Sir: I note the word ‘sustainability’ in your recent coverage of Unilever, and indeed other companies.
For real sustainability, the food industry must reassess the way it does business and take into account impacts of climate-related disaster risks on supply chains, from workforce to raw materials, production, storage and transportation.
We highlighted this as a business imperative in a ‘Tackling Exposure’ report issued by the Climate Development Knowledge Network. In short, government and business must put weather-related disaster risk management at the heart of economic and fiscal planning.
Last year was the costliest on record for disasters, with estimated global losses of £234bn. Losses from weather disasters are doubling every 12 years.
If illustration were needed, Unilever has just announced that climate change, or the impact of disasters, cost the company €200m in 2011.
The whole food industry needs to build in contingencies, adopt multiple sources to cope with gaps in the supply chain and avoid dependency on highly vulnerable areas.
Dr Tom Mitchell, head of climate change, Overseas Development Institute