Mon | Oct 25, 2021

Growth & Jobs | Climate resilience framework developed to enhance private sector bottom line

Published:Tuesday | September 14, 2021 | 12:06 AM
Taneque Heslop, project coordinator of the GCF Grant at the Climate Change Division.
Taneque Heslop, project coordinator of the GCF Grant at the Climate Change Division.
Suzanne Shaw, Director of The Leap Company (Leap).
Suzanne Shaw, Director of The Leap Company (Leap).

JAMAICA HAS developed a Climate Resilience Assessment Framework, which will enhance climate-related risk management, climate responsibility, and financial good governance of Jamaican small and medium enterprises.

The framework was developed with financial support from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Readiness Progamme at the Climate Change Division (CCD) of the Ministry of Housing, Urban Renewal, Environment and Climate in collaboration with The Leap Company, a Jamaica-based sustainable business advisory firm.

Taneque Heslop, project coordinator of the GCF Grant at the CCD, said the framework was developed as a key step to mobilise Jamaica’s private sector towards low carbon and climate-resilient development.

“In 2020, the CCD met with The Leap Company and saw congruence between Leap’s vision for private-sector engagement on climate change and CCD’s strategy and action plan emanating from a 2019 regional scoping study, which assessed barriers to private-sector investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation,” she explained.

“Through this GCF grant, the ministry has been working to increase private-sector awareness of climate-change risks, however, there remain gaps with respect to businesses’ capacity to identify, assess, and manage climate-related risks, and even moreso, climate-related opportunities,” she added.

Suzanne Shaw, director of The Leap Company (Leap), said Leap felt it necessary and timely to develop a tool to facilitate climate-resilient business practice.

“Jamaica’s situation as a small-island developing state means businesses must be equipped to understand and manage the business-relevant risks and opportunities presented by climate change if they are to survive and prosper. The data show that businesses that incorporate climate-related risks and act to lower their carbon footprint experience higher returns and attract new investors. The climate resilience assessment framework (CRAF) is the tool that has emerged as a result, with a directive from the CCD – it gives SMEs a tangible means to understand and assess their climate-related risks, new opportunities opening up to them, and approaches to mainstreaming climate change within the business model, which is vital given the increasingly climate-change-driven regulatory and business environment,” she said.

Leap adopted a participatory process to develop the climate resilience assessment framework, involving representatives from a subset of Jamaican SMEs to form a Technical Advisory Group. A 10-member advisory group supported the process of CRAF development, ensuring that the tool aligned with the realities faced by Jamaican businesses.

Heslop indicated that the framework still has to be piloted with a cross section of businesses but is a great leveraging point.

“The partnership with Leap will be leveraged to bring the tool to a wider audience, and work will be done to incorporate the framework in all future engagements with the private sector to mobilise greater resilience. Once the framework has been tested with a larger group of stakeholders, it can be launched,” she noted.

Shaw said: “This Climate Resilience Assessment Framework is the first tool of its kind for Jamaica. It is based on Leap’s Climate Resilience Index (CRI) for large companies. Both tools draw on international best practice for assessing climate resilience in businesses while integrating the specificities of the Jamaican/Caribbean business context.”

Christine Wong, managing director of King Pepper and member of the Technical Advisory Group for the CRAF, expressed enthusiasm for the tool.

“I think the tool is going to be very productive and the fact that the team included members of the SME sector (in developing the tool), it is going to reap results. The tool is easy to understand, quick to respond to, and it is not onerous to use,” she said.

Donovan Wignall, president of the Micro, Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Alliance stated that the sector would benefit from the framework when it is sensitised on its benefits.

“It is going to be a learning curve for some businesses, not all, and when everybody is fully up to speed, it will augur well for the sector and for the country,” he said.