Press Release

Climate change and adaptation experts detail strategies in preparing for climate-related hazards and disasters.

June 25, 2015

(June 25 — San Francisco) The growing intensity and frequency of severe storms, flooding and storm surges, extreme temperature events, droughts, firestorms, and sea-level rise on every continent have had major impacts on global populations and infrastructure. Over the past 20 years, these natural hazards have demonstrated a widespread lack of business preparedness and limited ability to respond to threats to business assets, operations, raw materials, power and water supplies, supply chains — and ultimately, economic viability. According to the United Nations (UN), “The annual cost of disasters worldwide has reached US $250-300 billion; and every dollar invested in disaster preparedness saves seven dollars in disaster aftermath.”

The new AECOM publication, Becoming Climate Resilient, makes a clear business case for companies to better understand the potential impacts of climate change, and helps them plan and make strategic investments to become more climate resilient. While historic weather data was once a key element in long-term business planning, businesses today must make decisions based on entirely new climate norms and much more extensive climate-related impacts. However, with an understanding of its climate-related risk profile and a plan for integrating resilience into existing business processes, companies can mitigate impacts and recover much more quickly from hazards and disasters.

Co-authored by AECOM global lead for climate adaptation and resilience, Michael Nolan, and Ben Smith, director of sustainable development, Becoming Climate Resilient details leading business drivers for resiliency and case studies from forward-thinking companies. It identifies major risks to business sectors including manufacturing, retail, property, energy, utilities and agriculture, and concludes by introducing a self-assessment tool and a six-step process for building corporate resiliency.

The guide has a foreword by Margareta Wahlstrom special UN representative for Disaster Risk Reduction, and Dr. Peter Williams, chief technology officer, Big Green Innovations at IBM. In debuting the guide, Dale Sands, AECOM SVP and technology & practice lead noted, “Climate resilient businesses establish strategies and invest to protect people, profit, assets and operations. They are much better equipped to respond to disasters and ensure their business survive and prosper in the aftermath.”

AECOM is working major programs to develop a better understanding of the risks climate-related disasters pose. The firm developed the UN’s Disaster Resilience Scorecard with IBM; is helping to deliver R!SE, which aims to make investments risk-sensitive; and is supporting the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities. AECOM senior vice president and global technology and  practice leader, Dale Sands, is serving as vice chair of the UN Private Sector Partnership, an industrial consortium of 100 companies who consult to the UN on disaster risk reduction.  AECOM has completed over 200 climate adaptation and resilience projects for public and private clients worldwide.


AECOM is a premier, fully integrated professional and technical services firm positioned to design, build, finance and operate infrastructure assets around the world for public- and private-sector clients. With nearly 100,000 employees serving clients in 150 countries, AECOM is the #1 engineering design firm in Engineering News-Record, and has been recognized in Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Compan…