Businesses Acting on Rising Seas is our primary program aimed at improving business resiliency to climate change.
Our changing climate is causing a higher frequency of extreme weather events such as storms, hurricanes, heat waves and floods. The impact of these events on the employees, operations and finances of small business can be serious. Businesses Acting on Rising Seas is an educational campaign that provides information for local businesses to consider the impacts of climate change in their business growth and planning. As our local business community underpin our economy, we need to support our main streets and ensure the economic vitality of our communities.
CABA’s BARS campaign deploys small teams to educate local businesses about the impacts of climate change. In the past three years, the BARS Campaign has engaged with over 900 businesses in over 20 cities and towns.Through this campaign, CABA has built a better understanding of climate and economic resilience along Massachusetts coastal communities.
The BARS Campaign is unique in that we speak directly with business owners and managers of businesses who are facing the first impacts of climate change. Traditionally, these main street storefronts have been left out in favor of big business voices when discussing climate impacts and responses. Small business owners often lack the financial resources and time necessary to learn about the potential future effects of climate change and relate how they will affect their day-to-day business practices. Our goal with the campaign was to bridge this gap and bring the information right to those who need it most.
BARS 2018 Campaign
For this campaign, we delivered tailored Small Business Resilience Guides to 350 businesses in the state of Massachusetts and conducted in-depth interviews with 100 of these businesses. We developed curated accounts of climate impacts and aggregated data about risk perception and business resiliency.
We engaged with businesses in communities that have experienced climate impacts, many with natural hazard incidents that have triggered a federal or state disaster declaration and are highly susceptible to flooding and extreme weather in the near future. These communities included Newburyport, Plum Island, Essex, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Gloucester, Chelsea, Boston’s Chinatown, Scituate, and Duxbury. We provided tailored resilience guides to help each business prepare for weather events, protect supplies, and re-open sooner after a disaster. The Small Business Resilience Guides feature a flood map of each community, findings from municipal disaster planning, and outline eight steps to enhance resiliency.
In creating the guides and reaching out to the individual communities, we cultivated partnerships with community groups, such as nonprofits, chambers of commerce, rotary clubs, and officials at town halls including town administrators, urban planners, and conservation managers. These groups and individuals had local expertise to ensure our Small Business Resilience Guides contained the most up-to-date, relevant information, and they helped us identify businesses that were local leaders as well as businesses that have been the hardest hit. By working with local groups, we accelerated the impact of our outreach and increased recognition and community trust in our work.
Our 2016 Campaign served as a critical foundation for the 2018 Campaign. We built upon the findings in the 2016 Report. In 2016 CABA worked to educate the local business community in Massachusetts about sea level rise and extreme weather. The 10-week campaign distributed information about climate adaptation and strategies to increase climate preparedness within the business community.