BACLIAT vulnerability assessment

The BACLIAT vulnerability assessment was originally developed with UK businesses. It is a workshop-based process to help you to quickly consider the potential impacts of future climate change on your organisation. It can be used as a standalone tool, or as a step in a risk-based framework such as the Adaptation Wizard.

By working with your colleagues – the people who know an organisation best – you can draw on a range of knowledge and experience, raise awareness and generate buy-in to the adaptation process. The workshop will lead to:

  • increased awareness of the range of threats and opportunities that climate change could bring, many of which will not have been experienced before.
  • a good idea of how climate risks are spread across different business functions.

Suggested work groups:

  • an individual company
  • a sector group
  • a group of business managers from across several organisations.

Although primarily designed as a resource for business, BACLIAT can be used by other organisations, such as local authorities, with some minor amendments to the business function headings.

Although the climate will continue to vary from year to year, climate projections for the UK suggest that we can expect the following changes:

  • higher average temperatures, particularly in summer and winter
  • changes in seasonal rainfall patterns
  • rising sea levels
  • more very hot days and heatwaves
  • more intense downpours of rain
  • higher intensity storms.

It is important to be clear on the difference between weather and climate:

Climate describes the average weather over an extended period (usually 30 years). For example, in the UK, spring temperatures are generally warmer now than in the 30-year period 1961 to 1990.

Weather describes what is happening at any point in time, including high temperatures, rain, snow, sleet and high winds.

In most cases it has been extreme and unusual weather that has affected businesses rather than the changes in climate experienced so far. The future could continue to bring variable weather with occasional cold winters or wet summers, but human-induced climate change may mean changing frequency of certain weather events, and changes in climate that could cause problems for some businesses.

A set of six generic business functions have been designed to be applicable to any type of business or sector. Under each there will be several potential threats and benefits arising from climate change – the workshop will uncover impacts specific to your business.

Beforehand

Check the broad business areas are appropriate for your organisation or sector – you may wish to amend these to match your organisational structure. This will help when assigning responsibility for implementing adaptation measures later in the process.

Who to invite

Invite participants who represent different business areas, functions, locations and responsibilities etc. – the wider the range, the richer the output.

Running the workshop

  • Give yourself about an hour – larger companies or those with a wide variety of locations or activities may need longer.
  • Make sure the group has an understanding of climate change impacts and adaptation, including an overview of common impacts and any particular information relating to your sector. See the Introductory presentation (presentation file, 1.9 MB) and sector examples for agriculture, building design & construction, financial services and motor manufacturing.
  • Explain the purpose of the workshop. If you are planning to use it as a starting point for a climate risk assessment, explain where it fits into the bigger picture. See Step 3 of the Wizard, Future climate vulnerability.
  • Provide participants with the headline climate change messages – slide 14 from the BACLIAT presentation (2.1 MB, presentation file).
  • Explain what you will be doing and make it clear that all suggestions will be recorded, regardless of whether or not they are sensible.
  • Encourage participants to think of past events that could become more frequent with climate change, as well as more imaginative suggestions of impacts that have not yet happened.
  • Brainstorm potential future threats and opportunities for each business area, amended to suit your structure. Don’t worry about ideas being captured under the ‘wrong’ headings, or about duplication – they can be tidied up later.

Before you use the information:

  • Remove duplicates.
  • Change the business areas headings to suit your organisation, if you have not already done so. This allows risks to be assigned to the appropriate staff who can then be involved in further discussions.
  • Re-write each impact so that it is clear what the climate variable is, where the impact will be felt, and what the business consequences are.
  • If you have already made an assessment of your vulnerability to the current climate, combine the risks you’ve identified with those from the BACLIAT workshop. The result will be a list of climate risks that include past events, events that will continue to happen as the climate changes, and potential impacts that have not yet been experienced.

You may decide to complete a risk assessment to identify your priority climate risks – see Step 3 of the Wizard, Future climate vulnerability and the Risk assessment spreadsheet (Table 3.4). Make sure you are able to estimate the likelihood of the impact and its consequences from your information.