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Rising Water: The Effects of Climate Change on Brands

The recent UN Climate Summit joined together leaders from public and private sectors worldwide to inspire and catalyze climate action. Prior to the summit, hundreds of thousands of people filled New York’s Midtown streets for the People’s Climate March in support of the campaign for global action.

As the call for bold announcements and actions on climate change continues to grow, brands that make determined efforts to reduce environmental impacts and address the climate problem are best positioned to mitigate risk and establish a long-term competitive advantage—both in terms of resources and increasing demands for ownership and accountability from brands.

The beginning of 2014 delivered snow in Vietnam, the return of the polar vortex to North America, the wettest winter in Britain in 250 years and the highest temperatures on record in the southern hemisphere. According to the UN’s World Meteorological Organization, 2014 has seen an unusual number of heat, cold and rain extremes. The impact reveals the significant vulnerability and exposure of ecosystems to alterations and disruption in the form of reduced food production and water supply.

Climate change combined with the rising demand for food and energy is quickly becoming a critical issue for the businesses and industries that rely on a steady, affordable supply of water. Rapid flooding and long-term droughts alter the availability of water and pose a threat to water security. In many regions, changing precipitation or melting snow and ice are altering hydrological systems, affecting water resources in terms of quantity and quality.

According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, approximately 80% of the world’s population already faces serious threats to its water security. As the global population is expected to reach 9.6 billion in 2050, demand is likely to increase by a whopping 55%. These predictions do not take into account changes in rainfall, snowfall or glacier shrinkage caused by global warming.

Changes in the water supply will lead to changing environments, with strained resources, sharpened competition, price fluctuations and shifts in consumers’ attitudes toward brands.

Abby Hofmeyer is senior strategist at LPK who is passionate about digging into new projects and uncovering a deeper understanding of how and why things work. Building on her past experience as a fashion designer, Abby brings a unique perspective to branding and design with invaluable insights in the areas of fashion, beauty, retail and socio-cultural influencers and events. Abby has a BA in fashion design from the University of Cincinnati and an MPS in design management from the Pratt Institute with a focus on sustainable business practices. You can contact her by email at abby.hofmeyer@lpk.com.

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