Next, the climate impacts for all life cycle stages are identified. Both the current situation (now) and the foreseeable future (year x) should be separately considered (Figure 1). Similarly, both positive and negative aspects related to climate change have to be covered. How far into future it should be looked at, is a very case specific issue. Future horizon should reflect the strategic time span of the organization, which is very different for e.g. mobile phone producer and large-scale energy producer. For a mobile phone producer foreseeable future can be only few years, while energy producer has to look much further because any investments tie available resources and technologies up for decades. It is also possible to divide the future into more than one part (e.g. 2020-2030 and 2030-2050), if the future prospects change notably over time.
“Inside-out” refers to the impacts of business on climate change. For this purpose, impacts of the activities of each life cycle stage on the climate (i.e. greenhouse gas emissions caused by use of energy, traffic, transportation, waste management, location and land use, etc.) are evaluated and listed. Company or industry specific data should be taken into account, if possible. If detailed greenhouse gas inventories are available, those should be used in the evaluation.
Figure 1. Identification of climate impacts (click to enlarge)
Even though life cycle perspective in the Climate SWOT supports consideration of both direct and indirect climate impacts, emphasis should be paid first to the direct climate impacts, i.e. to the life cycle stage presenting the company in question.
The “Outside-in” perspective looks at how the changing climate may affect the activities of business. Future climate scenarios can be used to project the expected changes in temperature, precipitation, snow cover, and wind conditions for the regions of each life cycle stage, and to assess their impact on the business in question. Also, the “Outside-in” analysis involves assessing the position of the company in respect to its competitors as well as to national and international climate policies and regulations.
The template for identifying climate impacts can be downloaded from the Related files on the right.