate Change in the NY Times.

Catch us at these events

Join our team in the field at these upcoming events

March 8-10, 2016 – Climate Leadership Conference, Seattle, WA – Emilie will present on the Business Case for Resilience Investing.
April 3-6, 2016 – The Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) 2016 Conference, San Diego, CA – Aleka will discuss how cities are tackling the challenge of sea level rise.
April 4-6, 2016 – Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference, Baltimore, MD
May 10-13Adaptation Futures, Rotterdam, NL – Yoon will be available to discuss the poster on her forthcoming article in Climate and Development on USAID’s approach to National Adaptation Planning.
May 17-19 – Clean Med, Dallas, TX – Aleka will present our work on climate health analytics and our Resilient Hospitals pilot tool.
May 23-26 – The Sustainable Leadership Purchasing Council Summit, Washington, DC – Emilie will teach the ACCO pre-conference workshop on climate risk in the supply chain.
Sept 7-8, 2016 – California Adaptation Forum, Long Beach, CA
Sept 12-14, 2016Carolinas Climate Resilience Conference, Charlotte, NC


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Resilient Hospitals: Using Climate Data for Better Healthcare Planning

A busy medical ward is the last place you want the lights to go out in the event of a hurricane, flood or extreme weather event. These are also the conditions that can drive surges of patients to emergency rooms for treatment at a rate that can quickly outpace the hospitals capacity to react. Climate change increases the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events and conditions – from asthma to vector diseases — likely to increase demand for healthcare. However, most hospitals have yet to integrate local climate change projections into their risk management and planning processes.

Photo Credit: GetyImages
Photo Credit: GetyImages

Working with a coalition of healthcare networks and non-profit Healthcare Without Harm, we developed an award-winning user-friendly dashboard for hospitals to better understand how climate change effects their operations and the patient population that they serve. This innovative application enables participating healthcare networks to integrate climate risk analytics into their hazard and vulnerability assessments, strategic communications and long-range planning.

The Resilient Hospital Dashboard is an interactive platform that enables healthcare networks to identify hotspots, key drivers of risk, and the specific local impacts faced by each of their hospitals. By using climate, socio-economic, public health and facility specific data, our dashboards analytics help hospitals understand the impact of climate change on their community and patients.


How does it work?

Our Resilient Hospital dashboard integrates local climate projections and applies healthcare indicators unique to each hospital’s situation to account for results specific to their populations. It provides hospitals with a cost-effective way to access and understand climate data relevant to their day-to-day operations and specific to the populations they serve.

Climate, socio-economic, public health, and facility data inform the risk assessment in our Resilient Hospital dashboard.

In the same way that doctors and care providers use their expertise and medical knowledge to provide treatment that returns the best long-term health outcomes for their patients, our applications leverage climate and healthcare data to provide beneficial operational outcomes. It enables our clients to consider both the near and long-term impacts of climate change and expertise that can inspire actions that enable healthcare professionals and hospitals to operate when the need for their services is greatest.

From Data to Patients

Through the Resilient Hospital Dashboard we aim to tell a story about how hospitals can improve the bottom line, and do so by capturing the many individual stories of climate change. Behind every data point we use to identify risk and impact is a living, breathing patient admitted for treatment of heat stroke, asthma, or other environmental event.

Our data analytics and research shows that the people getting admitted for care are the most vulnerable among us. They include the young, the old, and the marginalized. While we originally set out to identify opportunities for hospitals to improve their operations — and our dashboard does that too, what we ultimately created is a data-driven, visual representation of the footprint climate change is leaving on society.

The trends we are seeing create a much-needed understanding of how climate change impacts communities. From this understanding we can find opportunities to act, and help doctors and care providers choose what actions can best support their planning process, enabling them to provide more consistent and higher quality of care, resilient to the operational shocks and stress of climate change.


The Resilient Hospital Dashboard was developed as part of our commitment to the White House Climate Data Initiative and won the CCBJ 2015 business achievement award. However, Four Twenty Seven no longer does this type of analysis for hospitals.


Insights in Resilience: Climate Change and Human Health

The healthcare sector is often the first to witness the impacts of poor air quality, extreme weather patterns and other climate related hazards that impact the health of their community. From heat waves to floods and exposure to rapidly spreading vector borne illnesses like malaria, lyme disease and more recently the Zika virus, the nexus of climate change and human health gets stronger every day.

We asked our director of research, Nik Steinberg, to present his work to inform the healthcare industry about the effects of climate change and the trends he is observing in how healthcare professionals approach climate change.


1. Tell us more about your work with the healthcare industry and how you help them build resilience into their operations.

Last year we built a new decision-support tool for hospitals across the United States. The work was fascinating because it combined systems analysis, climate science, and epidemiology. We started by identifying all the projected climate hazards within a hospital’s service area and then we sorted out the characteristics of those hazards – their projected frequency, severity, and timing. From there, we determined if the hazard was likely to impact the hospital itself and/ or the health and safety of the community. Next, we attempted to co-locate the hazards with exposed populations and facility systems to get a better idea of which type of patients are most exposed to heat waves and poor air quality, and where those patients live.

Our work is quite novel because it transforms something that once might have felt uncertain and ambiguous for some healthcare professionals — climate change impacts — and places it in context of their local hospital, community, and the people they interact with everyday.

We have observed that resilience building in the public health sector starts with a willingness and capacity to change – for whatever reason that may be. Our tool facilitates the information gathering and lays the foundation for an impact assessment, giving health professionals a defensible starting point and powerful communication tool on the local impacts of climate change on their patients.

2. What can healthcare professionals gain from learning about the risks of climate change, and your work specifically?

After our detailed research is complete, we step back and look for hotspots and correlations. Do future heat waves and poor air quality pose a considerable health risk to the community? Which patients are most exposed and where do they live? Is there a strong poverty-health connection in the community? How likely is it that heavy rainfall will become more severe over time and affect ambulatory services and hospital access?

These are the questions we try to address in our work so that hospitals can prioritize their resilience efforts and reach out to certain parts of the community or strengthen parts of the facility.

Many healthcare professionals are aware of these climate-related risks and their connection to the communities they serve, but this work helps outline the linkages that connect climate change and health at a local level and assigns real numbers to the expected impacts of that dynamic connection.

3. What trends are you seeing at the nexus of human health and climate change?

Human health has always been influenced by climate and weather, but the growing frequency of extremes like drought and flood and extreme temperatures generates a whole new set of challenges. Take, for example, the recent spread of the Zika virus and the drought-flood cycles that led up to heavy downpours across much of Brazil, leaving pools, puddles, and ponds for mosquito breeding, and allowing the Aedes spp. mosquito to surge across the country and eventually the rest of the Americas.

Unfortunately, changing rainfall patterns, like many climate impacts, tend to have a disproportionate effect on the vulnerable. A similar story can be told about oppressive heat. Global temperature increases also mean more severe extreme temperature, and recent heat waves in India, Russia, and even the U.S. hit the poor and outdoor laborers the hardest. Changing weather patterns and shifting climate zones will also expose new populations to these extremes.

Health effects are not always physical, and there is growing research showing the association between mental health and climate change. For illnesses like Lyme Disease or West Nile Virus, the mental health effects are very direct, but more often, the psychological responses to both disasters and acute ongoing impacts can induce a range of mental health consequences. I think the discussion around mental health and climate change will continue to grow as public health officials work to identify vulnerable populations and decipher the attribution of things like severe heat, poor air, and disasters to well-being.

There are positive trends, however, in the way researchers and public health officials are tracing vulnerability and identifying pathways of exposure. The body of research at the nexus of public health and climate change is growing, and one of the most promising outcomes of this work is the story it tells. From hospital directors to policymakers, decision-makers understand that our community’s health calls for aggressive action on the public health front to minimize and respond to a range of imminent new threats that were once uncertain or distant.

Can we prepare better? Managing risk in a context of uncertainty

On October 3rd, the Obama administration declared a state of emergency in South Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin, which dumped a foot and a half of rain in approximately 24 hours on the Carolinas, caused floods from New Jersey to Georgia and sunk cargo ship El Faro and its crew. While the Charleston and many other cities were battling the floods, with a cost estimated at over $1 billion, France was also experiencing unexpected flash floods near Nice, which caused 17 death.  Landslides in Guatemala also claimed the lives of 186 people and were catalyzed by a strengthened El Nino. When considering each event in isolation, it may be possible to overlook the connection between the storms intensity and climate change. Together these extreme weather events are indicative of a larger trend; while we can’t predict where the next big storms will hit, we do know they are becoming more frequent and stronger.

Floods in South Carolina
Flooding in South Carolina. Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images

These serve as yet another wakeup call to remind us that we are already experiencing the impacts of climate change, and that our communities, cities and business need to be prepared for the stormy weather. But, as humans, do we require a crisis to mobilize us into action? Or can the same results be sparked through other methods without the loss of life, property and human well-being?

Climate scientists have warned for years of how climate change will increase the intensity of hurricanes, and the Southeast U.S. is a highly exposed region for such hurricanes. Yet many of us act as if the storm was always going to hit next door, and fail to apply our rational understanding of risk to better preparedness.

At Four Twenty Seven, we created Climate War Games to put executives and decision-makers into the context of the increasing risks presented by climate change. Gaming and simulation provide teachable moments, which we can apply to our real world behavior.

Climate War Games
Operation, probability and climate outlook cards from the Climate War Game

In game play, we assign the players to companies and task them with running their business while getting through a number of rounds in which they experience unpredictable extreme weather events. We break down uncertainty by type of event and their varying impacts to supply chains and infrastructure that can be damaged by extreme precipitation or temperature.

While the specific outcomes are unpredictable, because they hinge on a dice roll, the risk profile of each player’s hand is clearly laid out, so as to enable teams to understand their company’s risk profile and adopt the most cost-effective portfolio of adaptation measures. The winner is the company that earns the most profit – and  limits its losses — that way, game play reflects the same challenges organizations face in the real world.

The game emulates the escalating risk of climate volatility and simulates through dice rolls the increasing likelihood of “black swan events” with low probability of occurrence, but high consequences and subsequent costs.

Players have to make the same tough choices they would in the real business world between saving or spending, and we see teams approach the choices in both creative and conventional ways. While there are different ways to play, the real value of the game comes from knowing that the risks actually create business opportunities, and acting through an informed strategy pays out over the long run. The game also helps participants reflect upon the potential human implications of their risk mitigation strategy.

Confronting the reality of what climate change is going to bring upon us can feel overwhelming at times. By providing a safe environment with clearly delineated risk profiles, and challenging players to make decisions and take action in a context of uncertainty, we help break down mental and cultural barriers to corporate adaptation, and set participants on track to build climate resilience. We do not know where the next storm will hit, but we can and should prepare to the best of our ability using climate science and probabilities.

Learn more about Climate War Games and our training courses offering here.

By: Sam Irvine

Newsletter: Public Data for the Public Good


Climate resilience news and announcements

Public Data for the Public Good

Four Twenty Seven takes 1st prize in the ESRI Human Health and Climate Change Challenge!
We developed a web application as part of our commitment to the White House Climate Data Initiative.

The app explores heat and its impacts on human health. Look up your county and learn more about  the drivers of heat vulnerability.


Join us at VERGE

We’re excited to announce our Climate Wargames will premiere at VERGE 2015. Our new workshop draws upon business wargame to help companies grasp the complexity of decision-making under uncertainty.
Read more in the GreenBiz article Gaming your way to resiliency and join us on Oct 26 in San Jose.
Use code V15SPKRGUEST for discounted admission.

From the desk of Emilie

Welcome to our new website and newsletter!

We just gave our website a major do-over to connect the dots between our vision and our customized solutions for businesses, government, and think tanks. The changes reflect both our growth as a company and our desire to engage better with our diverse set of clients and partners.
We hope you take a moment to explore and look forward to hearing from you.

— Emilie Mazzacurati, Founder and CEO

Our New Blog: The Resilience Sandbox

Climate adaptation is messy and complex. There’s no manual on how to become resilient that really captures all the nuances and challenges cities and businesses face when planning adaptation responses.

Our blog is now called The Resilience Sandbox, and is a space to explore and learn how to build resilience together.

Rather than pretending that we have all the answers, we want to share stories about how we work with our clients and partners, the challenges that we face and how we turn these challenges into opportunities. Read more.

Recent Project: Heat & Social Inequity

How does climate change impact heat vulnerability? View this video for an overview of our research findings and our award-winning application.

What We’re Reading

SB 379, the legislation passed last week in Sacramento, which requires that local hazard mitigation plans address climate adaptation. Local governments must now assess vulnerabilities and identify local risks from climate change. This means setting goals, policies and objectives: a big step forward.

Our People: Meet Sam

Sam recently joined the team as a climate communication specialist. With a passion for story telling, Sam is using his work to make the business case for climate action as well as quantifying the true benefit of sustainable programs to local communities. Sam is a joint MPA/MBA candidate at Presidio Graduate School.

Catch us at these events

We’re going to Climate Week NYC!  Catch us at these events in New York next week:



Copyright © 2018 Four Twenty Seven, All rights reserved.
Four Twenty Seven sends a newsletter focused on bringing climate intelligence into economic and financial decision-making for Fortune 500 companies, investors, and government institutions.Our mailing address is:

Four Twenty Seven

2000 Hearst Ave
Ste 304

BerkeleyCA 94709



Heat Vulnerability

Heat and Social Inequity in the United States

Four Twenty Seven has developed a series of maps that examines one of the most significant public health risks posed by climate change: heat vulnerability.Four Twenty Seven has developed a series of maps that examines one of the most significant public health risks posed by climate change: heat vulnerability.

These maps combine projections from global climate models with socioeconomic indicators of heat vulnerability to compare the complex and interconnected components of heat risk and resilience by county in the U.S.
The maps can be used to discuss climate change impacts on public health with doctors, nurses and other professionals in the healthcare sector. Public health officials can focus on a county of interest and identify key drivers of vulnerability as a starting point for planning and evaluation. The maps can also be used to engage the community and help improve preparedness ahead of heat events in the short- and long-term.

The application contains five interactive maps. The first four maps let you explore the determinants of heat vulnerability that compose your county’s vulnerability to heat. The fifth map displays a new composite indicator developed by our team, the “Heat Vulnerability Score,” to help identify counties most vulnerable to negative health impacts due to extreme heat.

Explore the app here:

Heat and Social Inequity Tool Screenshot

The methodology developed by Four Twenty Seven for this project and underlying data may be accessed here.

This application was developed as part of Four Twenty Seven’s commitment to the White House Climate Data Initiative, an ambitious effort that supports the development of data-driven planning tools to build resilience to climate change impacts in local communities. The tool has been peer-reviewed by CDC and NOAA, and is now featured on NOAA’s Climate Resilience Toolkit.

Inside the Black Box: How Companies Prepare for Climate Change

Corporate Adaptation: The Blackbox of Economic Resilience

2015CorpAdaptSurveyBubblesClimate change presents a multitude of new risks, challenges and opportunities for corporations and communities around the globe. Successfully preparing for and adapting to the climate impacts that are already set in motion – such as sea level rise, increases in extreme heat and more frequent and intense storms – will require strategic planning and action in the near term as well as ongoing monitoring and long term strategic development.

Yet as our understanding of global climate risks continues to grow, companies are struggling to measure, monitor and prepare for climate impacts that threaten global economic stability. The public sector has made great strides in developing conceptual frameworks, practical guidance and actionable tools to help practitioners. However, there is much less transparency regarding the current state of climate change risk management and adaptation planning in the private sector, which could discourage the development of best practices and stymie much needed collaboration between public and private stakeholders.

An Inaugural Survey on Corporate Adaptation

To help address this knowledge gap, Four Twenty Seven and the University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN), with support from BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), present the 2015 Corporate Adaptation Survey. The goals of this survey were:

  • Further our collective understanding of the challenges corporations face when addressing climate change impacts
  • Highlight gaps in private sector knowledge of, and capacity to address, these impacts
  • Raise awareness about best practices and potential strategies that advance resilience building across sectors and communities


Key highlights from the survey include:

1. What Are the Climate Risk Drivers of Greatest Concern?

  • Water scarcity and political instability driven by climate change are cited as the top two anticipated risks across sectors. Water scarcity emerged as the climate hazard of greatest concern for corporations, with 16 percent of respondents citing it as a risk, followed by social and political instability driven by climate change, at slightly above 14 percent.

2. How Will Climate Change Affect Businesses?

Companies are most concerned about potential costs increases due to climate change (Source: 2015 Corporate Adaptation Survey)
Companies are most concerned about potential costs increases due to climate change (Source: 2015 Corporate Adaptation Survey)
  • Thirty percent of surveyed companies have faced or are experiencing impacts from climate change that negatively impact their bottom line.
  • More than 70 percent of respondents say they are “somewhat concerned” that climate change will have a material impact on their value chain, in particular their supply chain, distribution and customers and markets.  Nearly 20 percent say they are “very concerned” about the material impact on each of these major segments.
  • Two-thirds of the respondents expressed concern over increased operational and capital costs and reported they had already experienced cost increases or considered them a likely outcome.

3. How Do Companies Assess Climate Risk?

  • Thirty percent of respondents said they haven’t developed a plan to adapt their business to climate change impacts. The remaining were most likely to have monitored climate risk in some capacity as part of their enterprise risk management (43 percent) or by looking at a specific driver of concern (29 percent).
  • Respondents rely on publicly available data, reports and websites to inform their climate adaptation work, as well as on industry associations and/or non-profit led initiatives.Internal sustainability teams were also cited as a key resource for climate change risk information.

4. Who Within an Organization Should Be in Charge of Climate Adaptation?

  • Respondents were divided over who should be managing climate risk and adaptation planning: the sustainability team (28 percent), risk management team (26 percent) and operations team (24 percent) were all cited as possible choices.
  • The sustainability team was seen as the most knowledgeable about climate change by far, while respondents were least confident in the level of understanding of climate change held by their investor relations team, their supply chain team, and their Board of Directors.

5. Have Companies Already Implemented Adaptation Measures?

  • The most common adaptation measures already implemented are energy and water efficiency measures, closely followed by business continuity plan development and staff training on risk management.
  • Retrofitting or relocation of company assets are actions that are under consideration but few  respondents reported having already implemented retrofitting and no respondents reported relocation of assets as a current measure.

6. What Are the Main Barriers to Corporate Adaptation?

  • The main barrier to action cited was the challenge of getting climate-related risks recognized as an immediate priority, followed by lack of leadership on climate change.
  • While 30 percent of respondents reported that climate change has already had a material impact on their company, a third of respondents expected impacts in the 5-20 year timeframe only, and over 20 percent did not expect impacts for at least another 20 years. Very few respondents expected short-term material impacts from climate change (1-5 years).

7. What Are the Next Steps in Assessing Climate Risks?

  • Respondents noted a wide range of planned next steps, though the most common was engaging with key industry groups to build consensus on sector-wide initiatives. The need for additional research and data was also frequently cited as a priority.

8. What Opportunities Might Climate Change Bring for Your Company?

  • A quarter of respondents anticipated opportunities for both new product creation and efficiency improvements.
  • Opportunities typically associated with sustainability programs, such as brand development and cost reduction, ranked far lower when considering opportunities associated with climate change.

Download the full survey: 2015 Corporate Adaptation Survey

Download the flyer with key insights: Corporate Adaptation Survey Flyer

About the Survey Sponsors

Four Twenty Seven ( is an award-winning climate risk and adaptation consultancy dedicated to helping organizations understand and mitigate risks posed by climate change impacts. Its innovative tools and services blend economic modeling and climate science to deliver actionable intelligence and effective adaptation strategies. Four Twenty Seven’s supply chain application, developed in partnership with Climate Earth, is the first enterprise-quality application that enables large corporations to quickly map and quantify global supply chain risks due to climate change. It was awarded the 2014 Environmental Business Journal Award for Technology Merit in Climate Change Risk Management.

ND-GAINlogoThe Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index ( is a practical solution to the world’s climate problem. It promotes adaptation by identifying the places most vulnerable to extreme weather and changing climate and identifying real-world solutions that can prevent these changes from becoming disasters. Its mission is to enhance the world’s understanding of the importance of adaptation and inform private and public investments in vulnerable communities. ND-GAIN is part of the Climate Change Adaptation Program of the University of Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative (ND-ECI), a Strategic Research Initiative focused on “science serving society,” and draws resources from across the campus.

BSRBSR (Business for Social Responsibility) is a global nonprofit organization that works with its network of more than 250 member companies to build a just and sustainable world. From its offices in Asia, Europe, and North America, BSR develops sustainable business strategies and solutions through consulting, research, and cross-sector collaboration.


San Francisco Flood Vulnerability

A Health Focused Assessment

The impacts of climate change – heat waves, drought, heavy rains, flooding and Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 11.38.30 AMrising sea levels– are already being felt in communities across California and the United States. These impacts present new challenges for local governments who are working to build resilience. In order to prepare for climate impacts, it’s crucial for communities to understand how flood vulnerability will impact the health of their specific populations.

In San Francisco, local flood inundation coupled with extreme storms is projected to have a direct impact on health outcomes in the city. The most likely health impacts related to flood include physical injuries, waterborne illnesses, respiratory illnesses, vector-borne disease, and food-borne illnesses. Disruption to city medical service, carbon monoxide poisoning, income loss, and mental health impacts caused or triggered by stress, isolation or anxiety are also part of the negative health impact picture.

Four Twenty Seven worked with the San Francisco Department of Public Health to develop an interactive story map that illustrates the results of their recent assessment of the health impacts of flood and extreme storms in the city. Our story map makes the connection between climate change and public health by enabling users to better understand the socio-demographic indicators that contribute to flood vulnerability.

Explore the App Here:

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Users can explore which areas of San Francisco are most vulnerable to flooding and extreme storms as well as how resident’s quality of housing, pre-existing health conditions, and other indicators of social vulnerability contribute to flood risk. The final map in this series compiles all of these indicators into a flood vulnerability index that identifies which communities in San Francisco are most at risk from the health impacts of flood and extreme storms. These maps illustrate the importance of being able to identify and understand why some communities are more vulnerable than others to specific climate risks so that resources and planning efforts can be prioritized accordingly. The San Francisco Department of Public Health will use our story map to support their outreach and communications efforts as well as their work to coordinate planning and policy efforts to build resilience in San Francisco communities.