Climate change will grow in importance for risk managers as the fight against global warming intensifies following the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to Marie-Gemma Dequae, president of the Federation of European Risk Management Associations (FERMA).

“As companies implement technologies and practices to respond to climate change, so risks will change at an operational level and engage an increasing number of risk managers,” said Dequae. “The IPCC report also shows that there will be many opportunities for businesses to develop products and processes that improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Risk management is critical to the success of such projects.”

The IPCC's fourth report, published last week, argues that improvements in services and facilities that all large businesses use, such as transport, buildings and waste management, can help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, which are contributing to a warming of the planet.

An informal survey by FERMA earlier this year found although that climate change was not an immediate priority for the majority of the 39 European risk managers who responded.

Dequae also welcomed the emphasis by the IPCC on the use of a risk management process for decision making about the appropriate level of global mitigation measures in the fight against global warming.

The report stated, “Decision making about the appropriate level of global mitigation over time involves an iterative risk management process that includes mitigation and adaptation, taking into account actual and avoided climate change damages, co-benefits, sustainability, equity and changes to risk.

“Choices about the scale and timing of greenhouse gas mitigation involve balancing the economic costs of more rapid emission reductions now against the corresponding medium term and long term risks of delay.”

Ms Dequae concluded, “The way we will deal with climate change at the global level will determine our capacity to manage globalisation in an equitable and sustainable way.”