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HindustanTimes Sat,19 Apr 2014

Changing environment to impact global business: UN

IANS  London, June 22, 2013
First Published: 14:44 IST(22/6/2013) | Last Updated: 14:47 IST(22/6/2013)

The future of the private sector will increasingly hinge on the ability of businesses to adapt to the world's rapidly changing environment, according to a UN report.

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The report titled "GEO-5 for Business: Impacts of a Changing Environment on the Corporate Sector" was released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in the British capital, Xinhua reported.

It analysed the potential risks to 10 different sectors of the economy, and also the opportunities that many companies could grasp if they develop goods and services that can reduce the impacts of environmental concerns.

"From extreme weather events, to rising pressures on finite natural resources, changes in the global environment will increasingly impact operating costs, markets for products, the availability of raw materials, and the reputation of businesses," the UNEP document said.

In the tourism sector, for example, a 1.4-2.2 degree Celsius rise in average winter temperatures would likely mean the closure of more than half of the ski resorts operating in the northeastern US in 30 years.

As for water scarcity, it said platinum mines in South Africa's Olifants River system faced 10 times higher water charges by 2020 as they compete with local communities for the ever scarcer commodity.

The report also outlines key recommendations for each of the 10 sectors, including building and construction, chemicals, power, extractives, finance, food and beverage, healthcare, IT, tourism, and transport.

"The report speaks to the reality of climate change and natural resource scarcities," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

"It makes the case that whether it be in water saving, or climate-proofing infrastructure, the world is going to look for solutions that in turn will drive corporate competitiveness, reputation risk and a transition to an inclusive green economy," he said.

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