Developing resilience for small businesses affected by climate change

Climate change has often been looked at as only an environmental issue (Weems & Subramaniam, 2017). However, now that island communities are seeing the impacts of climate change and how the changes could potentially affect people’s livelihoods, it is has become a social and economic issue. Most of the companies in Guam fit the US Small Business Association’s definition of a “small business”: one with fewer than 500 employees. Thus, from an economic perspective in Guam, it is important to note how climate change impacts are increasing the costs and risks to small businesses. It is becoming increasingly necessary to evaluate whether the small business owners in Guam are aware of these climate issues and whether they are prepared to deal with these impacts and in what ways.

As a step towards developing better resilience, this research project will explore the current awareness and readiness of Guam’s small businesses to adapt to a changing climate and the impacts associated with climate change. We plan to survey up to 400 small Guam businesses, and conduct informal interviews, to evaluate whether the owners are aware of the possible impacts of climate change and whether they currently have plans to cope with them. The results of the surveys and interviews will inform the planning of a workshop to reach out to small business owners in the spring of 2018.

A family wades across a flooded road in Tumon, Guam
Flooding in Tumon from worsening storms is an inconvenience for pedestrians and drivers but can be very costly to small businesses. (Photo: Pacific Daily News)




Romina King
Professor of Geography, University of Guam


Marcel Higgs
Micronesian Studies Department, University of Guam