Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria have created the costliest hurricane season to date, but this is also part of a trend of increasing frequency of billion-dollar weather disasters. And it’s creating a stark reality for American companies today. As large-scale disasters become more common, businesses must do more to invest in disaster preparedness beyond their own infrastructure and business continuity plans.
The new normal requires business leaders to invest in the resilience of the communities in which they operate. This is not just a moral necessity. Spending on community resilience is also a sound business decision.
Take the pharmaceutical industry for instance. About 50 pharmaceutical plants operated by some of the largest drug companies in the world are located in Puerto Rico. All must now manage a major broken link in their supply chains — the loss of major manufacturing capacity due to the painfully slow recovery process on the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. At the same time, news reports have indicated that many of the plants themselves sustained minimal damage. But lack of power, basic services, infrastructural capabilities, and — most importantly — human resources have prevented all industries from bouncing back months after Maria struck the island.
This is not to suggest that the business community is responsible for Puerto Rico’s recovery challenges. Hurricane Maria was a massively destructive event. However, these struggles are emblematic of the need for businesses to consider a “whole community” approach in disaster planning and investments. They illustrate why business leaders must look outside of their specific interests and expand their roles as partners with the various institutions which they depend on to buy their goods, and upon which their employees rely to live and raise their families.
Read the full article about businesses investing in disaster resilience by Jeff Schlegelmilch, Deputy Director of The National Center for Disaster Preparedness.
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