Several of my clients are facing issues in their businesses directly or indirectly related to climate change. Is this something I can build on as part of my practice?
As consultants, we are supposed to be a step or two ahead of our clients. Our ability to see emerging threats or opportunities is part of what makes us valuable. You are right that there are a lot of impacts on business generated from climate change and other natural phenomena. There are consulting firms that specifically focus on this but I recommend every consultant be conversant in how Mother Nature affects business. Regardless of your consulting discipline or industry, these issues will affect your clients and you don't want to be surprised when they start to affect your clients' bottom lines.
What are some of these impacts? For example, higher temperatures are increasing heating loads in office buildings, thus expenses. Changing weather patterns are already disrupting crop yields, changing demand for certain types of foods and recreation, and increasing the attractiveness of telecommuting. We are coming up on the eleven year solar max peak, which may start as early as late 2010, in which increased solar activity (expected to be the highest in 50 years) will disrupt radio, GPS and communication signals. These impacts of changing nature are also indirect, such as when a previously optimized supply chain needs to be totally reconfigured because carbon regulation makes offshoring less attractive than it was. Furthermore, consumer demand is also indirectly influenced by your client's perceived response to climate change, sustainability and resource stewardship.Tip:
Start to build a modest library of the concerns of business planners to climate change and their priorities for making decisions about responding. One example is Impact of Climate Change on Future Business Strategy
. Share this and others in your growing library with your clients and start a conversation about how you can help them. © 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA