Introduction to adaptation


Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are often the backbone of local economies – they create jobs, develop new ideas and help the economy grow. However, climate change is quickly emerging as one of the most difficult challenges of this century that threatens companies and their customers alike.

In most countries around the world, climate change will lead to higher temperatures, more irregular rainfalls and stronger storms or floods. These and other expected changes can affect businesses directly, for example by damaging buildings and weakening staff. They can also affect the firm’s suppliers, customers and surrounding communities. 

Examples of climate change risks:

Climate phenomenonImpact on human or natural systemNegative business effect
Heat waveHigh in-/ outdoor temperaturesExhaustion of workersReduced productivity
Heavy rainFlooding or landslide Blocking of transport routeSupply disruption
Irregular rainfallLack of cooling waterOverheating of machineryReduced output

Even though these climate phenomena as well as their impacts on natural and human systems might still be subtle now – in the next years and decades, the climate will change more quickly and more dramatically. Therefore, climate change has moved from the sidelines to be recognized as a serious development challenge.

Besides risks, climate change can also create business opportunities! Above all, companies will be required to offer new products and services that help other people adapt to climate change. By anticipating these new needs, companies can emerge as forerunners in their sectors.

Examples of climate change opportunities:

Climate phenomenonImpact on human or natural systemPositive business effect
Heat waveheating up of private homesincreased demand for insulation materialNew product opportunity
Changes in climate and weatherRisks for other businessesincreased demand for adaptation supportNew service opportunity


Climate change adaptation essentially means management of risks and opportunities – it should thus be part of the routine management of companies. As a result, the business will be stronger and ready to deal with changing demand and supply.

However, SMEs often lack the necessary skills to conduct thorough climate risk assessments and to develop adaptation strategies. The Climate Expert Approach was developed to help SMEs overcome these barriers. In four steps, it guides companies through the identification of past and future climate change phenomena in their region; evaluation of risks and opportunities for their businesses; prioritization of adaptation measures; and development of an entire adaptation strategy.  


GIZ Info Sheet Climate Expert Approach

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Datum:  10.01.2022