IEMA has published new guidance on adaptation to our changing climate. Written by IEMA members Kit England MIEMA CEnv and Dr Ellie Murtagh, it provides an introduction to adaptation from a strategic perspective (i.e. why it must be a core activity for both public and private sector organisations) and from a practical one (i.e. how to get started). Here, Chloë Fiddy, IEMA’s Policy and Engagement Lead for climate change sets out why this guidance is a must-read for anyone in governance or climate practitioner roles.

At COP27, adaptation and the issue of compensation for climate impacts are high on the agenda. November 12th is the COP27 Adaptation and Agriculture Day and whilst many of the leaders attending have already highlighted the climate impacts they are already experiencing, it will bring home the heavy-hitting message that climate change is already here, and therefore that adaptation to climate change is now unavoidable. This guidance provides an essential toolkit for IEMA members to take action.

The guidance opens with key messages about the business case for adaptation, which will be of benefit for IEMA members who might be struggling to move the issue up the corporate agenda in their organisations. It also provides an overview of the different components of climate risk, and the complexity of their interactions with one another, highlighting why climate risk can translate to a critical business continuity risk.

Having convinced readers of the urgency for action, on the practical side the guidance sets out ways in which organisations can take action to adapt. Rather than producing a step-by-step guide, of the sort easily available elsewhere, this guidance sets out a more sophisticated maturity matrix; outlining the characteristics of an organisations which has a maturing adaptation approach, and is making progress on multiple fronts.

The authors recognise that in addressing adaptation, different organisations will take different approaches, and have different starting points. Some will work across different areas of the organisation at the same pace, and others will choose to focus on working at depth on specific areas. Some may be exposed to certain climate impacts, whilst others may have particular vulnerabilities. It is up to the organisation to decide where to dive into the matrix and when, and the choices made will depend upon the specific context and will be unique to each organisation.

The matrix breaks down the different business functions into sites and operations, people and skills, finance and resources, and supply and value chains. For each function, tangible adaptive actions described as initial, intermediate, and advanced are recommended for implementation. To illustrate and bring to life these actions, the guide includes case studies, as well as further reading.

Business as usual is no longer possible, and adaptative shifts in organisations’ functions are now an inescapable reality. This toolkit is an essential resource to support an organisation throughout its adaptation journey.

  • If you are not an IEMA member but would like to access this publication, please complete the short form here to download the guide.
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Chloë Fiddy

Policy and Engagement Lead

Chloë is the Policy and Engagement lead for Climate Change and Energy at IEMA. She has previously worked in local government in climate change and development planning policy. With a remit to advise on the organisational and regional net zero transition, she had a strong focus on active travel, air quality and retrofit projects, and provided advice on renewable energy development. Chloë also has over a decade of experience in the manufacturing sector, championing and implementing sustainable production methods. She is a trustee on the board of Uttlesford Citizens Advice, overseeing local input into national research projects and is responsible for information assurance. In her spare time, she enjoys live music and cooking for family and friends.