Asia has the world’s riskiest cities facing environmental consequences. Can business leaders mitigate this?

Asia has the world’s riskiest cities facing environmental consequences. Can business leaders mitigate this?

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Overall, the highest-risk cities belonged to China, India, and Indonesia. However, other cities such as those in Japan, Malaysia, or in city-state Singapore aren’t too far behind.

Risk consultancy Verisk Maplecroft recently (13 May) released a report stating that 99 of the world’s 100 riskiest cities facing huge environmental consequences are in Asia, where the majority belonged to China and India.

The firm’s dataset, which draws on various risk indices to evaluate the liveability, investment potential and operational risk landscape of cities with a population over 1mn, summarised Asian cities are most prone to environmental threats like pollution and natural disasters. Asia is also the next region behind Africa and the Americas expected to suffer most from the effects of climate change, such as environment degradation.

Asian cities are most threatened

In the report, two cities, Delhi and Jakarta, were listed as the highest-risk locations overall. This is because India has air and water pollution perennially plaguing its country. Indonesia, on the other, has not only pollution but also natural hazards like seismic activity and flooding.

Other cities facing possible environmental risks feature Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Wuhan.

One thing to note, using pollution matrix alone, Singapore isn’t particularly safe from it. The Republic, in fact, ranks as one of the few cities with a ‘Risk: High’ along with the likes of Shanghai and Tokyo. And riskier than Sydney, Auckland, and Ulaanbaatar.

While the risks from natural disasters are widespread across most regions, East Asian countries like China and Japan, Verisk Maplecroft reported, have cities most at risk. Reasons being both countries—with cities like Guangzhou and Tokyo—are exposed to flood and earthquakes.

Singapore, in this case, protected by various neighbouring countries, is the safest Asian city, globally matching up to European cities like Helsinki and Tashkent.

Notably, Asian cities are featured behind cities in Africa and America when it comes to the climate change. Cities like Kananga and Port-au-Prince are predicted to be direct patients, on the basis of existing environmental risks, such as bush fires, deforestation, and soil degradation, to name a few.

That said, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, being in the mix with high-risk cities like Karachi, Manila, Jakarta, Chennai, proved that they, too, can suffer from effects of climate change.

The time to act now

"What our analysis shows is that environmental risk needs,” said Will Nichols, the firm’s Head of Environment and Climate Change, “to be a central consideration when it comes to making your business, investments or real estate portfolio more resilient.”

“Organisations unable to account for the full spectrum of environmental threats and impacts will face some difficult conversations.”

What then can business leaders do to improve the situation? They can learn a trick or two from their business counterparts Amazon and Tesla, which produce regular sustainability impact reports on their progress. Those who prefer to start small can always look at initiatives closer to local shores. This can range from subscribing to renewable energy, and investing in electric vehicles (EVs), to revamping supply and production networks to meet the highest environmental standards.

In Singapore, for example, there are plenty of areas an organisation can contribute to the country’s Green Plan 2030. It can be as simple as adopting the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle) policy, conserving water, and planting more trees via the OneMillionTrees movement. If leaders are willing, the organisation can join different sustainability projects with the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) like the Energy Efficiency National Partnership (EENP) or the Project Eco Office.

Nichols reiterated that by identifying these risks and stressing strategies for future climate scenarios, it will help investors gain a clearer view of the costs and benefits of investment decisions.

Photo / Unsplash

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