How can Climate SWOT be used in formulating a climate strategy for a company?

Basic climate strategy options for a company are summarized in Figure 1. The discovered climate impacts in each corner of the Climate SWOT lead to distinct strategic options.

The current strengths identified in the Climate SWOT should be further strengthened as sources for continuing competitive advantage. Respectively, opportunities discovered should be used as a foundation for active building of future sources for competitive advantage. The current climate related weaknesses should be mitigated either by improving the operations of the company (e.g. investing in energy efficiency or renewable energy solutions), or by considering changes in the product portfolio (new product or service concepts, which are more efficient considering the greenhouse impacts). 

Figure 1. Basic climate strategy options for a company

The development of the potential threats identified should be actively followed. Adaptation plans should be designed early on, in order to successfully implement required abatement measures, if the threat should concretize.

According to the climate strategy options, a strategic plan should be formulated for each climate impact identified in the Climate SWOT (or at least for the major impacts, and those caused directly by your company during the life cycle of the product). It is an individual, strategic decision of each company to consider what they want to aim with their climate strategies, i.e. how far they want to go with their plans. Some companies might want to aim for more radical innovations concerning the climate impacts of their products and operations, while others are content with smaller steps.

For each strategic plan, a target describing the desired change should be defined. Next, concrete measures (procedures, activities, improvements) for reaching the target need to be decided on and described. Also, responsibilities for implementing the plan have to be shared and the resources needed should be evaluated. Resources can obviously mean financial resource needs for new investments, process or product development etc., but are not restricted to this. Other important resources, which should also be taken into account in a strategic plan, include time required for the implementation of the plan, and the competence of the organization. To develop the competences required for the implementation of new climate strategies, intensive training of the employees might be necessary. In the strategic plan, a budget taking into consideration all types of resource needs has to be prepared. At last, the strategic plan needs to have a detailed schedule for the decided measures, and indicators to evaluate the progress of the strategic plan.

The template for formulating the climate strategy for a company can be downloaded from the Related files on the right.

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