The SEC has voted to require something that firms should already be doing proactively, assessing their vulnerability to climate change and legislative remedies for it. What everyone should recognize, however, is that first generation measures are not enough.
First generation analysis was first-round: a business or agency would inventory its own carbon emissions and the impact that climate change would have on their own operations. This is a good start, and much has been learned.
To go to the next generation, the guiding principle is to evaluate not only your own direct exposure, but also that of important customers, partners and suppliers. You can say it’s their problem, and it is, but it’s also yours. For example, my institutional home, Evergreen State College, has to consider what the consequences will be for student enrollment if fossil fuel prices are increased dramatically. How many commute from distant locations, and how many of these will move to our neighborhood in order to continue their education? If there are likely to be significant shifts in residential patterns that will affect student demand, can we predict them? Are there actions we can take in advance that can minimize the downside of these adjustments or possibly take advantage of the upside?
You could say that what is needed is for organizations to stop looking at themselves as if there were thick lines around their borders and see themselves ecologically.