What it's about:
The Pearl River Delta on China’s south coast is home to the financial hubs of Hong Kong and Shenzhen, but was once a vast agricultural haven. Rapid urbanisation has driven economic development but its low-lying coastal area is still exposed to environmental deterioration and increasing flood risks.
Helen Roeth, a CSR Asia Associate, argues that while urbanisation can drive prosperity, the current uncontrolled growth of cities in Asia’s emerging economies has often undermined people’s quality of life and exacerbated their vulnerabilities to disaster.
One solution she puts forward is to allow the private sector to step in and plug the gap left by municipalities, which are often slow to act and overstretched.
Mitigating vulnerability to natural hazards is, she argues, in the interest of companies who would suffer from huge business disruption costs and supply-chain risks if they did not take steps to address disasters before they occur.
Why it's noteworthy:
The focus on economic growth has dominated the governance of many Asian cities with environmental protection often an afterthought.
However, in 2016 financial losses due to man-made disasters globally amounted to around $158 billion, according to insurance giant Swiss Re. Companies are slowly realising the importance of disaster risk management to their survival, and must find ways to keep both their staff and assets safe.
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