Climate Change Is Affecting Businesses Worldwide, and Cynthia Telles Notes They Are Taking Action

LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / October 18, 2019 / The terrible wildfires in California this past week are another reminder of the growing effects we are seeing from global climate change. Effective mitigation of climate change will require all parts of our economy and society to take broad, coordinated action. “Every one of us has a role to play in reducing our impact on climate change, and increasingly, the world’s largest companies are stepping up with concrete actions,” said Dr. Cynthia Telles, chair of the Community Health Committee for Kaiser Permanente and director of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence.

Climate scientists tell us that our planet faces potentially devastating effects from climate change in the coming decades, many of which we are already experiencing. A recent global survey of 300 of the world’s largest multinational businesses revealed several ways that global businesses are already weathering climate impacts. From increased wildfires to supply chain impacts and business operation disruptions, climate change is affecting businesses across the planet.

This new research highlights the important role businesses can and are playing in the worldwide effort to address climate change. Titled “Towards Net Zero: How business is rising to the challenge”, this survey confirms the widespread understanding that sustainable corporate practices are not only critical to the health of the planet, but also make good business sense.

The survey was authored by Newsweek and underwritten in part by Kaiser Permanente, where Dr. Telles serves on the board. It is based on an anonymous survey of more than 300 senior executives from companies around the world with annual earnings of more than $500 million. Among the top findings:

  • Nearly three-quarters (72%) of companies surveyed indicated that climate change has impacted their supply chains.
  • Two-thirds (66%) have experienced climate-related disruptions to their own operations in the past year.
  • Of the three-quarters of companies with “net zero” carbon emissions goals, more than 8 in 10 (82%) expect to receive a return on their investments to accomplish that goal within an average of 6 years.
  • Renewable energy investments top the list of the actions being taken to meet “net-zero” goals, with 82% of companies calling those their top priority. Businesses are increasingly investing directly in new energy through power purchase agreements with renewable and alternative power producers.
  • Extending the reach of this approach, more than 60% of businesses said they also plan to require their major suppliers to invest in renewable energy.

“While the ongoing and increasingly harmful effects of climate change are deeply distressing, the concrete and creative actions being taken by businesses around the world can give us a bit of hope that we are not giving up the fight,” said Dr. Telles. “I’m encouraged by this survey and proud of the work that Kaiser Permanente has been doing for more than a decade to achieve net zero carbon emissions.”

Dr. Telles notes that Kaiser Permanente is well on its way to achieving its goal of being carbon neutral in 2020. The health care organization announced some of its key actions at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco last fall, where it identified climate change as an urgent health issue.

The businesses included in the survey came from manufacturing, consumer goods, technology, food and agriculture, transportation, and health care sectors. For more information, read the full report.

For more information, please reach out to John Nelson at John.E.Nelson@kp.org.

SOURCE: Kaiser Permanente

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