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October 31, 2011
Business Partnership Supports Administration's Goals for Climate Change Adaptation
    by Robert Kropp

Calvert Investments and other companies form the Partnership for Resilience and Environmental Preparedness to support business cooperation in developing a national strategy for adapting to climate change.

Last week, the Obama administration's Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force released its progress report updating five key recommendations set forth in its 2010 report.

Envisioning "a resilient, healthy, and prosperous Nation in the face of a changing climate," the progress report addresses the following areas of progress by the government in adapting to climate change:

• Integrating Adaptation into Federal Government Planning and Activities
• Building Resilience to Climate Change in Communities
• Improving Accessibility and Coordination of Science for Decision Making
• Developing Strategies to Safeguard Natural Resources in a Changing Climate
• Enhancing Efforts to Lead and Support International Adaptation

The Task Force's 2010 report also specifically identified freshwater resources as an area in need of greater attention, and a N ational Action Plan for managing freshwater resources was also published last week, by the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

The Action Plan states as its goal, "Government agencies and citizens collaboratively manage freshwater resources in response to a changing climate in order to ensure adequate water supplies, to safeguard human life, health and property, and to protect water quality and aquatic ecosystems," and provides six recommendations for achieving the goal.

The goals include establishing a planning process, improving information, strengthening assessments, expanding efficiency, integrating management, and supporting training and outreach.

The Task Force's progress report further notes, "The private sector is also taking action to adapt to climate change. Investors are increasing pressure on firms, as evidenced by a record 101 shareholder resolutions in 2010 calling on North American companies to manage climate change risks."

Although the total number of environmental resolutions decreased slightly in 2011, shareowner support for them improved upon the record results of 2010, helped in large part by support from proxy advisory services such as ISS, which supported 70% of such resolutions this year. It wasn't too long ago that proxy advisory services automatically advised against voting in favor of environmental resolutions.

Responding to the progress report of the Task Force, a new partnership of businesses was formed to signal its support. The Partnership for Resilience and Environmental Preparedness (PREP) wrote in its Mission Statement, "Business…has a critical role to play in building climate preparedness in partnership with communities and decision-makers."

The goals of the one-year partnership include promoting practices and economic growth that help vulnerable communities and business adapt to the impacts of climate change, and promoting public policies that facilitate adaptation efforts.

The business practices advocated by PREP include avoiding business practices that might negatively affect vulnerable communities, and developing products and services to manage the physical impacts of climate change.

The charter members of PREP are Calvert Investments, Entergy, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Levi Strauss, Limited Brands, and Swiss Re. The partnership "signals a growing recognition among companies that the risks communities on the front lines of climate change face are also business risks," according to a press release.

Partners include Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and Ceres. Oxfam America serves as the secretariat.

"Investing in climate preparedness can create American jobs at home and spur exports abroad," said Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President for Sustainability Research and Policy at Calvert Investments. "We support efforts by the Administration to prepare for and respond to climate change impacts in vulnerable communities."


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