Miami Appoints Chief Heat Officer To Address Climate Impacts

(Credit: Cities Today)

by | Jun 11, 2021

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(Credit: Cities Today)

With climate impacts – heat arguably being the number one – worsening as I wrote earlier this week, public and private enterprises are realizing the need to step up their governance efforts. Earlier this year Miami-Dade County appointed Jane Gilbert as its first Chief Heat Officer, and other cities around the world are expected to follow.

Miami-Dade County is a founding member of the City Champions for Heat Action (CCHA) initiative, which is a program of the Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance (EHRA), organised by the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center.

Across the United States, cities have launched new programs focused on dealing with extreme weather, reflecting the growing impacts of climate change on local communities. Since 2019 at least 30 U.S. cities have taken fresh action such as hiring specialists to combat the impact of extreme weather, including Phoenix, Houston, Louisville, Nashville, and Oakland, according to the Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center.

Corporations have also been ramping up governance approaches to address climate change. As I discussed in May, the role of Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) has become elevated and grown exponentially over the past decade – up 228% since 2011.

Helle Bank Jorgensen, CEO of Competent Boards, an advisory and training firm offering an ESG certificate program for boards and executives, writing about the recent G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Communique, says, “The writing on the wall is clear. It is time to revisit the business strategy and discuss scenarios, transition plans to net-zero and reporting.” The G7 Finance Ministers, after meeting June 4-5, agreed to support a detailed set of actions towards four main themes:

  • Building a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive global economic recovery
  • Transformative effort to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss
  • Continued Support to Low-Income and Vulnerable Countries
  • Shaping a Safe and Prosperous Future for All

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has established the Climate Governance Initiative stating, “Climate change is shaping a new reality, creating risks and opportunities for business in a diverse number of ways. Investors, regulators and other stakeholders are now challenging companies to take responsibility by adopting an integrated, strategic approach to addressing the climate emergency.”

The Climate Governance Initiative is developing a global network of national and regional Chapters to promote the implementation of the Climate Governance Principles. This WEF governance guide proposes tools that can be useful for the board of directors to steer climate risks and opportunities. The governance principles are designed to increase directors’ climate awareness, embed climate issues into board structures and processes and improve navigation of the risks and opportunities that climate change poses to business.

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