Climate change

What is the difference between climate change adaptation and climate change mitigation?

Climate change is expected to increase temperatures over the coming years, although there is no definite prediction of when and by how much.

Even though we don't understand all the possible impacts yet, businesses need to be aware that climate change is likely to affect them in some way in the future.

There are two very different aspects to climate change: adaptation and mitigation.

Climate change adaptation is about making sure your business can adjust as well as possible to any impacts caused by climate change that we cannot avoid now.

Climate change mitigation is about lowering our emissions so that we can minimise the impacts of climate change in the future.

How will climate change affect my business?

Climate change could affect Australians and Australian businesses by altering long-term weather patterns.

This falls under climate change adaptation and it means you should include in your business planning an emergency management plan in the event that your business is affected by extreme events.

Some of the issues you need to consider in your plan include:

  • the location of your business and whether there is a chance it could be affected by an extreme event like flood or fire
  • making sure you have the right insurance cover for your business
  • how you will protect your business assets, such as your business data (taxation, payments, invoices, customer lists etc) and essential operating equipment
  • how you will continue to operate your business if there is a disruption (even elsewhere) to your supply chain or distribution system.

Read our Emergency management topic for tools, resources and templates to help you develop an Emergency management and recovery plan.

Download our free MyBizShield App to start developing your emergency management plan. View our suite of Business Apps for other free business planning templates.

What can I do to limit my business's carbon emissions?

There are a number of ways you can reduce your business's carbon emissions, or your 'carbon footprint'.

A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by an individual, a family, a business or a country. A carbon footprint is made up of almost every activity we undertake. On average, Australians have one of the largest carbon footprints – per person – in the world.

You can reduce your business's carbon footprint by making changes to your business activities, including:

  • relying less on raw materials and recycling and using recycled products where possible to minimise waste
  • making sure you are efficient in the way you use energy and water
  • using and/or producing 'green' or eco-friendly goods and services.

There are real savings and benefits for your business in reducing your carbon footprint. For more information, read our Business benefits section.

Visit our Tools & resources page for online tools, calculators, guides and databases to help you make your business sustainable and reduce or offset your carbon footprint.

Read our Minimising your impact page for hints about how you can make your business more energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

There are a range of grants and assistance available across federal, state and territory, and local government levels to support your efforts to make your business more environmentally friendly. For a list of these, visit our Environmental grants & assistance page.

Climate change schemes that could affect your business

There are a number of government regulations in place to protect the environment and to help Australians become more energy efficient. These also come under climate change mitigation.

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) has been introduced to help with climate change mitigation and Australia's adjustment to a low emissions economy. Australia has set a RET of 20 per cent by 2020.

The RET aims to encourage new investment in renewable energy generation, allowing the market to choose technologies that reliably produce renewable energy at the lowest cost. By 2020, one-fifth of Australia's electricity will come from renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power. For more information on the RET, visit the Department of the Environment website.

To ensure your business – and the environment – are protected, you need to know if your business activities fall under other legislation, licensing and labelling obligations. Visit our Standards & labelling and Reporting pages to find out whether your business could be affected and how.

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