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Grey clouds and silver linings – climate change a financial reality for Australian business

3 mins  18.12.2017 Sarah Barker

The business sector has begun to recognise the significant economic and financial risks associated with climate change and wades in on what was, to date, an issue for environmentalists.

You may have noticed a curious change in the emphasis of your morning coffee read. The press has begun to devote serious column space to the issue of 'climate change' – including in the business pages. The banks are talking about climate change in their annual reports. As are companies with house-hold brand-names, from Unilever to BHP to Nike. Even market watchdogs, such as the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, have recently warned that, left unmanaged, climate change may pose risks to our economic stability.

So why this business-sector interest on what was, historically, an issue for 'environmentalists'?

In short, leading businesses have begun to recognise that issues associated with climate change present significant economic and financial risks (and opportunities) over both the long- and shorter-term, which cannot be ignored. These risks and opportunities arise not only from the ecological (or 'physical' impacts of climate change (which include an increase in extreme weather events, and 'gradual onset' impacts such as the increase in global average temperatures, rising sea levels due to water expansion and ice melt, and alteration of regional precipitation patterns), but associated government policies, technological developments and shifts in societal attitudes…

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Originally published as Climate action is good business by News Corp Australia on 29 December 2017.

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