All posts in Environment

How spinach shortage reminds us of mounting consequences of climate change

It’s enough to make Popeye give up all hope of winning Olive Oyl’s heart. With Spain’s spinach crops nearly wiped out due to heavy rains and retailers unable to maintain their stocks, could this be the superfood crisis that leads consumers to wake up to the increasing effects of climate change in their day-to-day regimes? At the same time, could these be a great green reminder to businesses and investors of the extent of weather risks in their portfolios? Whether you take them canned like Popeye or in a smoothie like Deliciously Ella, spinach may be bringing attention to the weather risks and mitigation strategies managers need to consider today.

“I’m strong to the finish, ‘cause I eats me spinach,” famously sang Popeye the Sailor Man. Romantics and comic book enthusiasts everywhere may shudder at the idea of Popeye losing out on his one true love, Olive Oyl, due to a spinach shortage. Not to mention the millions of New Year’s Resolutions foiled by grocery stores not being stocked with the makings of a good green smoothie. Yet, this January, this is exactly the predicament facing British health fiends and Popeye wannabes, as the nation relies on Spain for 80 per cent of its spinach supply during winter months.

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Small and young businesses disproportionately bear the costs of climate change

baby

Report provides eye-opening new insights into the demographics of commercial victims of climate change. Young firms, which comprise not only the lifeblood of many communities but are central to national economies, do not insure against what they consider to be less frequent, extreme events, and are therefore, disproportionately bearing the costs of the vagaries of weather resulting from climate change.

With the frequency and severity of extreme weather events and unseasonal weather increasing as a result of climate change, Weather & Economics has reported on the far-reaching effects to a wide range of sectors, including agriculture (particularly for farmers of citrus fruits, avocadoes, cocoa, viticulture, and cereals) as well as for the sectors of finance, sporting events, travel, transport, automobile parts, fashion and apparel, construction, food and beverages, and snow removal, to name but a few.

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The Paris climate agreement is ratified – What does this mean for businesses?

CEO in jail

On the heels of the entry into force of the historic Paris agreement on climate change, a legal opinion declares that directors who don’t properly consider the material impacts of climate change on their business risk personal liability for breach of duty. With this, business leaders are inexorably confronted with the need to consider climate change and sustainability risks for their companies, and to price, mitigate, and manage them accordingly. Is your business ready to bring climate change and sustainability to the board?

This past month the world celebrated the ratification of the historic Paris climate change agreement, years sooner than expected, particularly given that is the single largest piece of climate change legislation ever enacted. The agreement, signed by 196 attending parties, achieves a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels. It was the outcome of the 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Paris from 30 November to 12 December 2015.

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The healthiest cereals are laden with cancer-causing chemicals

The unexpected role of the insurance industry in reducing harmful chemicals in the food supply

muesli packs

Raw rolled oats and grains, fruits, seeds or nuts… On the face of it, muesli is the ultimate healthy breakfast choice, enough to make one positively smug about one’s clean living. But take a closer look, and that Instagram-worthy dish may in fact be a lethal cocktail of cancer-causing endocrine disruptors, no matter that the box guarantees 100% natural ingredients. In the fight to safeguard your health, could it be that risk managers are the unlikely champions that agri-business needs to safeguard your health?

According to a recent study, the majority of (non-organic) packaged muesli cereals, touted for being high fibre, low calorie and rich in antioxidants, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, are far from being the healthy start to the day they claim to be. Rather, the French environmental group “Generations Futures”, recently conducted a study of popular muesli cereals sold at supermarkets under reputable brand names to ascertain whether they contained any traces of chemic products. Taking 15 non-organic and 5 organic muesli cereals to their laboratory, the results were shocking: 100% of non-organic muesli samples contained pesticide residuals.

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