Perception that climate change does not pose a serious threat to business remains with many companies, finds Atradius

Despite severe climate changes becoming increasingly common, a study of businesses in six European countries finds that only 10% believe they are well prepared for extreme weather.

Even among companies that have experienced extreme weather or a natural disaster during the last year, the research found that just 20% have taken steps to protect themselves from similar problems in the future.

When asked what steps companies are taking to fight climate change, a third said they will be cutting down on power consumption, while 16% said that they will not be taking any action at all.

The study, carried out by Amsterdam, Netherlands-based credit insurer Atradius, also revealed that two thirds of European businesses believe their Governments pay little or no attention to the threats of climate change.

Those in Italy are the least enthusiastic about the attention given to climate change from their Government (83%), with companies in the UK a close second (77%).

The results also showed that two thirds of companies are unfamiliar with the Kyoto Protocol. Firms in the UK and the Netherlands knew least, with 45% and 44% respectively admitting to being unfamiliar with its contents. Over half the companies surveyed (55%) feel that the influence of the Kyoto protocol on their organisation will be very limited.

Shaun Purrington, regional director of Atradius UK and Ireland said: ‘Despite a quarter of European firms suffering due to extreme weather conditions over the past year, it seems the perception that ‘climate change does not pose a serious threat to their business’ remains with too many companies.

‘Many firms are still recovering from the severe flooding that affected swathes of the UK last summer and after high winds and snow brought further chaos over the Easter period; companies can no longer turn a blind eye to the impact extreme weather conditions could have on their business. All firms should be taking steps to protect themselves from the risks of climate change and putting measures in place to maintain their cash flow should the worst happen.’