The Economic Implications: How Weather and Cost-Driven Disruptions Influence the Global Market



Indiana Lee | Global Trade Magazine

Climate change is an issue that is felt on both a human and economic level. Environmental changes affect the global food supply, individual health, and the job market. Sudden and long-term changes can affect the production of much-needed resources, leading to a delay in delivery or the elimination of an essential product or service. Let’s examine how weather conditions can cause significant changes in the global market and what efforts are being made to regulate them.

The Effects of Weather Disruptions on the Supply Chain

For many businesses, the supply chain is an international issue. Domestic interactions can be costly, so outsourcing labor and resources across the sea is often an unavoidable task. For example, flood-related damage in China has a huge effect on crop yield, forcing the country to face a hefty $25 billion economic blow. This means businesses in the Western Hemisphere that rely on Chinese agricultural exports may not be able to produce necessary items for grocery stores or, say, create holistic wellness items.

These types of events force businesses to look elsewhere for the materials, labor, and other areas of the supply chain they need to amend. For reference, let’s take a look at the restaurant industry. Climate change, among other factors like COVID-19, has given way to increased food costs. Essential items, like grain and meat, have risen in price. Avian flu and temporary price increases at the beginning of 2023 caused restaurants to eliminate a good portion of meat-based meals from their menus.

Supply issues like these mean employees are also not being offered wages in alignment with recent inflation and the rising demands of their jobs. This gives way to larger economic issues that can potentially restructure the way we do business globally.

How Extreme Weather Events Affect Transportation Costs

Climate change and extreme weather events don’t only affect things like food production. It plays a huge role in the cost of transportation. Transportation is a necessary part of doing business. You need a method of transferring resources to a processing plant and then the completed product to a warehouse where it is shipped to yet another location.

Ultimately, climate change affects multiple areas of transportation in the global market. Since burning fossil fuels contributes to climate change, it causes a cyclic effect on transportation costs. Extremely hot weather can affect the performance of oil refineries, which then causes a delay in fuel production, making gas prices higher.

Also, there is the matter of delivery fees, which affects both businesses and consumers. Consumers tend to foot the bill for delivery fees since it can be a huge financial blow for businesses to take care of this fee themselves. Unpredictable weather can affect air freight schedules, and unusual snowfall can prevent trucks from making deliveries in a timely manner. Evolving climate conditions force consumers to eventually pay more in delivery fees.

To lower transportation costs, businesses should consider using energy-efficient vehicles to stave off the growing fuel costs. Should this not be an option, you can also consider using a diesel delivery service, which ensures all trucks are receiving high-quality fuel on a set schedule.

Combating Climate Change

Though climate change isn’t something that can be altered by a single person or entity, businesses can still do their part to create a more sustainable global market through several strategies and innovative technologies.

First, consider optimizing your supply chain by staying local. Use local vendors to create a reserve inventory and try not to outsource a large portion of your business operations overseas. This will reduce fuel costs and benefit the local economy at the same time. Second, invest in sustainable technological practices. Using solar power for warehouses can have a significant impact on energy costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Agricultural industries can make adjustments to livestock handling as well to reduce negative environmental impact. Exploring lab-grown meat or creating an emphasis on plant-based meat alternatives for the restaurant and food industry can make a huge difference in issues like water pollution as well as toxic emissions.

Reducing your carbon footprint may not seem like the most cost-effective solution at first, but doing your part to combat climate change will only fare your business well in the long term. Consumers will be more apt to purchase your products or services if they see your practices are environmentally friendly. You will also end up financially benefiting from stable supply chain costs as climate change efforts increase.

The Big Picture

Eco-friendly business strategies are essential for increased performance and keeping costs stable across the board. Staying well-informed about sustainable supply chain practices and the location and environment of all areas of your business cannot be understated. At the end of the day, switching over to energy-efficient transportation options and investing in climate-friendly tech is just good for business – it provides a chance for future generations and industries to thrive.

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