By Caitlin Mattias
What do floods in Thailand have to do with business in Silicon Valley?
We live in a world that’s increasingly interconnected; the ramifications of a global supply chain faces consumers on a daily basis, whether you’re buying bananas in the produce section of your grocery store shipped from Ecuador or surfing the web. Oceans are warming, polar ice caps are melting and it is widely recognized that the world’s climate is changing and this is having a global impact now and will accelerate in the future. From massive hurricanes to droughts, fires to floods - volatile weather events caused by climate change have a butterfly effect with results stretching throughout the globe.
In the case of the Thai floods in 2011, one-third of the country was left under water, a truly devastating situation for the citizens of that country. But the Silicon Valley was also hit by the results of this catastrophe. The floods contributed to Intel lowering their Q4 guidance due to concerns about sourcing hard-disk drives, in which Thailand was a key leg in the supply chain. If another such incident resulted in depleting the world’s supply of computing hardware totally, imagine the impact on industry: prices drive up, business expansion could stall and the economy of an entire region could dive.
Sustainable Silicon Valley (SSV), a consortium of non-profit, business, government and educational institutions in the Silicon Valley, aims to ensure that businesses quantify the risk attached with climate change and start planning for potential changes that might come over time. On Thursday, May 24, SSV will host the annual WEST (Water, Energy, Smart Technology) Summit at Santa Clara University to educate and evaluate the “Impact of Climate Change on Global Trade and Regional Resiliency.”
Attendees will be challenged to revisit the way their businesses and organizations are planning for the future, quantifying and factoring the risk associated with climate change (the past in no longer a predictor for the future ), and the impact that a changing environment might have on their supply chains, sustainability strategies, business plans and budgets. Speakers from Foundation Earth, IBM, SAP, Stanford University, Cisco, Mitsubishi, UPS and HP will join leaders from the Silicon Valley to help businesses take the first step down the road to innovating and planning for a more sustainable future.
The future can never be certain, but by joining together the greatest minds in the Bay Area, solutions leading to substantive change in our environment are possible. Join us at the WEST Summit to find out how you can play a part in effecting true regional change.