Switzerland tops ranking for climate change readiness

17th June 2019

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John Cranston

Switzerland is more prepared to address climate change and the associated risks than any other country, a study by professional services firm KPMG has revealed.

Published in a report last Friday, the biennial ranking is based on several key indicators, such as food and energy security, health care coverage and economic diversification.

Singapore, Denmark, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates complete the top five, while the UK has moved up two places since 2017 to eighth position in the ranking.

“Climate change is among the most pressing issues we face as a global society,“ said Timothy Stiles, chair of KPMG's International Development Assistance Services.

“Those countries failing to recognise the impact of climate change are likely to be unprepared for its growing costs, which will be levied on citizens, businesses and economies around the world.

Enterprise, government, and people and civil society are the “three key pillars' on which countries are measured in the ranking.

The EU performs above the global average for environmental sustainability, but its financial sector is falling behind on preparedness for change, performing only marginally better than developing markets.

And although the US has fallen one position to 13th in the ranking, its financial sector leads in preparedness for change. North America as a whole is the clear leader for adopting new technologies.

Europe leads the way for enterprise sustainability, for which measures include CO2 emissions per unit of GDP and renewable energy, with naturally resource-rich countries like Russia performing poorly.

Less mature economies like Chad, South Sudan and Afghanistan are the worst performing countries for climate resilience, as are nations in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

KPMG said poorer countries face “double jeopardy“ when it comes to climate change due to a higher risk of negative impacts and lower capacity to implement policies and institutions.

Too many nations can be reliant on either business, government or civil society to shoulder the responsibility for change readiness, but in our experience this doesn't yield the best long-term results, Stiles said.

True preparedness is when each segment of society – enterprise, government, and people and civil society – works in harmony toward a shared outcome.“

Image credit: iStock


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