A Climate Resilience Handbook that Businesses in Southeast Asia Must Learn

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“Building Climate Resilience in Southeast Asia – A Handbook for Action” by the Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and the Rockefeller Foundation is designed to assist and equip businesses in Southeast Asia as they face the challenges and impacts of climate change.

Published on September 2018, the handbook mentions the countries and communities in Southeast Asia, especially developing ones, that are the most vulnerable to the hazards of climate change.

building climate resilience in southeast asia

These hazards include warming temperatures, sea-level rise, increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. Communities, infrastructures, livelihoods, and ecosystems if not mitigated or if adaptation fails will suffer damages, according to the handbook.

The research handbook focuses on the four countries in Southeast Asia: Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam because of their exposure and vulnerability.

The handbook suggests a two-pronged approach for businesses in Southeast Asia to tackle climate change: (1) To transition to a low-carbon economy, and (2) To enhance adaptive capacity in the face of inevitable climate hazards

The BSR conducted research on how businesses are addressing climate risks in their business operations. According to their findings, there have been efforts to reduce carbon emission but there is a need to build more resilience against the impact of climate change.

The Handbook also offers tools and resources for businesses in Southeast Asia to start assessing climate risks and building resilience.

The methodology used for research are the following:

  • Literature review which includes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 5th Assessment report.
  • Workshops. Uses private sector workshops in each country, to test findings and tools, and gather feedback.
  • Semi-structured interviews for qualitative data collection. Interviewed leading practitioners and experts in the fields of climate change and disaster risk reduction, and representatives from a cross-section of companies.

To conduct the climate risk analysis for the businesses, the study used the following industries: agriculture, manufacturing (automobiles, garment, IT) tourism and hospitality, and financial services.

Their findings: current business risk analysis is not enough to cover the three dimensions of climate risks namely, understand the physical hazards, minimizing exposure, and reducing vulnerability across the businesses’ operations, which includes supply chains and the community it depends.

It also found out that businesses are eager to understand about mitigation of climate risks and building adaptive capacity, and are looking for more guidance and information on this area. This is what the handbook seeks to provide the answers for.

The handbook is built on three dimensions: Hazards, Exposure, and Vulnerability. It also identifies the six capital assets to build resilience on, which are human, physical, political, social, financial, and natural assets.

Also, read about the five steps to build resilience and a pre-assessment questionnaire on risk identification for businesses to use.

The tools and resources on the handbook contain online resources and a list of tools, researches, examples of best practices, international organisations and financial institutions that can assist businesses and communities in Southeast Asia on the issue of climate change.

If you’re a small or medium-sized business in Southeast Asia, an institution looking for information on climate change adaptation and mitigation, or an organisation with the capacity to help vulnerable communities in Southeast then you will find this handbook very valuable.

Citation: Gallagher, Eileen. “Building Climate Resilience in Asia: Handbook for Action.” BSR, June 2018

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