by Roger Stephenson, Stephenson Strategic Communications
Late in 2014 more than 100 leaders from across the New Hampshire business community met to discuss the impacts on their companies due to changes in the state’s historic weather patterns.
Members of the host committee for the NH Weathering Change forum came from all ten counties. Participants were on hand from seven New Hampshire banks and a dozen local chambers of commerce, along with officials from business associations including travel & tourism, grocery, and the ski industry. Individual businesses included manufacturing, transportation, farming, forestry, tourism and finance.
The diverse group of business leaders found agreement that weather events are a business risk and they are becoming increasingly significant, and that one of the most accessible ways to adapt to it is by implementing clean and diverse energy technologies that contribute to increased resiliency.
The issues surrounding the trends of a shifting climate are complex, but when the report was released last fall host committee member Steve Duprey said, “If you assume that climate change is not man-made, that it’s natural, and we do nothing but take steps to improve our technology, 20 to 30 years from now, our children will be left with a better environment. If we do nothing, and find out 20 to 30 years from now that we were wrong, how do we look at our children and grandchildren and explain why we let this opportunity pass.”
Things move forward in New Hampshire when all sectors of the political spectrum engage together to find balanced, effective, locally-driven answers to the complex situations we face in the modern world. This is particularly true with environment energy, and similarly large and complex issues. The Nature Conservancy and The Environmental Defense Fund are working together in New Hampshire to encourage a more open and balanced discussion of the merits of different policy alternatives that will increase use of renewable energy and energy efficient technologies.
Acknowledging that many of the discussions on resilience have been among state and local governments and scientists, leaders at the NH Weathering Change forum said in response that without the private sector at the table, important opportunities (both for the communities and the bottom line) may be lost. Businesses need to make sure that they have a voice to ensure government understands the issues that the private sector has to deal with, and understands the things businesses have to worry about in order to remain profitable.
Member businesses of NHBSR lean towards the triple bottom line, and understand that environmental impacts can mean impacts to profits. Take the time to read New Hampshire Weathering Change; the value of this report is that it illustrates broad concerns, and invites a range of ways in which business leaders, chamber boards, Rotaries and others might contribute to the dialogue. You can help raise awareness and build upon what the participants began by sharing copies of the report with your friends and colleagues.
Hard copies of the report are available by contacting Roger Stephenson: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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