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How Can Climate Literacy Help Build Sustainable Businesses?

A guest column from Earthena on the value of climate literacy in helping businesses achieve decarbonisation goals
Reviewed by Rob Boyle
Last updated:
Climate Literacy Thumbnail Image
How Can Climate Literacy Help Build Sustainable Businesses?
A guest column from Earthena on the value of climate literacy in helping businesses achieve decarbonisation goals
Reviewed by Rob Boyle
Last updated:
Climate Literacy Thumbnail Image
How Can Climate Literacy Help Build Sustainable Businesses?
A guest column from Earthena on the value of climate literacy in helping businesses achieve decarbonisation goals
Reviewed by Rob Boyle
Last updated:

With net zero targets set and a decarbonisation strategy in place, we may believe our businesses won’t come face to face with climate change.

Some may even feel that if carbon reduction is achieved, we can stop worrying about climate risk.

However, while reaching net zero is absolutely necessary for stabilising our future climate, this view is blinkered and doesn’t mitigate the physical climate impacts we are increasingly experiencing now.

Climate change is already here – with exhausting heat, extreme flooding and widespread wildfires creating challenging conditions across the globe.

So, what does this mean for businesses?

Urgent action that is both targeted and holistic is required. This is no small task. Climate science and climate risk are complex and vast subject areas. Moreover, climate data is often fragmented and difficult to understand and manage.

Therefore, supporting climate change education within your organisation is a hugely valuable step in working towards solutions. Increasing climate literacy gives teams the knowledge and understanding to take informed action where it matters most.

Screenshot of Earthena's software showing climate risk forecasts
Earthena’s software allows businesses to model potential climate risks

In fact, climate literacy training is a great investment for a business, as it supports teams to have the conversations that lead not only to risk mitigation, but also to value creation through adaptation opportunities.

In this article, we’ll learn:

  • What is climate literacy?
  • Why do teams need climate literacy?
  • How to develop a climate-literate team
  • Why should opportunity factor into climate conversations?
  • Where do we go from here?

What is climate literacy?

Climate literacy involves gaining a broad understanding of climate risk (and opportunity!) and of what climate crisis means for your organisation’s daily operations.

Individuals with good climate literacy will understand the many nuances of climate solutions. With a high level of climate literacy in your workforce, your team can have effective cross-department conversations, leading to strategic activity that considers all areas of organisational operations.

This not only identifies and mitigates climate-related risks but also allows for the development of climate-related opportunities, such as investment in green technologies and renewable energy or attracting the growing eco-conscious consumer base.

Without a deep and informed understanding of climate change across your organisation, action will be siloed and sustainability investment will be less effective.

Why do teams need climate literacy?

As we touched on previously, net-zero targets and decarbonisation strategies are everywhere, and with good reason – they are a step towards acknowledging and engaging with climate change.

However, the climate risk spectrum is much bigger than carbon accounting, including physical risks, the costs of transitioning to green energy, and the value of natural capital.

An isolated awareness of climate change is no longer enough. Regulatory bodies, such as the IFRS and CSRD, are now asking businesses to report on their climate strategies from a double materiality perspective.

This means acknowledging both the climate’s impact on your company and your company’s impact on the climate.

With deadlines for these frameworks fast approaching, it is vital that teams not only understand the climate needed to meet their stringent legal requirements but can also go far beyond reporting to optimise an organisation for the many competitive advantages that are emerging in the global shift towards a climate economy.

How to develop a climate-literate team

To establish a high level of climate literacy in your organisation, it is important to support employees from all departments to access trusted and quality sources of information.

Excellent courses are available from providers such as ECMWF and The Carbon Literacy Project.

To develop applicable knowledge, it is particularly beneficial if this climate information is in the context your employees know best (their own!). This is why Earthena’s climate intelligence platform integrates an AI Co-Pilot that can provide educational support and source material right alongside business relevant data.

Why should opportunity factor into climate conversations?

When discussing climate, the focus is often on reacting to climate-related risks.

  • Understanding risk is essential, but it does not paint a full picture of how climate interacts with businesses.
  • Including value-creation opportunities in discussions changes the focus from reactive to proactive, resulting in an optimistic conversation that will generate the enthusiasm needed to put climate at the top of enterprise priorities.

Without recognition of opportunity, climate can become a tick box exercise.

Iggy Bassi, Earthena Co-founder & CEO, believes that focusing only on the three ‘R’s of climate change in business – regulation, reputation, and risk – misses the mark.

With a climate business plan focusing on value-creation, you can tackle these core requirements while unlocking competitive advantage.

Ultimately, a good level of climate literacy that promotes an understanding of opportunity will help prevent climate fatigue and eco-anxiety from stalling decision-making and will provide teams with an empowering and holistic view of all dimensions of climate change.

Where do we go from here?

In this article we have identified the need for urgent climate action supported by both effective risk mitigation and recognition of climate opportunity by our teams.

Additionally, as enterprises begin to understand climate and the need for financial material data, we can see a nascent climate tech talent sector developing.

With this in mind, there aren’t enough climate-literate people with the skills to bridge the academic and technical gap required to bring materially-relevant climate insights to enterprises.

Solutions such as Earthena’s QuantEarthTM engine can support your team to achieve an excellent level of climate literacy, translating climate data into financially-quantified insights and integrating climate into the core of business decision making.

About Earthena

At Earthena, we recognize that businesses are facing a multitude of challenges under a changing climate – increasingly severe physical impacts, exacerbated by novel transitional risks and a shifting regulatory landscape. As a result there is a pressing need to translate complex climate data into actionable financial insights. Earthena is pioneering generative AI for climate value analytics, switching the focus from data-heavy climate risk management to material value creation within a global climate economy. 

The new global climate economy demands strategic growth. Our QuantEarth™ engine guides businesses towards sustainable growth by unifying their climate and financial data, driving material evaluation of climate-related risks, and identifying actionable opportunities for value creation. QuantEarth™ integrates peer-reviewed data into its growing library of flexible climate models, providing businesses with a seamless internal source for trusted climate intelligent insights and custom Climate Financial Statements (CFS). The built-in Co-Pilot leverages generative AI to enhance the usability of insights across enterprises, fostering rapid and scalable growth tailored to your business.

Join us in paving the way for a new era of climate value analytics and discover how AI powered decision intelligence can add confidence to your enterprise strategy by getting in touch with us today

Learn more about Earthena

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Ruth Shorten
Ruth is a recent graduate building research experience in climate science and environmental economics. She is particularly interested in the value of nature to society, and the decision-making behind green policy at both a local and national scale. Ruth focused her degree studies on human-nature connectedness and pro-environmental behaviour, and she hopes her career will be a part of the UK's progress towards a future of more sustainable choices.

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