Climate Change’s Health Impacts Now a Focus of Workforce Resilience Plans

Climate Change’s Health Impacts Now a Focus of Workforce Resilience Plans
January 25, 2023 8 mins

Climate Change’s Health Impacts Now a Focus of Workforce Resilience Plans

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Climate change has a negative impact on employee health and wellbeing. More employers are addressing these challenges.

Key Takeaways
  1. Climate change impacts the health and wellbeing of employees in a variety of ways that can be measured and mitigated.
  2. Employers are starting to measure the impact of climate change on employee wellbeing and incorporate that into workforce resilience plans.
  3. Location analytics is one way employers are looking at solutions to mitigate climate risk to employees.

Climate change’s health consequences, which are well documented, are expected to become an even bigger problem due to worsening air quality, deadlier heatwaves and more frequent and severe natural disasters.

Employers are contending with a variety of challenges from the human health effects of climate change; these include direct health issues like heat stroke, asthma and emotional distress and indirect factors such as worker absenteeism, reduced productivity and supply chain disruption.

As organizations focus on developing a resilient and agile workforce, they are factoring in how a changing climate affects health and how that shapes their goals. This can mean:

  • enhancing plans to help their workforce contend with changing health and safety conditions,
  • limiting outdoor work during unsafe conditions,
  • developing contingency plans for locations not traditionally considered prone to certain natural disasters, but which are now susceptible, and
  • ensuring healthcare access for vulnerable populations.

This topic is also getting more attention from global climate stakeholders. In October 2022, the World Health Organization and the World Meteorological Organization launched ClimaHealth, a digital platform to inform actions “to protect populations from the health risks of climate change.”

A month later, the United Nations COP27 meeting discussed the health impacts of climate change. The Sharm el-Sheikh Implementation Plan devised at the end of COP27 notably addressed the role of climate on human health and different population groups; when taking action to address climate change, it advised, parties should “respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples, local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations.”

Risk, health and human capital stakeholders can come together in innovative ways to help companies protect their people after natural disasters. In one recent example, Aon worked with a large technology firm in the United States to separate what would cause a trigger for a catastrophe bond (an earthquake, in this case) and put that toward a one-time payment to colleagues to help them through a disruption to their lives. The cat bond was created 20 years ago as a property insurance concept to rebuild the company’s physical offices, but the firm wanted to modify the trigger to become more relevant to its business and people today.


Estimated direct global economic losses resulting from natural disasters in 2022.

Source: Aon’s 2023 Weather, Climate and Catastrophe Report

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Companies need the ability to ensure workers displaced from climate-related natural disasters are protected and safe and can continue to be effective employees.

Location analytics and job assessments also play a role in protecting a business and its employees. When dealing with a natural disaster, if a resilient and agile organization knows where its people are and which roles can be performed remotely, it can redeploy resources so affected employees can work from safer locations and still be productive.

Climate-related events may not only result in poor physical health; they can impact employees’ mental and emotional wellbeing. A resilient workforce can proactively address the holistic needs of employees, and wellbeing tools should be readily available to help employees when they need it most — whether that be mental health benefits or flexible time off.

In short, a successful people-driven organization:

  • has the resilience to bounce back during volatility
  • is agile enough to bounce forward and seize opportunities for growth
  • is engaged with employees to repeat this process.

When an organization is developing programs to achieve these goals, it’s critical to include how a changing climate impacts people — and that includes its significant influence on our health.

Climate change can have a significant and long-lasting impact on the health and wellbeing of employees; therefore, it’s important that employers measure and mitigate these risks. To learn more about the impact globally of climate-related events, please refer to Aon’s 2023 Weather, Climate and Catastrophe Insights Report.

General Disclaimer

The information contained herein and the statements expressed are of a general nature and are not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavor to provide accurate and timely information and use sources we consider reliable, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation.

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