External pressures force climate rethink

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Stakeholder pressure, the complexity of business relationships and the threat from climate change ar...

Stakeholder pressure, the complexity of business relationships and the threat from climate change are the three main factors in encouraging companies to more carefully assess the environmental risks that they face.

These are the findings of a new Economist Intelligence Unit survey co-sponsored by Ace.

Among the 320 risk managers questioned for the global survey, Ace said the majority are increasing the attention and resources that they dedicate to environmental risk management. However, it also found that many companies are still at the early stage of this process and rarely consider environmental risk management formally when undertaking major strategic activities.

Karl Russek, senior vice-president for Ace environmental risk, said: "When companies are planning major strategic activities, the consideration of environmental risk remains the exception rather than the rule. Fewer than half of the respondents to the EIU survey said they undertake a formal assessment of environmental risk when developing new products and services, and fewer than one in five when planning mergers and acquisitions."

"Environmental risk management is rising on the corporate agenda but many companies are in the early stages of addressing this issue," added Rob Mitchell, editor of the report. "While there are some companies that take environmental risk very seriously and have developed robust processes to identify, assess and mitigate their exposure, others continue to manage environmental risks in an ad hoc way, and do not consider them when planning major strategic activities, such as mergers and acquisitions."

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