Businesses must adapt to climate change – Charles JrSaturday, June 19, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Minister of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate Change, Pearnel Charles Jr, is urging businesses to adopt green principles and fully integrate climate adaptation strategies in their operations.
“Businesses must adapt to climate change in order to thrive in the global economy. Coronavirus (COVID-19) has hit many industries hard and it has highlighted the importance of integrating innovative and robust systems into business operations that can remain resilient in the face of global events beyond the control of any individual, company or industry,” Charles Jr said.
He was speaking during a recent online event hosted by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to discuss measures the Government of Jamaica is taking to combat climate change.
“The Government wants to see companies come up with new products and services that will contribute to a reduction in the country's carbon footprint and over time reduce their reliance on fossil fuels with a progressive shift towards renewable energy. We want to see increased investment in improved agricultural techniques, as well as the building of supply chains and infrastructure that are resilient to more intense disasters and climate variability,” the minister said.
He noted that one of the most obvious physical risks of climate change to businesses is the way extreme weather events impair the ability to move goods, services and people.
“Hurricanes have the potential to disrupt entire transportation systems, creating damage so severe that it can stall entire logistics networks and the supply of raw materials for several weeks. Businesses will therefore need to refocus on long-term resilience in the face of climate change,” the minister said.
He explained that for businesses to become climate resilient, they must target reducing the carbon footprint and reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases by transitioning energy consumption to renewable energy, like liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Meanwhile, the minister acknowledged moves made by local companies such as GraceKennedy, through their eco-friendly headquarters, and some branches of Scotiabank, which have been recently retrofitted with extensive solar panels, which double as shading in their parking lots.
“These companies are heeding the call to make their operations ecofriendly and become climate resilient,” the minister said.
He highlighted that the Government is providing the necessary enabling policy framework which will act as a guide to Jamaican businesses, in terms of the development of their climate adaptation strategies.
“The Climate Change Policy Framework outlines the strategies that the country will employ to effectively respond to the impacts and challenges of climate change, through measures that are appropriate for varying scales and magnitude of the impacts. It is currently being updated to further align Jamaica's climate response with the Paris Agreement, as well as with developments within the international and regional climate arena,” the minister said.
“In addition, the Green Economy Investment Strategy for Jamaica is being developed and will be finalised this year. The Strategy promotes green investments as a part of the post-COVID-19 recovery and will support the National Investment Policy being developed by the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce,” he added.
The minister also took the opportunity to urge businesses to invest in the transition towards a green economy and the adaptation of climate-smart strategies that can transform entire industries toward climate resilience.
“The businesses that make decisive steps to invest and adapt to climate change today will gain the competitive advantage in the decades to come,” Charles Jr said.
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