December 21, 2018

A New Beginning

Joel Nodelman

About the Author

Joel is an engineer and risk management specialist with over forty years of professional practice. He is committed to helping his clients achieve climate resiliency and sustainability.

16 Years

Over the last sixteen years at Nodelcorp, Joan and I worked on over 140 different projects.  In the early days of the company, we worked primarily on greenhouse gas mitigation.  We sorted out emission profiles for our clients and developed greenhouse gas reduction strategies.  About ten years ago, the direction of our work changed.  More and more we were asked to formulate strategies to respond to extreme weather events.  This led to our intimate involvement in the development methods for assessing climate change risk and vulnerability.  We also used those tools to evaluate climate change risk on a wide range of infrastructure systems, across Canada and internationally. 

Shifting Client Needs

Over the last few years, we have noted several shifts in our clients’ needs.  First, we are finding that more often than not, our clients want an integrated project that addresses both climate change adaptation and mitigation issues in one cohesive package.  Second, increasingly clients ask us to provide analysis of social and economic impacts of climate change on their operation.  At first, we were somewhat perplexed by these requests.  Historically these issues were managed by different departments within the client organization.  There was often poor communication and even hostility between these various departments.  While we encouraged the integrated approach, upon delivery, we could see that these ingrained silos created hurdles for our clients.  Adoption of unified approaches to address climate change was limited.

Enterprise Risk

In 2009, the International Standard Organization (ISO) published ISO-31000, a standard to guide the implementation of enterprise risk management (ERM).  Around the same time, the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO) released a similar document that provides guidance on establishing ERM, drawing on their experience with financial risk management; COSO-ERM.  These documents provide a framework for instituting holistic risk management approaches that cover hazard, operational, financial and strategic risks faced by organizations.  

As we became aware of these standards, and increasingly worked with them on behalf of our clients, we realized that ERM specifically addressed our clients’ wishes.  Integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies, addressing social and economic factors, is at its very core enterprise risk management.  Balancing responses to these pressures and allocating budgets fairly across an organization is fundamentally ERM.  

With this understanding, we now approach client needs with a broader perspective based on ERM principles.  We endeavour to balance the various pressures faced by decision-makers and provide them with appropriate tools to respond to climate change within the context of their day-to-day operations.  These responses are not add on projects that will fade into a distant memory. Instead, they must be integrated into the organization’s management, operations, and most important, culture.  

Enhanced Qualifications

With this in mind, we have now enhanced our skill sets by qualifying for Canadian Risk Management (CRM) professional designations.  We will apply these skills, in conjunction with our baseline skillsets in science, management, and engineering to provide superior service offerings to our clients.  

We are Here to Help

Feel free to contact us to discuss your enterprise climate resiliency needs.

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