Another week, another slew of terrifying stories highlighting the inexorable march of climate change.

And most recently: a tale of two water extremes.

In England, the Chief Executive of the Environment Agency warned of future water shortages. The so-called ‘jaws of death’ will see demand outstrip supply in just 25 years thanks to consecutive hot and dry summers coinciding with a rise in population.

Meanwhile, Mozambique has been at the mercy of devastating flooding. The UN estimates that more than three million people have now been affected by the deadly storm surges, as our changing climate makes storms like Idai even more severe.

It’s clear we’re living in climatically volatile times, and these examples underline the narrative of David Wallace-Wells’ infamous new book The Uninhabitable Earth complete with its ominous first words: “It’s worse, much worse than you think”.

However, such a vivid reality check, is creating a new problem. Uncertainty and denial are giving way to equally paralysing panic, anxiety and resignation.

This new “climate denial” is rooted in our fundamental psychology; climate change is becoming too terrifying to deal with, so we are defaulting into a “learned posture of powerlessness” as Wallace-Wells puts it. And if this is the new psychology of individuals, it will naturally extend to the businesses they work for – amplifying a lack of action. The last thing our Earth system and global society needs right now.

It is therefore imperative that we change our collective mentality – as individuals and organisations – from one of resistance and unsolvable to one of empowerment and solutions.

At Cervest, we translate climate change and uncertainty into business continuity and growth, achieved through a long-term ‘decision journey’ with business leaders who have seen first hand how their business is being impacted by climate uncertainty and consumer value shift as a result. Our role is twofold:

  • We quickly help businesses mitigate the very real risks they face in the short term – with a low entry point that allows us to create immediate value
  • We build out a ‘decision platform’ partnership for the long-haul, giving business leaders the means to continuously and dynamically adapt any climate-critical business process through automated, accurate, timely and personalised decisions, across any time period or spatial scale.

Our statistical modelling approach combines cutting-edge science with machine learning, providing us the ability to monitor, predict and simulate the risks and suggest appropriate action. We currently focus our expertise in agriculture and food supply, where climate uncertainty is already having a significant impact on business. Through Cervest:

  • farmers can decide what are the most resilient crops to plant
  • Food and beverage procurement teams get early signals on future crop productivity, helping them to plan sourcing and logistics earlier
  • policy makers at a national and regional level can make decisions about crops and irrigation
  • insurers can incentivise the careful cultivation of farmland rather than its exploitation
  • governments, regulators and financial institutions can apply Cervest’s climate modelling and map it into their own macroeconomic simulations.

Going forward our platform will also enable us to provide wider land-based asset decision support in areas such as forestry, flood management and soil degradation.

Climate change is very real for many and a growing concerns for millions more. For businesses and individuals, it is becoming one of the biggest risks to our economy and financial stability. Although we get it and feel it, we still need practical ways to positively address it. New ‘climate smart decision’ technology means that businesses and individuals alike have the biggest opportunity yet to make an impact, protecting both the planet and their livelihoods, one smart decision at a time.

And when thousands of people across hundreds of businesses start making climate smart decisions every single day, perhaps then we can begin to see a measurable impact.