Report by Mott MacDonald and Global Sustainability Institute urges businesses to invest to survive

Construction site

Around £130bn ($200bn) needs to be invested annually if businesses across the world are going to survive the impacts of climate change, according to a report by engineering consultants Mott MacDonald and the Global Sustainability Institute.

The report, titled Climate Change and Business Survival, calls on business leaders to invest in protecting themselves from the impacts of climate change.

This can be done, it says, by designing disaster-proof infrastructure to avoid losing stock to extreme weather and rising sea-levels. The report also says companies should diversify their supply chains so climatic events do not damage their entire network.

Ian Allison, one of the report’s authors and the global head of Mott MacDonald’s climate resilience initiative, said the numbers in the report are less about accuracy and more about raising awareness.

He said: “The numbers in the report are big and round and it’s almost deliberate to give a scale of the problem rather than the accuracy. The whole report is about raising awareness of the magnitude of the issue as we see it.”

The report comes a week after a warning from the Town and Country Planning Association that Hull, and several communities across the east of England, might no longer exist in 100 years’ time due to rising sea levels caused by climate change.

Both Allison and David Viner, another of the report’s authors and Mott MacDonald’s principal adviser for climate change, said that investment into protective measures against climate change needed to “become part of the normal business cycle”, especially for companies whose revenue is service derived.

The report delivers a strong warning for the private sector, saying that it needs to “step up to the plate” in terms of investment.

It adds that if businesses don’t address the funding gap in building, governments “will have no choice” but to impose taxes on companies forcing them to protect themselves.

Viner said that companies are “starting to act” but currently are “not sure what to do and how to do it”.

Allison added: “It’s not a one-way street. Companies that invest and are seen to be investing are already benefitting from lower-cost insurance, lower-cost finance and find themselves in a better place to recover if they experience a strong climatic event.”