Phase one comprised a telephone methodology using a 12-15 minute questionnaire. The questionnaire assessed both the effects of, and opportunities presented, by both extreme weather and changing legislation in relation to CO2 emissions and climate change generally. Data was collected from 305 Directors, Managers or other senior personnel, at businesses located across the North East and at the end of the questionnaire all respondents were asked whether they would be willing to take part in phase two.
Phase two respondents were recruited based on the answers to two questions. A high priority list was compiled based on those who said they thought that both changing weather patterns and changes to CO2 legislation could present opportunities for the business and a medium priority list was devised from those who thought either extreme weather or changing CO2 legislation could present opportunities.
The Managing Director, Head of Public Knowledge and Operations Manager conducted 30 digitally recorded in-depth interviews with these companies. Interviews were based around a 30-40 minute semi-structured interview guide focusing on opportunities presented by climate change and as an incentive businesses were offered the chance to meet with an expert to discuss the effects of climate change on the business.
The results of both surveys were vital in being able to show Climate North East, that there are real concerns and challenges facing businesses across the region in terms of both extreme weather and the move to a lower carbon economy but that many businesses of positive about the opportunities that this can also present.
Two years later Public Knowledge were commissioned by Climate North East to re-administer the quantitative survey amongst North East based businesses and a further 300 interviews were conducted using a modified but comparative questionnaire to assess any changes in the intervening period.
The results showed that 60 per cent of businesses in North East England had been adversely affected by severe weather events, including rain and flooding, over the previous two years and the recent high rainfall only further highlighted the disruptive effect this can have on businesses and individuals alike.
Both surveys were vital in being able to show Climate North East that there are real concerns and challenges facing businesses across the region in terms of both extreme weather and the move to a lower carbon economy. However the later survey also indicated that many businesses had taken action in the interim period in response to extreme weather.
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