Climate Change Preparedness and the Small Business Sector

Small businesses can suffer lasting economic damage from a single extreme weather event. Unlike larger businesses, they lack access to capital, often operate from a single storefront, and are heavily dependent on the local community for business activity. Prepared by the Small Business Majority and the American Sustainable Business Council, this report includes case studies on how small businesses across a range of sectors have incorporated climate change resilience into their business planning and management.

After providing a brief background on why and how small businesses should consider climate adaptation, the report presents the following case studies:

  • A Massachusetts-based green roof company advising governmental clients that seek solutions to excess stormwater runoff
  • A South Carolina chamber of commerce using signs to demonstrate to the public how climate change may change downtown footprint
  • A Boston-based hotel consulting group providing expertise to small hotels on renovation, retrofit and redesign of vulnerable buildings
  • A Nebraska-based landscape architect advising clients on storm-resilient plantings
  • A California-based farm investing in irrigated pasture
  • A Brooklyn, New York-based manufacturer using crowdsource campaigns to aid with post-Superstorm Sandy recovery and facility resilience planning

The report concludes by recommending that small businesses develop a business continuity plan, work with state and local officials to better understand financial incentives for climate preparedness, and advocate for climate change mitigation and adaptation policy.


Publication Date: July 2013

Author or Affiliated User:

  • Lea Reynolds

Related Organizations:

  • Small Business Majority
  • American Sustainable Business Council


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Case study


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User Comments:

  • May 4, 2017
    Jessica Grannis, Adaptation Program Director at Georgetown Climate Center

    This report has an excellent summary of the risks posed by climate change to small businesses. It also has excellent case studies about small businesses around the country that are using climate change as an opportunity to provide climate-resilience services that are in increasing demand - like building, designing and maintaining green stormwater management infrastructure.