Australian property developers have been warned climate change impacts could expose them to significant financial risk.
The advice from Net Balance, Australia’s largest sustainability advisory firm is to start factoring in climate impacts immediately.
"While the local government have understood climate risk and opportunity for some time, the property sector is lagging behind," said Net Balance Director, Neil Salisbury.
"Climate change poses a significant risk to human settlements, particularly in Australia with our love of living in coastal and highly treed areas. These environments will see the brunt of climate change impact – rising seas levels, increased storm events and bushfire threat."
"We know of property developers who have purchased land and then applied for planning permits only to be confronted by a range of climate change issues that they had not factored in to the purchase cost, resulting in significant financial burden.
"Then there are others who have purchased land now with an aim to develop in the future without considering how that landscape is likely to change in ten or twenty years.
"There is also the impact on other stakeholders such as local government, which has to deal with the implications of developments that have proceeded without consideration of climate change," said Mr Salisbury.
According to Net Balance, while current policy settings provide little impetus for developers to consider climate risk, the issue is too great a threat not to start the discussion now.
Companies that take a lead will benefit by reducing financial risk but they can also play a lead role in helping to shape the regulatory framework.
"We understand there is confusion and a lack of discussion in this area but it is vital that we start the conversation and turn talk in action," said Mr Salisbury.
Net Balance is partnering with DLA Piper to host breakfast events in Melbourne 30 October, Brisbane 1 November and Sydney 7 November 2013. Bringing together property developers and key stakeholders the event will discuss the current state of play, key risks to the sector and how developers can prepare and respond to climate change.
Neil Salisbury, Director, 0433 302 453
Kathryn Franklin, Senior Adviser, 0419 883 928