Standards on climate change adaptation: a new opportunity for businesses and services

16:15 Wednesday 29 May


Room S13


Clemens Haße (Germany) 1; Céline Phillips (France) 4; Sarah Duff (United Kingdom)5; John Dora (United Kingdom) 3; Doogie Black (United Kingdom) 2; Beate Hollweg (Germany) 1

1 - German Environment Agency (UBA); 2 - Trioss Ltd.; 3 - John Dora Consulting Ltd; 4 - Environment & Energy Management Agency (ADEME); 5 - European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

A suite of Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) ‘Standards’ at industry, national, European, and international levels will be launched in the very near future (beginning 2019). This session brings together four of the leading experts involved in their development.

Until recently, the potential role of ‘standards’ in promoting, guiding and scaling action on CC adaptation has remained predominantly untapped. The impact that standards could have in accelerating meaningful action across businesses and services globally can be immense. Many businesses and service providers will already be able to name numerous standards that have influenced their work. CCA Standards can improve the management of climate change risks and opportunities, ensuring climate change resilience is embedded within activities, products and services. They can also play a critical role in accessing finance, in selecting suppliers, in attracting customers, in reassuring shareholders and service users, and in maintaining a high reputation.

The session will open with a ‘scene-setting’ presentation by a leading finance institution, who will define the market drivers for CCA Standards and why they will be so important to the finance community and their relationship with the business community.

There will be presentation on the standards and guidance documents currently under development at ISO, the International Organization for Standardization as well as CEN, the European Committee for Standardization. And we will introduce a more demand driven perspective on user needs ranging from multilateral investment bank to national governments.

Target audience

This session is targeted towards people who are interested in bringing good adaptation decision-making into all kinds of businesses and systems of organisations (e.g. industries, sectors, supply chains, geographical areas). It will be of particular interest to those who would like to understand more about the role and value of CCA standards. The session will also be valuable to those who wish to understand how approaches that are designed to merge applied science with adaptive management approaches can be standardised. It will also be of interest to people who wish to know more about how to embed climate change adaptation within existing standards (e.g. infrastructure standards)

Proposed format for the session

Mixed session with 3-5 presentations each with Q&A, followed by a panel discussion.

Contributing Authors abstracts

Chair and moderation: Céline Phillips, Environment & Energy Management Agency (France)

1. Sarah Duff, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Member of the European Financing Institutions Working Group on Adaptation to Climate Change

Standards, and their role in improving the climate resilience of infrastructure investments

The 2015 Paris Agreement sets a high level of ambition for scaling up financing that supports progress towards climate-resilient development pathways. This implies that financing for infrastructure and other long-lived assets will have to be provided in a way that takes into account projected future climate conditions – and the inherent uncertainties – over their long lifespans, and which ensures that such assets are designed, built and managed in a way that makes them more resilient to the projected impacts of climate change. Financial institutions are therefore interested in scaling up the quantity and quality of their climate resilience investments, in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. They are interested in the potential role of emerging norms and standards related to climate resilience in helping to scale up climate resilience financing, for example by defining and disseminating best practices on climate resilience across the market, and by reducing the transaction costs associated with integrating climate resilience into investment preparation and execution. Financial institutions are keen to understand how the application of such standards may allow investors to commission investments knowing that the climate resilience issues will be adequately addressed.

The purpose of this presentation is to explore how international and European standards related to climate resilience may be able to contribute towards this vision, with investors mandating their use upon borrowers who then will be required to demonstrate compliance

2. John Dora, John Dora Consulting Limited (United Kingdom) Convenor of ISO working group on principles, requirements and guidelines for adaptation.

How standards could help to make better decisions in adaptation

ISO 14090 Adaptation to climate change – Principles, requirements and guidelines, is the first international standard on adaptation, published in May 2019. This presentation aims to show how its use is fundamental to mainstreaming adaptation – making adaptation ‘business as usual’. It will show how climate change is already impacting organizations and will continue to do so for decades, and how this makes climate change adaptation all the more important, with reference to the Paris Agreement’s global adaptation goal.

Climate change impacts can be direct or indirect and can take various forms, such as physical, financial, regulatory or reputational; climate change adaptation has a very broad scope. ISO 14090 will enable organizations to prioritize and develop adaptation tailored to the specific challenges they face. Its main purpose is to provide organizations with a consistent, structured and pragmatic approach to prevent or minimise the harm that climate change could cause and to take advantage of opportunities. However application of this standard is intended to be alongside other organizational priorities, carrying out all climate change adaptation activities in parallel, or integrated, with climate change mitigation activities and other business priorities.

3. Clemens Haße, Federal Environment Agency (Germany) Member of the ISO working group on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment

On the way for a standard on vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment

ISO 14091 ‘Adaptation to Climate Change – Vulnerability, impacts and risk assessment’ is expected to be the second publication in the family of adaptation standards by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization. It will provided guidance for assessing the risks related to the impacts of climate change. It describes how to understand vulnerability and how to develop and implement a sound risk assessment and is applicable for assessing both present and future climate change risks. This International Standard is applicable to any organization, regardless of size, type and nature. It serves to direct their efforts in enhancing climate change adaptation and guides on identifying priorities for climate change adaptation actions. It is expected to be published in early 2020 as full ISO Standard and in parallel as European Standard (CEN).

4. Doogie Black, Trioss Ltd (United Kingdom), Project on European climate change resilient standards

Making existing European infrastructure standards climate change resilient

In 2014 the European Commission requested the European standard’s body CEN/CENELEC to ‘contribute to building and maintaining a more climate resilient infrastructure throughout the EU by examining standards in priority sectors’. Rising to the challenge, CEN/CENELEC set about identifying priority infrastructure standards to explore how they could be made more climate change resilient. The priority sectors identified are: Transport infrastructure; Energy infrastructure; Buildings / construction; and Telecommunications and ICT.

Phase 2 of this work began in May 2018 (and will complete in 2021) and is the main focus of this presentation. It will cover how we are working with the technical committees to embed climate change resilience with each of the 13 priority standards. Key to this, is the production of a ‘Guide for the implementation of climate projections and their uncertainties in infrastructure standards’. This guide will be targeted at technical committees of all infrastructure standards who may need to embed CCA within them. The guidance will still be being piloting by the time of this presentation, but there will be much learning to share and many insights to explore. The guidance is already in advanced draft.

5. Beate Hollweg, Federal Environment Agency (Germany), Member of the ISO working group on investments and financing activities related to climate change

Assessing and reporting investments and financing activities regarding climate change risks

Climate change creates ‘physical risks and opportunities’ in the real economy, which affect the risk profile of the related financial assets. The magnitude of these consequences will increase if the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement are not achieved. As a response, financial organizations have started to assess their exposure to transition and physical risks and opportunities, especially on the long-term. Their supervisory authorities have also started to address the potential implications for financial stability and investors’ protection. In order to harmonize these approaches, and ensure consistency and effectiveness, there is a need for the development of an international standard on assessment, management and disclosure.

Multiple activities can have an impact on climate or contribute to the mitigation of climate-related financial risks. The standard primarily focuses on the role of equity and debt, and is applicable to various activities within the financial sector.

The ISO-Standard 14097 currently under development will provide guidance on risk management to physical risks. Due to the development in the European Union this work will be parallelized with the legislative proposals of the EU Commission from May, the 24th of 2018 not only related to the schedule but also related to the principles and general guidance to manage physical risks.