Climate change does not only affect individuals and society, but also poses a direct threat to the private sector; a key promoter of economic growth, eradication of poverty and creation of jobs. It is characterized by high temperatures, heat waves, tropical cyclones, drought, carbon dioxide emissions, rise in sea levels and floods. These changes are seriously becoming huge risks for economies since most of them heavily rely on the natural resources that are foundations of sectors like agriculture and tourism.
Recently, Kenya Climate Innovation Center (KCIC) led the private sector in making climate change commitments through a conference dubbed 4C-K; Corporate Commitment to Climate Change-Kenya, the first one in the country. The private sector has therefore been left with no choice other than taking action to lessen the negative impacts through planning and acting on opportunities.
Global debates have majorly focused on the potential of the private sector to contribute and leverage climate finance. In Kenya the Private Sector is already playing a huge role in tackling climate change risks to promote growth of a green economy. This involves use of affordable renewable energy technologies, resource use efficiency and recycling waste for production of energy. For the effects to be long lasting the government and private entities like KCIC have responded by focusing on private sector investment and support.
The private sector supports implementation of climate change through the following ways:
- Adaptation-entails all actions that are meant to minimize vulnerability of human and natural systems to the current and future effects of climate change. Adaptation ensures that the business atmosphere can properly adjust to any consequence posed by climate change.
- Mitigation-involves reducing greenhouse gas emissions from business firms to counter climate change effects in the future.
Meeting the mitigation and adaptation needs of a developing country comes with a huge price tag. A stronger private sector has been linked with economic and sustainable growth since the private sector accounts for a major percentage of global climate finance flow. Businesses can devise ways of establishing strategic links between their main strategies and investments to improve the societies’ ability to adapt to climate change. Conferences like the 4C-K will also help the private sector to come together and create roadmaps towards climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Most businesses have the ability to assess climate impacts and risks and thus have been able to thoroughly prepare for the future. The preparation has involved creating awareness on supply chain disruptions and ensuring infrastructure being set up will be able to withstand expected climate changes such as drought. Most firms have increased the use of energy efficiently and incorporated actions that minimize greenhouse gas emissions; that is use of renewable energy. A company like Safaricom is already powering it’s cell towers with solar energy.
The private sector has a lot of mechanisms to leverage climate change which in turn results in improved long-term environmental performance. It is important that governments adopt a comprehensive approach to private sector engagement on climate change to promote sustainable green growth. Approach should entail supporting policies promoting climate change mitigation and adaptation; allowing policy environment for private climate investments using limited public funds to promote climate change in developing countries.