Corporate security and the climate crisis

How to adapt security and risk management policies - including IT security - to deal with climate change.

Seven Dimensions of Risk

This planetary and national security issue has inescapable consequences for the captains of industry and their stockholders; it is a threat that requires proactive and preparatory efforts by business leaders and security professionals.

There are three big questions to answer in regard to what the Climate Crisis means in terms of business risks and corporate security:

  • What do C-Level Executives need to know about the Climate Crisis as a security issue for the businesses they direct?
  • What do security professionals need to know about the Climate Crisis as a security issue for the businesses they protect?
  • What do Board of Directors members need to know about the Climate Crisis as a security issue for the businesses they oversee?

To develop some actionable answers to these tough questions, I brainstormed with some people of vision and depth of experience, including Regina Phelps, CEO of EMS Solutions. Phelps is a world-class business continuity, disaster recovery and crisis management expert, and has traveled from Antarctica to Mongolia (and most major metropolitan areas in between) helping corporate leaders get their minds around this issue.

She cites seven dimensions of corporate risk related to the Climate Crisis.

The obvious one is "Physical Risk," of course, i.e., extreme weather.

As I write this story, grim news from the Gulf Coast served as a poignant backdrop: "Galveston stopped allowing residents to enter the city ravaged by Hurricane Ike, now layered in mud and debris without power, water or sewers." (Bloomberg, 9-17-08) It was only three years ago that Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. That's two US cities in three years, and further evidence of an emerging trend.

According to Munich Re, the world's insurance industry faced US$75 billion of losses from natural catastrophes" (50 percent higher than the previous year) and "the number of natural catastrophes tallied 950 this year, up from 850 in 2006 and the highest figure since 1974," when the group began tracking the information. (MarketWatch, 12-27-08)

Tags corporate issues

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