The results very much track my own concerns as a small, green business owner.
The Key Findings
The survey of 555 small businesses from June 2014 showed that:
- They are concerned about climate change. 87% of small businesses named one or more consequences of climate change as potentially harmful to their business, including higher energy costs, power outages, and rising health care costs.
- They think government regulation is needed. 64 % of the businesses believe government regulation is needed to reduce emissions from power plants. (Hence I applaud the new carbon rules from the EPA last month.)
- They know extreme weather is a threat. 53% of companies think extreme weather has, or will have, a negative impact on their businesses. One in five has already been hurt.
Small businesses know that climate change is a danger
As a small business in Florida, the concerns highlighted by the research are very real and very now. If the effects of climate change seem abstract to you, let me make it “realer” for you.
The climate risks to my business include:
- Losing electric power. If I lose power, I lose my laptop, my internet connection and my phone connection. That means my work for clients is interrupted.
Since I promise clients that I’m dependable – i.e. I’ll meet or beat their deadline – this is bad news. I am dependable, but if my power source isn’t, then suddenly I’m not either. I’ve never had a power interruption that affected a client. But I have started considering backup systems like a generator. That’s a big expense ($5,000 or more) for a small business.
- Flooding. I am far from the beach in miles. But Tampa Bay is very flat. A “perfect storm” that hits just right could push a LOT of water inland at the same time that torrential rains fall. An unlikely scenario? Perhaps. But that’s probably what the folks in the New York subway system thought just before the water from Hurricane Sandy started pouring into the tunnels under the city.
A prudent business has to prepare for possible risks, and that includes climate risks.
- Hurricane damage. High winds can do structural damage. My home office is in a relatively new house, and roofs are more wind-resistant than they used to be. But the frequency and intensity of storms has been increasing. I can’t assume the roof is strong enough for every storm.
Climate change threatens businesses of every size
So I’m happy to pass along ASBC’s research to a wider audience. From my perspective, it reflects the reality of climate change as a risk to my small business and millions more like it.
What do you think?