AT&T Survey Finds Most Companies View Climate Change as a Priority, but Have Not Yet Evaluated the Risks

A new survey of business leaders across the United States, commissioned by AT&T* and conducted by Morning Consult, reveals that a majority of businesses (59%) view climate change as a priority, and an equal number (59%) consider their companies to be “climate resilient.”1 Yet less than a third (29%) have assessed the risks of climate change to their business, and fewer than 2 in 5 (38%) say their company has a plan to respond to climate-related events. AT&T commissioned the survey as part of its Climate Resiliency Project – an industry-leading effort to evaluate the risks of climate change to AT&T operations and to help boost climate resiliency in the communities the company serves.

“Climate change impacts everyone – financially and physically – even if we might not recognize it in our daily lives,” said Charlene Lake, senior vice president-Corporate Social Responsibility and chief sustainability officer at AT&T. “It’s important we know the risks and learn how to adapt. At AT&T, we’re using the best available science and technology to visualize the impacts of climate change on our business.”

Along with the survey findings, AT&T today announced that it has made available for public use the climate datasets developed for AT&T by Argonne National Laboratory for the company’s own climate risk analyses. The rich climate projection data can be plugged into a variety of software applications to visualize climate impacts at the neighborhood level 30 years into the future. These insights can be utilized by businesses, organizations and communities to better prepare for climate change.

“Not all companies and communities have access to the data they need for similar risk analysis,” Lake said. “So, we’re happy to share the data from our work with Argonne National Laboratory.”

AT&T has also launched a “Climate Resiliency Community Challenge” for universities to collaborate with local governments in the Southeast to conduct climate risk analysis using the data from Argonne National Laboratory and shared by AT&T. The challenge provides data and funding – up to $50,000 per project – for select research projects that assess local climate risk and help boost community resiliency efforts.

AT&T commissioned the survey at the onset of the official start of the Atlantic hurricane season to better understand the views and actions of how businesses are preparing for climate change.

According to the survey, about 1 in 4 business leaders say their company has experienced negative financial impacts from extreme weather in the past 5 years. The data also shows that 53% of respondents say their businesses are already taking steps to adapt to climate change, including updating emergency response plans; investing in physical updates; and enhancing disaster recovery procedures. However, the survey also reveals opportunities for businesses to improve preparedness and climate resilience, as 71% have not yet assessed the risks of climate change to their business.

“The research demonstrates that the business community is thinking about climate change and how best to respond to its impacts,” said Tyler Sinclair, Morning Consult. “The responses show there is interest – and opportunity – in finding ways to improve climate resilience.”

AT&T’s Climate Resiliency Project is just one way the company is working to help address climate change and create a better, more environmentally sustainable world. The company has set a 10x Carbon Reduction Goal to enable carbon savings 10x the greenhouse gas emissions footprint of its own operations by 2025. AT&T is also one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy in the U.S.  More information about AT&T’s environmental programs and initiatives is available at att.com/environment.

The AT&T-Morning Consult survey was conducted among a sample of 619 U.S. business leaders from April 15 – 22, 2019. Business leaders included in the survey hold director-level or higher positions at companies with a minimum of 5 and up to 1,000 or more employees. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. A summary of the survey results is available athttps://about.att.com/content/dam/snrdocs/climate_resiliency_survey_summary.pdf.

1In the AT&T-Morning Consult Survey, “climate resilient” was defined using the U.S. federal government’s Climate Resilience Toolkit: “The capacity of a community, business, or natural environment to prevent, withstand, respond to, and recover from climate change.”

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