Find out more information about  
MARCUM LLP
Fill out this form and a representative will contact you.
*
*
*
*
*
Captcha Image
 
Contact Us
 
31
jan
2014
Changing the Climate

It is urban legend that the formula for Coca-Cola is one of the best kept secrets in industrial history. But one thing's for certain. They need water to make soda, and the company's vice president for environment and water resources, Jeffrey Seabright, told the New York Times that the epic global swings between drought and flood are not only disrupting the company's water supplies, they are also disrupting their production of essential sugar and citrus crops

The Coca-Cola Company now officially considers climate change an "economically disruptive force" on its balance sheet. So does Nike, which in 2008 lost four plants in Thailand due to flooding. Nike now reports the impact of climate change on water supplies on its financial risk disclosure forms to the SEC, according to the same article.

I'm detecting a pattern here. Love Al Gore or hate him, when the biggest companies in the world are telling us that climate change has become a key factor in their operations and their profitability, it's time to pay attention. And you don't have to be Coke or Nike to feel the pain, including the economic pain. Just ask the companies who weathered Superstorm Sandy, including ours.

Marcum was lucky. We only had to close the doors for one day in Melville and New York City, and once we reopened, we were able to offer shelter and support to employees who had no electricity or heat at home. But the lengthened commute times due to debris, downed power lines and the legendary New York traffic, not to mention the physical and emotional toll borne by our employees, all definitely beat up on our productivity. And it was actually much worse for our Tinton Falls, New Jersey, office, which had to shut down for a 10-day stretch! And we were one of the lucky ones!

We managed to stay open during the blizzard that hit the East Coast last week, but in the interest of safety, we gave employees the option of leaving early and working at home the second day. Those that didn’t have the necessary technology at home in order to work slogged into the office or took a Paid Time Off day. Without a doubt, productivity and profitability were definitely affected.

I may not be an economist, or a scientist, or even a weather prognosticator, but I know a problem when I see one. And I'm not surprised that climate change is suddenly gaining respect and credibility as an economic force. How could it not, when companies big and small are having to factor weather impacts into their operations and their financial reporting?

The gale-force economic winds of climate change are also hitting us broadside in some positive ways. Reengineering manufacturing processes to use less water and to clean and reuse contaminated water streams is one example. The cost of these improvements is recouped in efficiency and in shrunken plant footprints.

We are also seeing positive developments in a larger environmental context. We have a client, for instance, in the business of manufacturing plastic grocery bags. Unfortunately for them, California is imminently expected to become the first state in the country to outlaw plastic grocery bags. They are already prohibited in several California cities, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, but the specter of losing the most populous market in the country has forced our client to reinvent their business to meet the new economy. They now manufacture non-plastic reusable bags as well as plastic trash bags, which are still permitted, and they also have implemented a recycling program.

Change in itself is not always a bad thing. Even change propelled by negative or damaging circumstances has the potential to end up positive. Hopefully, more captains of industry as well as our policy leaders in Washington will recognize this sooner rather than later.

Politics being what it is, the raging argument on both sides of the aisle about whether the threat of climate change even exists will be tempered by the reality being experienced by companies like Coca-Cola and Nike.

It's time to get out our paddles and start rowing in earnest. Our economic future may depend on it.

Carolyn Mazzenga & Julie Gross Gelfand contributed to this posting.

Go Back
Disclaimer

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of Jeffrey M. Weiner and do not represent those of Marcum LLP, its partners or its employees.

Meet Jeffrey M. Weiner
View Jeffrey Weiner's Profile View Profile
Download Jeffrey Weiner's Contact Card Download vCard
Connect with Jeffrey Weiner on LinkedIn Connect with Jeffrey Weiner
Follow Jeffrey Weiner on Twitter Follow Jeffrey Weiner
 
Subscription Preferences
Subscribe
Unsubscribe
Recent Posts
Winter Wellness
Change Is In the Air
Tradition of Service
Buckle Up
 
Archives
2016
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
2015
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
2014
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
2013
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
   
   

Offices
New York
New Jersey
Connecticut
Florida
Massachusetts
Rhode Island
California
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Illinois
China
Grand Cayman

Get in Touch
Name
Email
Message

Get Connected
     
Privacy | Legal | Sitemap | Secure Mail