Abstract

As the effects of climate change grow more severe, millions of people in the United States and around the world will relocate away from hazards. This climate-induced relocation, or “climigration,” will have significant consequences for the private sector. Businesses that operate or serve populations in risky areas; developers and real estate agents who build or sell vulnerable real estate; banks, insurers, and financiers whose portfolios include at-risk properties should all consider what innovative and profitable paths they might create to facilitate this transformation. Rather than wait for government and civil society to develop proactive options, companies could devise ways to incentivize property owners and communities to move to safety before their homes and infrastructure are damaged or destroyed. Companies who engage early could enjoy a first-mover advantage and position themselves to mitigate the reputational, financial, and regulatory risks created by climate uncertainties. There are numerous benefits for private sector engagement in climate adaptation, which others have described. Our purpose here is to highlight climate-induced relocation as a type of adaptation that involves unique risks and opportunities for those in the business of community investment and development.

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