Over half of businesses in the region consider the impact of extreme weather as government launch National Adaptation Programme

Today the government launches the National Adaptation Programme before Parliament. The programme aims to build on evidence presented in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment and sets out government objectives, policies and proposals for addressing the risks brought on by climate change. Here at Sustainability West Midlands, we are responding to the risks posed by extreme weather and have been promoting climate adaptation to businesses over the last two years. This year, our Building Business Resilience Programme in partnership with the Environment Agency has engaged individuals from over 50 businesses in the West Midlands who are looking to prepare for the worst. But how resilient are businesses in the West Midlands to extreme weather? As part of this programme, we have conducted research to gauge where extreme weather sits on the risk register.

Businesses are taking steps to prepare as extreme weather events are making an undesirable impact.


Over 50% of businesses questioned stated that they have considered the risks posed by extreme weather and are taking steps to prepare


With the help of our programme, we have seen the number of businesses who have made no consideration of extreme weather decrease to just 10% over the last year. But what impact is extreme weather having on operations? The majority of businesses surveyed indicated that they had been affected extreme weather in the last 5 years, with restricted access to sites (54%) due to snow and ice (86%), and disruptions to travel networks due to snow and ice (86%) or heavy rain (69%).

The costs of being unprepared can be exceptional, with businesses reporting losses of hundreds to millions of pounds. This year, 50% of participants stated that they had incurred additional costs as a result of severe weather, firmly placing climate change adaptation on the radar.

It isn’t all doom and gloom. 29% of those surveyed stated that they had seen increased demand for existing products or services, and 28% saw opportunity in enhancing business reputation. In addition extreme weather can show gaps in the market, with new business start up responding to demand.

Dr. Simon Slater, Executive Director of Sustainability West Midlands stated:”This survey indicates that extreme weather events are now impossible to ignore. The cost to business is great as global and local supply chains struggle to cope. The good news is that businesses are now considering the impact of extreme weather and are preparing for the worst. It is pleasing to see examples from across the West Midlands of businesses doing just that- putting the steps in place to ensure business as usual and even winning new business as a result.”

Sustainability West Midlands continue to offer support for businesses looking to build their resilience to extreme weather. With support from the Environment Agency and partners, we will be providing opportunities for organisations to share good practice and take action. If you would like to get involved, or wish to promote your good practice, the West Midlands Climate Adaptation Partnership can help.  For more information about this programme, contact Anisha Chandar anisha.chandar@swm.org.uk.



Building Business Resilience (pdf)