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Actions make your business more resilient to climate change

Climate change is already having an impact on people and businesses in Scotland and beyond. We are seeing this in the form of increased floods, storms, drought, and coastal erosion.

Extreme weather events are predicted to become more frequent and intense in the future, especially if we don’t act to reduce our impact. There is a level of unavoidable climate change, for which we all need to prepare and adapt.

Scotland has ambitious plans to mitigate the effects of climate change. Legislation will be implemented between now and 2045 to ensure this.

By already doing whatever you can to become more adapted to climate change, you can set yourself up for success. Start your sustainable business model now to future-proof your business.

This page explains what steps you can take to adapt your business to climate change. Learn how to do a climate risk audit to identify threats and opportunities to help your business adapt.

The importance of adaptation

Climate change

Be aware of how it will impact your business and the risks and opportunities it could bring.

Future-proofing

Adapting, building resilience, and reducing risk will all help you become a climate ready business.

Build resilience

Business processes, vital equipment, and core activities can be at risk from climate change.

Protect nature

Nature-based solutions will allow your business to care for and restore nature and boost visitors.

Actions to adapt your business to climate change

There are many ways to adapt your business to climate change. The following are four actions to kickstart your journey to net zero over the next three years. You’ll find that you’ll be able to implement some straightaway. Others will require some upfront investment or will take some time to show their value.

Identify how climate change might affect your business

Looking at your business through the lens of climate change adaptation will help you adjust to any social, economic, and environmental risks posed for your business, staff, and visitors. Impacts of climate change could affect any area of your business.

Planning ahead, rather than being responsive to disruption could save you money in the long-term. You may even identify opportunities for your business to benefit. Ultimately, it’s about strengthening your business’ resilience to climate change.

Steps to take

  1. Create a climate risk audit. Begin assessing the risks and opportunities posed to your business because of climate change.  Consider the longer-term impacts of climate change and its possible solutions and opportunities.
  2. Identify business disruption. Consider areas of the business that could be particularly impacted by climate change. Adaptation Scotland lists the following six focus areas:
  • people
  • premises
  • markets
  • finance
  • processes
  • logistics

Find more information on these focus areas on adaptationscotland.org.uk.

  1. Take action using the Adaptation Scotland checklist. As you work through each business area, feel free to add or amend the checklist to suit your business. You’re best to complete this at your earliest convenience. Download the business area checklist on adaptationscotland.org.uk.
  1. Evaluate your checklist. Once you’ve completed your checklist, use it to note the various risks and opportunities posed to your business over the next three years. Integrate solutions and opportunities into your climate action plan to address this over time.

Integrate adaptation into your health and safety policy

Once you’ve identified risks and opportunities, look at how you can make changes that will future proof your business. What legacy do you want your business to have? Consider the impact on employees, local communities, customers and your product or service offering.

 Steps to take

  1. Complete health and safety risk assessments. Include potential risks from climate change. Assessing how your people and customers / clients may be impacted by climate change will help you put systems in place to ensure disruption is kept to a minimum.
  2. Conduct climate change training. Train employees on the risks and the steps that have been taken to protect them from climate change, providing a safe working environment.
  3. Inform your customers. Your customers in the widest sense include your visitors and local community. Let them know how you’re working to counteract climate change impact, and why their support helps you achieve your sustainability goals

Consider nature-based solutions and increasing biodiversity

Does your business impact your natural environment? It’s important to consider what you can do to reduce negative impact and support positive change. Nature-based solutions are activities that seek to protect, restore, and manage natural ecosystems.

Scotland's nature is a key asset in attracting visitors. Scottish Government has committed to stop species decline by 2030 and an overall increase in biodiversity by 2045. Nature-based solutions could allow your business to care for the environment, support your climate action activity, and boost visitor numbers.

Steps to take

  1. Learn from biodiversity experts. The NatureScot and SSE websites provide a range of resources including guidance and advice about the basics of biodiversity. Your local council may also have a nature and bio-diversity expert who can provide advice specific to your area.

Go to nature.scot.

Go to sse.com.

  1. Consider nature-based solutions. Increase biodiversity on your land, including preserving or creating dedicated spaces for wildlife to thrive. For example, take a look at “Wee Forests” on nature.scot  for inspiration. Other simple actions include: 
  • planting native flora
  • additional landscaping
  • installing bird feeders and water baths
  • monitoring what new species of flora and fauna you’ve attracted as a result
  1. Arrange staff training. This can start from encouraging your team to make greener choices, to providing them with formal training. There are multiple courses and free resources available, including Keep Scotland Beautiful and others.
  2. Educate your visitors. There are great opportunities to engage visitors to learn more about our nature, help protect it and enjoy it in a responsible way. Highlight the work you’re doing and find ways to get them involved as part of your experience. Look at our communication action page for ideas in reaching your visitors.

Build contingency into your supply chain

Climate Change is not coming. It's here. The effects of which might already be felt or observed by your business and its suppliers. You should consider the following:

  • Will you still be able to operate when there's extreme weather damage in your area?
  • Will visitors or supplies still be able to reach you?
  • Do you have alternate suppliers to call on should rising costs or liquidation occur?
  • Are there any common-sense solutions you can take to compensate for this?

It’s good practice to put a plan in place to counteract risks to offer long-term protection and re-assurance for your business, and its customers.  

Steps to take

  1. Take stock of your suppliers. What sustainability targets do they have as part of their operations? How have they planned for a disruption in their supply? Consider working together to share your plans.
  2. Identify challenges. Consider areas of risk that could arise with suppliers that would negatively impact your operations and ability to deliver your products or services.
  3. Work with your supplier. If your suppliers don’t have their own sustainability targets, ask them how they can work with you to adapt and put plans in place for this to help build their climate resilience. Always try to positively influence and work with your suppliers as part of your supply chain. To support conversations, please read our influencing actions page.
  4. Plan out your long-term approach. Business Gateway offer a free risk-management and business continuity planning course, to help you plan to keep your business running smoothly when challenges arise. Find the course on bgateway.com.

Measure your emissions and record your actions

This free climate action workbook gives you the tools to easily measure your business emissions and select actions to reduce them over time. You can track up to three years of data and pick the actions that work best for your business - from free, quick wins to longer term investments.

contentform-climate-guide

Climate action plan

        Please read our privacy notice before proceeding. If you are unable to download the tool or wish to receive a copy without registering your details, you can email netzeroenquiries@visitscotland.com.

        External resources on adaptation

        Related links