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Our climate mission is clear

July 6, 2021

As visibility into the future is restored following the pandemic, the climate crisis comes sharply into view.
Climate Risk and Resilience

There has never been a greater impetus for action on climate change. Corporate risk managers have an essential role in identifying the key risks and opportunities that face businesses, as they design and set out on transition journeys. As they look beyond the immediate and near-term challenges of the pandemic and economic slowdown, not much future gazing should be required to spot the next grey rhino in the room.

George Nassaouati, head of Natural Resources Asia at Willis Towers Watson, was a regular visitor to the region’s major cities before COVID hit and remembers the thick smog in some cities such as Bangkok, Beijing, Delhi and Jakarta where visibility was low at times. There has been a realisation that the situation is no longer viable. “We’re seeing a lot of green activities in China now, especially by our energy and power team over there, where they are not only engaging with clients, but also with government agencies as part of China’s green energy initiative,” he observes.

The past 18 months has given many organisations direct experience of dealing with a major global shock. Depending on the sector, firms have responded to the pandemic in numerous ways – implementing business continuity and crisis management plans, shifting to a remote working model and adapting business models in order to survive the economic impact.

The most successful have been nimble. Firms that have proved most resilient through the crisis have demonstrated an ability to repurpose and a culture that supports risk-based decisions. However, beyond COVID-19, what’s next? The deadly virus has not run its course – far from it, in fact – but we already know what the next big challenge is: climate change.

Looking ahead, the climate change challenge looms large. Unlike COVID-19, it is not a shock that companies can claim they were unprepared for, and failure to prepare will not be tolerated by the next generation of regulators, shareholders and wider society.

This article is jointly produced with the StrategicRISK and published in its Q2-2021 magazine on 30 June 2021.

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