Adaptation Reporting and Infrastructure Operators – sharing practical experience and promoting best practice

16:15 Tuesday 28 May


Room S5


Ross Lowrie (United Kingdom) 1; John Dora (United Kingdom) 2; Tim Hill (United Kingdom) 3; Amanda Crossfield (United Kingdom) 4; Peter O’Broin (United Kingdom) 5; Rachel Thompson (United Kingdom) 6

1 - Environment Agency, England; 2 - JDCL; 3 - Energy UK; 4 - Yorkshire Water; 5 - Airport Operators Authority; 6 - Gatwick Airport

Climate change is a risk that all organisations need to consider, and adapting to climate change will be essential to ensure they survive and thrive.

Infrastructure operators in particular must properly manage climate risks, given their dependence on physical assets and their role in providing essential services to citizens.

At its best, Adaptation Reporting should be a revelatory process, providing an opportunity for organisations that provide public services to explore their climate risks, manage them at a corporate level, and share approaches at a sectoral level. Early and effective adaptation can offer competitive advantage. Furthermore transparent reporting provides confidence to governments, stakeholders and shareholders that risks are well managed and adaptation is in hand.

At its worst Adaptation reporting could be repetitive, burdensome, costly and ineffective. Infrastructure operators already manage risks through other corporate risk management routes (including Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures) and being forced to report business risks and commercial approaches to managing them could result in competitive disadvantage.

How should governments, regulators and reporters ensure we get the best from Adaptation Reporting mechanisms?

  1. Mandatory vs voluntary reporting
  2. Individual organisations vs sector representative reporting
  3. Stand-alone reports vs integrated into corporate risk management
  4. Defined templates vs bespoke reporting
  5. National nvs regional reporting

This session explores the above questions, and seeks to learn and share in the experiences of those reporting authorities that have direct experience of a process of government-defined Adaptation Reporting. It is led by the UK’s Infrastructure Operators Adaptation Forum (IOAF), a non-statutory best practice sharing group that focuses on climate adaptation for organisations and institutions involved in operating infrastructure.

In the UK, under the Climate Change Act 2008, two reporting rounds have been completed and third round preparation is underway. Each round has provided different approaches and in this session we will hear from those reporting authorities, both public and private, that have submitted Adaptation Reports.

We intend a deeply practical and experience-driven session where the presenters will be practitioners who have contributed to reports. We will cover the reporting experience from a range of infrastructure operators, including those from the water, energy and transport sectors.

This conversation is all about extracting the most value from the Adaptation Reporting experience – where participants rather than governments explore what makes a positive and productive reporting process.

Target audience

This session will be of great interest to anyone with a role in climate risk and adaptation reporting, including:

  • reporting authorities and organisations – who want to share experiences and learn best practice
  • law & policymakers and regulators – who want to learn about the impact and value of government-defined climate risk reporting
  • academics – who can explore regulatory and governance approaches to risk management
  • consultants and advisors – who can contribute advisory experience and explore market opportunities

The product of this discussion will be beneficial for law-makers, public- and private-sector reporting organisations, academics and advisors.

Proposed format for the session

The session will be split into 3 sections chaired and facilitated by John Dora, international adaptation expert and chair of the UK Infrastructure Operators’ Adaptation Forum:

1. Four Presentations & Q&A, covering adaptation reporting experiences:

  • 10 mins – Adaptation Reporting Power – the UK experience
  • 10 mins – Water industry – including combining Adaptation Reports with other reporting mechanisms
  • 10 mins – Energy – including the role of sector representative bodies in reporting
  • 10 mins – Transport – including discussion about mandatory vs voluntary reporting

10 mins – Panel discussion

2. Two facilitated group discussions to debate and explore:

20 mins – the characteristics of an effective reporting system – the costs and benefits of each of the following.

  • Mandatory vs voluntary reporting
  • Individual organisations vs sector representative reporting
  • Defined templates vs bespoke reporting
  • National versus regional reporting and the role of cities and combined authorities

10 mins – the value and risks of integration with other corporate risk reporting mechanisms

3. One Feedback session

10 minutes – each group summarise discussion and share their recommendations for an effective reporting system

Contributing Authors abstracts

1. Ross Lowrie (Environment Agency, England)

In this introductory presentation we will explain the UK Adaptation Reporting experience from the perspective of a reporter and of a regulatory authority with an interest in a holistic view of the sectors that we regulate. In particular we will:

  • Explore the evolution of the Adaptation Reporting Power, as set out in the UK’s Climate Change Act 2008
  • Discuss the use of templates vs unconstrained reports

Discuss the extent to which Adaptation Reporting can and should overlap with other reporting mechanisms including Climate Related Financial Disclosures (CRFD).

2. Amanda Crossfield (Yorkshire Water)

Yorkshire Water is a regulated water and sewerage company with a statutory duty to provide customers with high quality drinking water and to collect, treat and return their waste water safely to the environment. We recognise that we offer an essential public health service, as well as being custodians of the natural environment, and operators of essential infrastructure. These roles are highly dependent on weather and climate.

This session will explore how infrastructure operators can align reporting with business plans and share a water company experience of reporting.

3. Tim Hill (Uniper Energy on behalf of Energy UK)

Energy UK is the trade association for the energy industry with a membership of over 100 suppliers, generators, and stakeholders with a business interest in the production and supply of electricity and gas. Energy UK represents the diverse nature of the UK’s energy industry – turning renewable energy sources as well as nuclear, gas and coal into electricity for over 27 million homes and every business in Britain. The energy industry invests over £12.5bn annually, delivers around £84bn in economic activity through its supply chain and interaction with other sectors, and pays £6bn in tax to UK Government.

In the first round of Adaptation Reporting, nine UK electricity generators were directed to report on how they were assessing and reporting on climate risks, whereas in the second round Energy UK agreed to produce a summary report on behalf of the electricity generating sector. Thus the energy generating sector is ideally placed to compare and contrast experiences of both individual and sector representative approaches, and of voluntary versus mandatory reporting.

4. Peter O’Broin (Airport Operators Authority)

The AOA’s members include over 50 airports and more than 150 Associate Members, made up of companies representing a wide range of suppliers in the aviation industry. Working on behalf of these members, the AOA’s mission is to influence governments, regulators and opinion formers at national and international level.

AOA will explain the airport sectors experience of reporting, including exploring the benefits and opportunities for incorporating climate risk management into other business planning processes.

UK airports are committed to regularly reviewing progress in climate change science, and the risks and opportunities that climate change poses to airport operations, with different challenges facing different airports (dependent on their size, location, and landscape surrounding their aerodrome).

The outcomes of adaptation planning feeds into the development of the business plan for airports, including investment plans and helps airports prepare for any future response that may be required by Government.