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SMEs: are you professionally ready for climate change?

15 January 2020: viewing your business through the lens of climate change will produce surprising results. Relentless flooding, extreme coastal conditions and super-hot days that cause systems to fail are not just uncomfortable, they are a risk to business. Getting ready is a professional imperative.

ICAEW has put itself at the heart of climate change as a business issue. We are not only addressing big companies with obvious exposure to risk and preparers who have already nurtured talent to turn out climate risk disclosures. The small company, with modest premises and limited teams who rely on a short supply chain and a defined market, is also on our radar. And so are their advisors.

We have been working towards narrowing down those risks to help us launch a campaign aimed at SMEs that gives small companies the tools and language to enter the debate, share experiences and even begin to benchmark the action needed.

We think the key issues will relate to the ability to secure finance and insurance. Energy supply will be a risk, as well as logistics. Property risks will become obvious and there may be disruption to operations. The workforce may suffer, supply chains may crumble and growth may be threatened. And regulation is a possibility.

We plan to produce a stream of materials to make sure all companies can become more resilient with climate most definitely at the heart of all business.

If you feel professionally ready for climate change – tell us what you’re doing – if not – tell us what could help.

Key questions to ask

There are a number of areas where SMEs can see climate risks and opportunities within their business activities including:

  • finance and investment;
  • insurance and risk management;
  • energy use and supply;
  • fleet;
  • property and estate;
  • operations;
  • workforce;
  • supply chain;
  • growth and export; and
  • regulation.

What does climate change mean for your business?
Are your operations designed to cope or designed to thrive?
Are specific sectors more at risk?
Can you benchmark existing performance?
What will your business look like in a net zero UK?