Understanding Climate Change Hazards for your Business
Imagine that you’ve been asked to assess the vulnerability of your business to climate change. Catastrophic floods, heatwaves, and wildfires are in the news every week and you have sites all around Australia.
Seven Group Holdings was in this position and turned to Katestone when it needed answers.
Where to start?
Seven Group Holdings operates over 200 sites across Australia, providing support for engineering, mining, and other industry sectors. Locations in the east were being impacted by flooding while the west faced intense heat waves. Head Office wanted a high-level understanding of climate issues and risks while regional managers needed solid information that they could share with branch managers to manage risk.
Katestone worked with Seven Group to identify the weather events that were likely to pose the greatest hazard to its business operations. We identified that extreme heat, fire weather, extreme rainfall and the potential for floods, extreme winds, and sea level rise are significant issues for Seven Group.
We cannot rely on historical weather data to tell us what it will be like over the next 20 – 30 years. We must model the future based on our understanding of climate and meteorological processes and the projected changes.
For example, we can predict the consequences of increased heat energy in the climate system. We know it will increase the number of hot days above 35°C and very hot days above 40°C. Hot days affect worker productivity and their health and safety, and place stresses on electrical systems, equipment, and infrastructure.
In addition, hazards that pose a significant risk in one region may be of a lesser risk in another region. Even two sites in the same metropolitan area may not face the same level of risk for a given hazard.
Katestone modelled and mapped the climate hazards, including mean number of days per year above 35°C from 2000 to 2020 across Australia. We then used the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions to project, for example, the number of days per year above 35°C up to 2050 (Figure 2) and provided Seven Group Holdings with information tailored to their sites.
Figure 1 Mean number of days per year above 35°C (2000 – 2020)
Figure 2 Projected mean number of days per year above 35°C in 2050
Katestone balanced breadth and depth to provide Head Office with enough high-level information to determine the range of governance and operational risks to their business, and to provide regional managers with enough detailed information that they could use to develop actionable plans with their branches.
Seven Group Holdings can also use this information to better support their customers, anticipating products and services they may need to manage climate risk in their own operations.
Contact us at Katestone to understand climate change risks for your business through:
- Hazard screening
- Exposure assessment
- Vulnerability assessment
- Priority site identification, and
- Climate change risk assessment
Dr Craig Miller
Team Leader – Climate Change and Greenhouse Gases
(07) 3369 3699