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Alexander Díaz
The new meaning of Climate Action. (World Bank conference, 2016, creative commons.)

What a seismic start to 2021. It is a climate moment that really must not be lost on anyone. First, a quick recap:

  • January 20, inauguration day, President Biden signed an Executive Order to rejoin the Paris Agreement.
  • A week later, January 27, he penned another one launching the promised whole-of-government approach to cascade climate action across the country and via U.S. engagements in every country on Earth.
  • On February 19, the U.S. did rejoin Paris, an event marked by the launch of America Is All In, the former We’re Still In, a coalition of companies, NGOs and state/local governments…

A sea change for everything, including climate resilience.

“This really is it,” I found myself whispering to the mirror, more than once, at times using some Humboldt Park Latin slang from my youth in Chicago — “This dude’s for real” — as President Biden’s climate policy grew evident and his robust all-star team was named in the weeks following the November 3rd election.

The climate movement never could be sure about candidate Joe Biden. When asked, his answers were, well, generally unconvincing, as if toeing a line to secure the vote of skeptics while gaining a mandate for bigger action if he won.

Officially, he distanced himself from…

Release of Arctic methane (the circular hydrates) is among the tipping points forcing high irreversible global temperatures.

Wow. What a difference a year makes. Not even a year, actually. It was last April when I wrote this column announcing the upcoming launch of a movement, which I called Adaptation ESG, to urge sustainable companies — bellwethers in Environmental, Social & Governance standards — to lead a new renaissance of resilience in the face of the latest and ever more daunting climate science. To extend their sustainability leadership, as it were, to adaptability leadership.

The world’s booming $35 trillion ESG investment market, roughly 40% of total global assets under management, had begun sending the clearest possible message to…

This time, a little over half the people won, in a struggle that continues.

The grass helped. It was soft and just the right bit of moist. When it caressed between the toes, it was particularly satisfying. Looking back, I was like Richard Gere in the barefoot-on-the-grass scene in Pretty Woman. Except this was 1981. The movie came later, and Gere was reflecting on a positive transition in his life.

I walked, it seemed, for miles down Grant Park, though not really. It wasn’t all that long before I sat on a bench facing the vastness of Lake Michigan. And brooded.

I had just taken the Army entrance test at the downtown center. Passed…

Yes, we will overshoot 2° Celsius, but you can still redirect optimism, unleash a new wellspring of value, and become the brand that makes it through.

Extend your sustainability into Deep Adaptability, and become the brand that emerges standing tall.

The bomb fell a month ago, when the release of this landmark climate sensitivity study ushered in a new moment, a turning point, in corporate climate management, confirming with final certainty what the business world has known but not embraced until now. And suddenly, the game changed.

Bottom line? Climate disarray can no longer be avoided. That hope, that we will fall short of 2°C, is gone. But there is a new source of…

THE ADAPTIVE CO: This week changed it all. We now know recovery will take long, as the COVID Restricted Economy is on.

Waiting for the Grand Ave. reopening in LA, which as in all major cities is unlikely to be grand. (Joey Zanotti in Flickr, creative commons)

As a business leader, you simply cannot afford not to adapt at this point, not with what we now know about how long it will take for some normalcy to return post-COVID.

It won’t be a few weeks or months. This week settled that paralyzing speculation. You can no longer simply hold on for dear life while the dust settles and implement temporary measures, however effective they’ve been so far.

After this week, we know it will take…

THE ADAPTIVE CO: That’s the mission of Adaptation ESG, a novel movement urging portfolio companies to usher in a new era of sustainable finance

Begun 20 years ago, mainstream today, ready to adapt. And lead. (Photo by Morningstar.)

You be the judge. Exhibit A: ESG investments, in companies that implement above-average Environmental, Social & Governance standards, have skyrocketed to $35 trillion in assets under management (AUM), with a recent double-digit annual growth that has stunned investors and analysts alike. The S&P 500, by comparison, is at $30 trillion. The global AUM total amounts to $90 trillion.

After 20 years rising, ESG has joined the major leagues, drawing thousands of companies around the world and…

THE ADAPTIVE CO: Go from COVID-19 to Cypriana, and take everyone with you.

In the dark, fragile Yin, you discover the strong, clear light of the Yang. A healthy journey. Come in. Then emerge.

If there is one thing the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has made abundantly clear, it is the absolute fragility of the global system. Hospitals and their supply chains are overwhelmed. Travel halts. Events are canceled. Markets crash. Billions are left unemployed or uncertain. Government budgets are strained. All at such speed and scale as to leave everyone scrambling to figure out how one effect cascades to the next, intersects with others, and compounds the previous ones.

And that is but one kind of fragility, the systemic one, normally…

THE ADAPTIVE CO: Not thunderous as in splashy, but the USGBC’s new RELi standard now becomes the world’s premier climate-resilience rating for the built environment.

No building is an island. Disasters happen to communities. RELi creates the ties you need. (Toronto by Wiki Commons.)

Climate change is and will continue to be worse than anticipated, since the rise in global temperatures can no longer be stopped. That means many things, including resilience retrofits well beyond today’s building codes, and reaching out to surrounding communities to expand your response support.

Those are but two of the dramatic new upgrades RELi represents for your business. Originally designed and tested in a multi-year industry collaboration led by Perkins & Will, the standard…

THE ADAPTIVE CO: Protect your value chain from whatever comes

So you may emerge standing. Perhaps even leading. Certainly inspiring. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons.)

You’re the CEO or senior executive of a successful company. Whether or not you’ve been engaged in sustainability until now to be part of the solution to climate change, you’ve been reading the news lately on how bad it has become and the fact you, anyone really, may no longer be on time to escape devastating consequences in the near term, no matter your company’s size, industry or location.

Even if there may technically still be time to reverse the trend, you’ve reached the logical conclusion, given the dysfunctional politics…

Alexander Díaz

Pioneering Deep Climate Adaptability as a business value driver and Adaptation Ambition for faster mainstreaming. Because societies adapt only if companies do.

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