Polish Government moves to protect its key cities from climate risks

24 January 2017 Consultancy.uk
The Polish Government, to head off the worst effects of climate change on its cities, has contracted a consortium of organisations to support its 44 largest cities prepare by, among others, creating adaption and mitigation plans and supporting their implementation. Arcadis will take part in the consortium, winning a €5.8 million two year contract.
Governments and local authorities globally, in the face of risks associated with a changing climate becoming more tangible, are seeking solutions to safe guard the long-term prosperity of their people and their livelihoods from instability.
The Polish Government, as part of its wider efforts to curb and mitigate the effects of climate change, has brought together a consortium of organisations, including the National Research Institute of Environmental Protection, the National Research Institute of Meteorology and Water Management, the Institute of Ecology in Industrialized Areas and sustainability consultancy firm Arcadis, to develop plans to mitigate damage from severe weather to its larger cities.

Polish Government moves to protect its key cities from climate risks

The consortium will work with 44 cities, whose populations are each above 100,000. These cities house around 30% of the country’s population and generate around 50% of its GDP. To safeguard the cities, the consortium will work together to identify and analyse the kinds of adaption and mitigation challenges each city may face, draft a host of plans which require local authorities to meet the challenges, indicate sources of funding and raise awareness for the need of adaptation.

The contract is worth €5.8 million to Arcadis and is scheduled to take two years to complete.

Anna Rusek, Director of the Environment and Water Divisions at Arcadis in Poland, comments, “The Plans for Adaptation to Climate Change in Urban Areas are the largest effort of adaptation to climate change in Europe to date. We are proud to have been selected for such a crucial project. We are convinced that the seamless collaboration of Arcadis with its consortium partners will enable us to develop solutions which will contribute to improved resilience of urban areas and to the better protection of their inhabitants from negative consequences of climate change.”

Pawel Salek, Deputy Minister of Environment and the Government’s Climate Policy Representative, remarks about the contract, “Cities are particularly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The Plans for Adaptation to Climate Change in Urban Areas aim at make cities more resilient and at adapting them to the changing environment.”

Consulting rival Ramboll too has been called in to support cities meet climate risks, including San Francisco and New York.


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Private equity firms ramp up sustainability focus

19 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

In line with business leaders across the industrial gamut, private equity firms are increasingly on board with sustainability projects. According to a new study, the investment arms for major funds are implementing a number of strategies aimed at supporting sustainable economic development in line with global goals.

While the business world has finally begun to acknowledge the danger of climate change, effective action plans remain difficult to achieve. The Paris Agreement has stipulated a clear target for the decades leading up to 2100, although massively reducing emissions while not crashing the economy could be a tall order.

Businesses that are able to acquire capital can use it to boost productivity and output, thereby creating a virtuous cycle of development. However, some businesses are better able to utilise resources than others, both in terms of their relative productivity, as well as the value of the respective outcomes relative to costs (including environmental harms). Financing can therefore provide an avenue to select businesses that are aligned with various global sustainability goals, while shunning those that drive little or unsustainable social value creation.

Top moves made by investment arms towards responsible investment

Profit has for the longest time been the central criterion for investment decisions. Yet profit at any cost is increasingly seen as creating considerable social harms, while often delivering only marginal value. As a result, the private equity sector, which was initially sluggish to change its ways with regards to sustainability, has started to see the topic as an opportunity as much as a challenge.

A new study from PwC has explored how far sustainability goals have become part of the wider investment strategy for private equity (PE) firms. The report is based on analysis of a survey of 162 firms and includes responses from 145 general partners and 38 limited partners.

Maturing sustainability

Top-line results show that responsible investment has become an issue for 91% of respondents. For 81% of respondents, ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance) was a board matter at least once a year, while 60% said that they already have implemented measures to address human rights issues. Two-thirds have identified and prioritised Sustainable Development goals that are relevant to their investment segments.

Change in concern and action on climate-related topics over time

While there is increasing concern around key issues, from human rights protections to environmental and biodiversity protection, the study finds there are mismatches between concern and action. For instance, concern among investment vehicles around climate change has increased since 2016.

In terms of risks to the PE firm itself, concern has increased from 46% of respondents in 2016 to 58% in the latest survey. However, the number who have taken action remains far below those concerned, at 9% in 2016 and 20% in 2019. Given the relatively broader scope of investment opportunities, portfolio companies face higher risks – and more concern – from PE professionals, at 83% in the latest survey. However, action is less than half of those concerned, at 31%.

Changing climate

In terms of the climate footprint of the portfolio companies, 77% of respondents state concern in the latest survey. 28% of respondents are taking action through the implementation of measures to mitigate their concerns.

Concern and action taken on ESG issues

In terms of the more pressing issues for emerging responsible investment or ESG issues, governance concern of portfolio companies comes in at number one (92% of respondents), while 60% have taken action on it. Firms have focused on improving awareness – setting up policies and a range of training modules for their professionals around responsible investment decision making. Cybersecurity takes the number two spot, with 89% concerned and 41% implementing strategies to mitigate risks.

Climate risks take the number three spot in terms of concern for portfolio companies (83%), but falls behind in terms of action (31%). Health and safety track records are a key concern at 80% of businesses, with 49% implementing action. Gender imbalance within PE firms themselves ranks at 78%, which is being dealt with by 31%. A recent survey from Oliver Wyman showed that there is gender balance at 13% of GP teams in developed countries.

Biodiversity is also an increasingly pertinent topic, with risks from pollution and chemical use increasingly driving wider systematic risks around environmental outcomes. It featured at number eight on the ranking of most likely global risks for the coming decade, with its impact at number six. As it stands, biodiversity is noted as an issue at 57% of firms, with 15% implementing action.