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As The Climate Warms, Companies Are Scrambling To Calculate The Risk To Their Profits

Every year, the company Ingredion buys millions of tons of corn and cassava from farmers and turns them into starches and sugars that go into foods like soft drinks, yogurt and frozen meals.

Lots of things can go wrong along the way. Weather can destroy crops. Machinery can break.

Lately, though, Ingredion’s top executives have been worried about a new kind of risk: what might happen in a hotter planet.

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“That could be anything, [from] where climate change is impacting the crops we purchase, to water availability driven by climate change,” says Brian Nash, Ingredion’s head of sustainability.

Ingredion isn’t alone. “Any publicly traded company, I think, is under increasing pressure from the investment community to articulate what we see as our upcoming climate risk,” Nash says. That’s partly because of prodding from an international organization called the Financial Stability Board, which set up a task force chaired by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to help companies voluntary disclose such risks.

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