Topic outline

  • Organisational Climate Risk

    Organisational climate risk is an adaptation response at the operational level. The objective of organisational climate risk actions is to mitigate climate change risks to an organisation's programs, operations, assets, and staff.


    Principles

    Actions to reduce an organisation's climate risk should be evidence-based. They should be informed by robust climate assessments, and they should be informed by credible local climate change data or projects.

    Actions to reduce an organisation's climate risk should be equitable. They should consider how climate risks may impact differently on staff and how risk management measures can account for these.

    Actions to reduce an organisation's climate risk should be inclusive. They should involve local staff, community members and leaders to support the identification of local climate risks.

    Actions

    Actions that organisations can take to start identifying and planning for climate change risks to programs and operations include:

    • Including climate change risks in the organisation's strategic and operational risk register.
    • Ensuring that country strategies, security and contingency plans include an analysis of potential short to medium term climate change impacts on operations, programs, assets, and staff.
    • Identifying and disseminating credible climate projections, as downscaled as possible, for all operational and program areas to relevant managers and staff.
    • Ensuring the design of all new projects considers the projected climate change impacts for the targeted areas and assesses the potential impact of these changes on project outcomes and sustainability.

    Resources

    Climate Change: Questions for your Governing Body (February 2022)Downloads a Word document
    Questions developed by ACFID to help your governing body to work out where they stand on discharging their duties concerning climate change, and what else they may need to do.
    Climate risk governance guide (August 2021)Opens in new tab
    Guidance by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) to assist directors address climate change governance. The guide provides a plain-language introduction and practical steps.
    Confronting climate risk (May 2020)Opens in new tab
    A McKinsey Quarterly article for leaders on integrating climate risk into their decision making (adapted from the McKinsey Global Institute report Climate risk and response: Physical hazards and socioeconomic impacts).
    Guiding principles to set up effective climate governance on corporate boards (January 2019) Opens a PDF in a new tab
    Useful guidance to boards listing a set of principles and questions to guide the development of good climate governance.
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    • Reducing Environmental Impact

      Reducing environmental impact is an environmental restoration response at the operational level. The objective of reducing environmental impact is to reduce the environmental impact of an organisation’s operations and programs.


      Principles

      Actions to reduce environmental impact should be evidence-based.

      Actions to reduce environmental impact should be equitable.

      Actions to reduce environmental impact should be inclusive.

      Actions

      Actions that organisations can take to reduce the environmental impact of operations and programs include:

      • Analysing environmental risks and opportunities.
      • Conducting environmental impact assessments.
      • Implementing a design appraisal tool or set of criteria requiring an assessment of environmental risk.
      • Periodic reporting on environmental impact reductions.

      Resources

      DFAT Good Practice Note: Assess and manage environmental risks and impactsOpens in new tab
      Guidance on how to screen, assess and manage environmental risks when planning and implementing an investment.
      Environmental stewardship and sustainabilityOpens in new tab
      Guidance and resources related to ACFID Code of Conduct Commitment 3.3: Promote environmental stewardship and sustainability.
      Model Approach to Environmental and Social Standards in UN ProgrammingOpens in new tab
      A reference and benchmark for UN entities to use when adopting or revising their environmental and social standards and safeguards.
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      • Decarbonising Programs and Operations

        Decarbonising programs and operations is a mitigation response at the operational level. The objective of decarbonising programs and operations is to reduce the impact of an organisation’s own operations and programs.


        Principles

        Actions to reduce an organisation’s carbon emissions should be evidence-based. They should be informed by a publicly available organisational emissions inventory. They should be based on actions that are proven to reduce emissions, and they should be implemented at a speed and sale that aligns with climate science and global efforts to keep warming to as close to 1.5°C as possible.

        Actions to reduce an organisation’s carbon emissions should be equitable. They should ensure that responsibility for reducing emissions is shared across organisational operational areas, and ensure that the work is funded and does not fall only on staff with operations responsibilities.

        Actions to reduce an organisation’s carbon emissions should be inclusive. They should involve staff in Australia and overseas to support the identification and implementation of emission reduction opportunities.

        Actions

        Steps that organisations can take to reduce emissions include:

        • Developing a greenhouse gas inventory for the organisation and establishing an emissions baseline.
        • Committing to organisational emissions reduction targets that are in line with (or better than) the required rate of global emissions reduction.
        • Developing an action plan to reduce emissions in line with targets.
        • Auditing emissions inventory annually to monitor and track emission reductions.
        • Divesting from banks and other financial institutions that continue to fund fossil fuels.
        • Promoting ethical superannuation funds that do not invest in fossil fuels.
        • Reducing the number of domestic and international flights taken by the organisation.
        • Installing rooftop solar panels at offices or purchasing 100 per cent green certified energy.
        • Replacing gas heating or appliances with electric alternatives.
        • Offsetting unavoidable emissions.

        Resources

        Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate StandardOpens in new tab
        Requirements and guidance for companies preparing a greenhouse gas emissions inventory, including cross-sector and sector-specific calculation tools.
        Blog: The sustainability initiative so effective it endedOpens in new tab
        The story of the WWF-Australia Sustainability Committee and its work reducing the carbon footprint of internal operations.
        Graceworks Myanmar Environment PolicyOpens in new tab
        Example of an environment policy that incorporates climate change and environmental sustainability of internal operations, programs and partners
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        • Building Climate Resilience

          Building climate resilience is an adaptation response at the programmatic level. The objective of actions to build climate resilience is to build the resilience of communities to anticipate, adjust, prepare, and respond to changed climate conditions.


          Principles

          Actions to build climate resilience should be evidence-based. They should be informed by credible climate change data and projections; and they should be informed by risk and vulnerability assessments that consider the differentiated risks and vulnerabilities of different groups.

          Actions to build climate resilience should be equitable. They should seek to understand the differentiated impacts of climate change on different groups; seek to identify and respond to issues of inequality, exclusion and power; and promote and uphold human rights.

          Actions to build climate resilience should be inclusive. They should engage local communities and be locally-led, including the identification, design, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of actions.

          Actions

          Actions that organisations can take to help build resilience include:

          • Conducting climate risk and vulnerability assessments.
          • Increasing access to early warning systems and development of early actions.
          • Improving preparedness with contingency plans and emergency responses.
          • Establishing effective governance to manage climate risks, accompanied by human and institutional capacity-building.
          • Utilising nature-based solutions to reduce risks.
          • Climate proofing of infrastructure and services.
          • Increasing access to insurance and social protection instruments.
          • Sharing knowledge and best practice on climate risk management.
          • Increasing the volume, quality and access of public and private finance to invest in resilience.

          Resources

          UNFCCC Climate Action Pathways: Resilience and Adaptation, Executive Summary (November 2019) Opens a PDF in a new tab
          Summary reporting by the Marrakech Partnership under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
          UNFCCC Climate Action Pathway: Resilience, Action Table (2020) Opens a PDF in a new tab
          A detailed framework of interventions across five thematic impact areas: resilient food and agriculture systems, resilient water and natural ecosystems, resilient cities, resilient coastal zones and oceans, and resilient infrastructure and services.
          C2ES Resilience SolutionsOpens in new tab
          The Resilience Solutions hub by the Centre for Climate and Energy Solutions, including the C2ES Climate Resilience Portal.
          Climate resilience video playlist (July 2021)Opens in new tab
          A playlist of short animated videos introducing climate resilience infrastructure and climate resilience health systems.
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          • Nature Based Solutions

            Nature-based solutions are environmental restoration responses at the programmatic level. The objective of nature based solutions is to address the causes and reduce the impact of climate change by protecting and restoring ecosystems that support human life, while preserving biodiversity.


            Principles

            The implementation of nature-based solutions should be evidence-based. They should be informed by credible environmental assessments and climate change data, and ensure that solutions are appropriate for the local community and environment.

            The implementation of nature-based solutions should be equitable. They should consider potential social, economic, and environmental impacts and how different groups use and access local space and the natural environment.

            The implementation of nature-based solutions should be inclusive. They should engage local communities and, where possible, be locally led, including the identification, design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of actions.

            Actions

            Common types of natured based solutions include:

            • Ecosystem restoration approaches: ecological restoration, ecological engineering, forest landscape restoration.
            • Issue-specific ecosystem-related approaches: ecosystem-based adaptation, ecosystem-based mitigation, climate change adaptation services, ecosystem-based disaster risk reduction.
            • Infrastructure-related approaches: natural infrastructure, green infrastructure.
            • Ecosystem-based management approaches: integrated coastal zone management, integrated water resources management.
            • Ecosystem protection approaches: area-based conservation approaches, including protected area management.

            Resources

            IUCN Nature-based Solutions for People and PlanetOpens in new tab
            Information, resources and news from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
            IUCN Global Standard for Nature-based Solutions (NbS)Opens in new tab
            developed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Global Standard is a common framework to help users design, implement and verify NbS actions.
            Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) HubOpens in new tab
            A hub of resources and information dedicated to Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration.
            Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration eWorkshopOpens in new tab
            An online course from the World Vision Technical Academy on facilitating FMNR implementation in the community.
            Nature-Based Solutions DatabaseOpens in new tab
            A database from the UNDP spanning 5 continents and 500+ communities where nature-based actions are being taken.
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            • Low Carbon Development

              Low carbon development is a mitigation response at the programmatic level. The objective of low carbon development is to support the delivery of sustainable development outcomes through the utilisation of clean technology and the development of long-term low emissions development strategies.


              Principles

              Low carbon development actions should be evidence-based. They should be informed by credible analysis of emissions or other pollution from target activities. They should also be based on credible research or proven technology and actions.

              Low carbon development actions should be equitable.They should ensure that the benefits of low carbon development solutions are shared across different groups; they should consider potential social, economic and environmental impacts on different groups; and they should consider opportunities to promote the social and economic inclusion of marginalised groups.

              Low carbon development actions should be inclusive.They should engage local communities and, where possible, be locally led including the identification, design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation of actions.

              Actions

              Key steps in preparing a low-emission climate-resilient development strategy are:

              • Developing a multi-stakeholder planning process.
              • Preparing climate change profiles and vulnerability scenarios.
              • Identifying strategic options leading to more equitable low-emission climate-resilient development trajectories.
              • Identifying policies and financing options to implement priority climate change options.
              • Preparing a low-emission climate-resilient development roadmap.

              Resources

              UNEP Low emission developmentOpens in new tab
              The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) spreads know-how, builds capacity, and measures and reports emissions reductions resulting from renewable-energy and energy-efficiency initiatives and programmes.
              LEDS Global PartnershipOpens in new tab
              The LEDS Global Partnership is an incubator for knowledge and solutions that can be scaled up, leading the way to climate-resilient low-emission development and providing an enabling environment for collaborative and ambitious climate action.
              Blog: Decarbonizing relief and development workOpens in new tab
              Lessons learned from the Interaction Community on implementing sustainability within NGOs.
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              • Increasing Adaptation Assistance

                Increasing adaptation assistance is an adaptation response at the policy and advocacy level. The objective is to effect global and regional policies and treaties to support countries, communities and individuals.


                Principles

                Adaptation policy and advocacy initiatives should be evidence-based. They should be informed by and offer credible research and analysis. Where possible, they should be supported by ANGOs’ experiences and firsthand evidence collected from development and humanitarian programs.

                Adaptation policy and advocacy initiatives should be equitable. They should seek to ensure that global efforts to adapt to climate change prioritise and account for the differentiated needs of groups most vulnerable to climate change impacts.

                Adaptation policy and advocacy initiatives should be inclusive. They should include the voices of people and communities most affected by climate change. Where possible, they should be led by local communities.

                Actions

                Key advocacy issues for increasing adaptation assistance include:

                • Increasing the amount of adaptation funding or finance that is available to countries most at risk of climate change impacts.
                • Ensuring climate change finance mechanisms support priority access for thos most affected by climate change.
                • Ensuring climate finance mechanisms (especially market-based mechanisms) include safeguards for human rights.
                • Urgent, scaled-up, new and additional finance for addressing loss and damage.
                • Enhanced institutional arrangements fo facilitating action and support to address loss and damage.
                • Advancing climate justice in international law.
                • Ensuring climate policy and programs are centred in climate justice and equity principles.
                • Working in solidarity with communities to support climate justice.

                Resources

                ACFID Advocacy Agenda (May 2021) Opens a PDF in a new tab
                Details on ACFID’s advocacy priorities, including a focus area on combatting climate change.
                Adaptation Gap Report 2021Opens in new tab
                The 6th edition of the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report: The Gathering Storm looks at the further ambition needed to progress in national-level adaptation planning, finance and implementation worldwide.
                Taking a gender sensitive approach to climate change prevention, mitigation and adaptationOpens in new tab
                Policy position paper on climate change by the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA).
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                • Increasing Environmental Protection and Restoration


                  Increasing environmental protection and restoration is an environmental restoration response at the policy and advocacy level. The objective is to elevate and integrate environmental protection and restoration as a key pillar of sustainable development policy and practice, and to increase global and national efforts to stop and reverse destruction, degradation and fragmentation of all types of ecosystems.


                  Principles

                  Environmental policy and advocacy initiatives should be evidence-based. They should be informed by, and offer, credible research and analysis on international environmental and biodiversity agreements. They should be supported, where possible, by ANGOs’ experiences and firsthand evidence of the impact of environmental degradation on local communities.

                  Environmental policy and advocacy initiatives should be equitable. They should seek to ensure the protection and restoration of critical ecosystems and natural assets for all communities around the world.

                  Environmental policy and advocacy initiatives should be inclusive. They should include the voices of people and communities most affected by environmental degradation and climate change. Where possible, they should be led by local communities and indigenous knowledge and practices.

                  Actions

                  Key advocacy issues for increasing environmental protection and restoration include:

                  • Addressing the drivers of deforestation and habitat fragmentation such as palm oil and timber plantations, cattle, mining, road construction and urban sprawl.
                  • Prioritising nature based solutions, including by incentivising the delivery of environmental benefit through elevating the environment (and climate change adaptation) as a core investment in the development policy.
                  • Stopping the overfishing of the oceans by prohibiting certain fishing practice to prevent bycatch, and enforcing international agreements.
                  • Addressing desertification and land degradation.
                  • Preventing pollution from destroying local ecosystems, including by regulating industrial and mining by-products, improving general waste management and recycling systems, and banning single-use plastics.

                  Resources

                  ACFID Advocacy Agenda (May 2021) Opens a PDF in a new tab
                  Details on ACFID’s advocacy priorities, including a focus area on combatting climate change.
                  IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem ServicesOpens in new tab
                  Assessment by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) of knowledge on biodiversity and ecosystem services and their interlinkages at the global level.
                  World Vision International Policy Brief: COVID-19 and green recoveryOpens in new tab
                  A brief focusing on the links between the pandemic, the destruction of the natural environment, and calls for systematic change.
                  Taking a gender sensitive approach to climate change prevention, mitigation and adaptationOpens in new tab
                  Policy position paper on climate change by the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA).
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                  • Global Emissions Reduction

                    Global emissions reduction is a mitigation response at the policy and advocacy level. The objective of global emissions reduction advocacy is to accelerate national and global action to reduce emissions and keep global warming to well below 2°C.


                    Principles

                    Mitigation policy and advocacy initiatives should be evidence-based. They should be informed by the latest climate science, credible research and analysis, and international agreements. They should offer proven technology and action.

                    Mitigation policy and advocacy initiatives should be equitable.They should ensure that industrialised nations take responsibility for their fair share of global emissions reductions and do not shift responsibility to developing countries.

                    Mitigation policy and advocacy initiatives should be inclusive.They should includemake space for, and prioritise the voices of people and communities most affected by climate change, and where possible be led by local communities.

                    Actions

                    Key advocacy issues for global emissions reduction include:

                    • Setting more ambitious emissions reduction targets in line with or better than the Paris Agreement.
                    • Ending subsidies that sustain fossil fuel industries.
                    • Banning all fossil fuel exports from Australia.
                    • Increasing Australian assistance to development partners countries to transition to a low carbon economy.
                    • Ensuring emissions offsetting is not used to avoid making real reductions in emissions and is only used where there are presently no viable alternative options to reduce emissions.
                    • Ensuring any emissions offsets safeguard biodiversity, human rights and local community knowledge and rights.

                    Resources

                    ACFID Advocacy Agenda (May 2021) Opens a PDF in a new tab
                    Details on ACFID’s advocacy priorities, including a focus area on combatting climate change.
                    Climate Action TrackerOpens in new tab
                    The Climate Action Tracker is an independent scientific analysis tracking progress towards the holding warming well below 2°C.
                    Taking a gender sensitive approach to climate change prevention, mitigation and adaptationOpens in new tab
                    Policy position paper on climate change by the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA).
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