As the climate crisis continues to intensify, attention is turning not just to how we can mitigate and adapt to climate change but how to foster resilience among the communities most affected by it.

We know that the impacts of climate change are distributed unequally, with women, communities of color and the Global South bearing the disproportionate brunt of climate disasters and resource shortages. We also know that climate resilience and financial resilience go hand in hand. If communities aren’t economically stable, they won’t be climate disaster-prepared, whether that means access to well-built green homes, being insured against climate disasters or having safe and accessible water systems or access to energy in the event of a water or energy emergency.

And if communities aren’t climate resilient, they won’t be economically resilient in an increasingly climate-uncertain world.

This isn’t just a matter of justice. It’s also a business and public sector imperative. If you’re a business that has big warehouse facilities in Houston, for example, you need sustainable energy in the event the electric grid goes down in the wake of a hurricane. If your business is in the food industry, you need local, resilient supply chains able to withstand weather shocks, crops that can thrive under different weather conditions and transport options that work in the event of a climate disaster. Food, housing (including heating and cooling), healthcare, energy, water, communications and more — all components of local resilience.

To achieve this, we need strong infrastructure and local sustainable businesses across every sector that are part of a climate-resilient economy — all informed by local expertise and creating good, green jobs. We also need to make sure that women, and especially women of color, are involved in all parts of the value chain: as leaders, entrepreneurs, employees, customers and investors.

It is only by recognizing the talent and innovation in frontline communities that we will create businesses and solutions that are financially sustainable, with the social license to operate in the communities they serve and that truly solve the problems they are designed to solve.

Read the full article about climate resilience and gender by Suzanne Biegel at GreenBiz.