Ernst & Young Report Addresses Business Risks and Rewards Posed by Climate Change

September 28, 2010

Leading businesses are responding to the challenges and opportunities resulting from climate change, according to the fall 2008 edition of Cleantech Matters issued today by Ernst & Young LLP. The report, entitled "Climate Change Opportunity and Risk," examines strategic risk with thought provoking interviews, case studies and a special section on the green building industry.
"Forward-thinking businesses can gain a strategic advantage when they incorporate climate change into their analysis of the extended risk universe, which range from operational and strategic risks to finance and compliance," says Joseph Muscat, Ernst & Young's Americas Director of Cleantech and Venture Capital. "This issue of Cleantech Matters identifies how companies can manage their risks to work to a company's advantage."
This report features a global study of today's top 10 strategic business risks, which includes "radical greening," the increasing corporate environmental initiatives resulting from social, economic and regulatory pressure. The report illustrates how climate change-related threats fit into the risk universe of six major industries.
Ernst & Young also interviewed Paul Dickinson, co-founder and CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), an independent non-profit organization that publishes voluntary corporate reporting of carbon emissions data, requesting this information from businesses on behalf of 385 institutional investors with assets of $57 trillion under management. Dickinson also sheds light on emissions reporting trends, how investors use the CDP data to make investment decisions and why even small companies can benefit from addressing climate change.
The report also contains a special section on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System(TM) includes an article by Katherine Hammack from Ernst & Young's tax and LEED advisory group. Hammack explains the real business opportunities resulting from this program and how it links to both financial and non-financial incentives, such as tax credits, tax deductions, utility rebates, lower insurance premiums and increased sales and rental price.
The green building section also highlights future developments to LEED, which is a result of global demand for this certification. According to the US Green Building Council, almost 13,000 projects - in all 50 US states and 69 countries - have registered for LEED certification since the program started in 1998 and continued growth is expected. The report also features case studies on the Palazzo - the largest LEED certified building in the world - and Masdar - the world's first zero-carbon city in the desert of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
"Growing consumer demand, corporate sustainability initiatives and government incentives are driving the booming green building segment, which in many ways, is consistent with the popularity of LEED," explains Muscat.
Finally, the report also looks at how Ernst & Young itself is seizing opportunities and mitigating its environmental footprint in an interview with Leisha John, Ernst & Young's Americas Director of Environmental Sustainability, who notes in the interview "we have an obligation to operate in a manner that minimizes the impact of our business operations on the environment."
The fall issue of Cleantech Matters can be downloaded from the Ernst & Young website: