Since the beginning of summer, we’ve already experienced a series of extreme weather events. Worldwide heat records are being broken under the combined effects of global warming and El Niño. Many ecosystems and the people who live in them are vulnerable. So are industries.
As societies strive to mitigate the effects of climate change, the word “resilience” is on everyone’s lips.
The IPCC defines resilience as “the capacity of social, economic, and environmental systems to cope with a hazardous event or trend or disturbance, responding or reorganizing in ways that maintain their essential function, identity, and structure, while also maintaining the capacity for adaptation, learning, and transformation.”
For industry, resilience means several things:
Designing infrastructure to withstand extreme weather
“Industrial companies operate critical infrastructure,” says Dave Olsthoorn, ing, M.Sc.A., Mechanical Engineer at BBA. “That’s why it’s vitally important on every project to determine design parameters that will shield it from climate change. We need to go above and beyond established standards to design each project on the basis of the risks associated with its location and operations, and we must apply best practices in sustainable development.”
Innovating and changing how we operate
“Engineers and scientists are used to responding to problems as they arise,” notes Mario Cantin, Director – Environment at BBA. “Today, we need to shift this paradigm and act preventively. In practical terms, this means, first of all, lowering our CO2 emissions as much as possible and then working to develop and implement new technologies to limit global warming.”
Making the land our ally in adapting to climate change
“Nature is as much a part of the solution as technological innovation,” says Frédéric Gauthier, Project Manager – Environment and Sustainable Development at BBA. “For example, vegetation can help prevent erosion, retain water and cool the atmosphere. We need to approach projects with a holistic vision and work in harmony with ecosystems.”
Adopting flexible governance
The FSB Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) lists transitioning to a low-carbon economy as one of the climate risks facing industry. More and more, we need to adopt green technologies, but businesses also need flexible governance to respond quickly to the bumps in the road during the transition.
Industrial companies are key players in the energy transition. But to fully contribute to it, they need to make resilience a core component of their business model.