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Rewriting Corporate Transition Blueprints for Climate Resilience

The UK's Transition Plan Taskforce Adaptation Working Group has thoughts on integrating adaptation and resilience in companies' decarbonization strategies

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  • The UK’s Transition Plan Taskforce adaptation working group issued a primer on including climate-proofing considerations in corporate transition plans

  • The two themes should be complementary, though transition planning is more advanced than adaptation planning — for now

  • The primer recommends targeted enhancements to the “Transition Planning Cycle” that can help build more robust disclosures

  • Companies are already burdened by multiple disclosure commitments, so tying adaptation and transition plans together as the working group recommends could be a smart way forward

When it comes to corporate climate disclosures, transition plans are the ‘in’ thing. European policymakers just passed a law making them mandatory for thousands of companies, while banks and investors are increasingly demanding them from would-be borrowers. As of 2022, 4,000 companies had a transition plan out of 18,600 assessed by the nonprofit CDP.

Adaptation plans, in contrast, just aren’t in vogue. Recent data from S&P Global found that barely one in five companies surveyed have an adaptation plan. Moreover, many of those that have been drafted are patchy or lack useful data for investors and other stakeholders. 

The lopsided focus on transition over adaptation and resilience (A&R) planning risks creating an economy that’s under-protected from climate shocks, and doomed to spend billions each year on rebuilding and recovering from ever-worsening extreme weather events and chronic climatic strains. 

Fortunately, an array of bright minds are working on changing this. Last month, an advisory adaptation working group to the UK’s Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT) issued a primer on including A&R considerations in corporations’ transition-focused disclosures.

Though separate from the TPT itself, which last year issued comprehensive recommendations on drafting transition plans that are now being considered by the UK government, the idea behind the primer is to encourage firms to broaden the scope of these documents to incorporate climate-proofing strategies.

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