Category Archives: Resilient Virginia News

Walking The Talk: Business Resilience Planning at Facility Engineering Associates

by Maureen Roskoski, CFM, SFP, LEED AP O+M,
Senior Professional, Corporate Sustainability Officer
Facility Engineering Associates

Business Resilience is the ability to rapidly adapt and respond to business disruptions while maintaining continuous business operations. Business resilience planning provides guidance for ensuring the ability to respond, resume, and restore to a pre-determined level of operation following a disruption. At FEA, we help our clients strive for resilience through comprehensive planning that takes a holistic and long-term view of the threats and their individual enterprise in order to ensure that the business is prepared to avoid, mitigate, and recover from adverse events. But, what were we doing ourselves? Were we walking the talk?

Facility Engineering AssociatesThe mission of FEA is to provide facility managers and owners with progressive and innovative solutions to engineering and facility lifecycle challenges. Thus, it is critical that FEA maintain a robust business resilience program to ensure the stability of operations and services for our partners, our community, and our clients around the world. To make sure that we had an effective program, we decided to pursue certification under the ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management Systems standard. Our journey started in 2015 with a commitment from the FEA Board of Directors to allocate time and resources to our ISO certification. Our certification planning process was comprised of the five steps shown in Figure 1.

FEA ISO Certification Steps

Figure 1: FEA ISO Certification Steps

Like many organizations, FEA had some documentation related to what to do in the event of an emergency. We had evacuation procedures and were confident we could get everyone out of the building if needed. But what happens as everyone is standing in the parking lot and we are told we can’t get back in to the building for a significant period of time? We needed a plan. We used the ISO standard to build it. It provides a good framework for developing not only a business continuity plan, but a full management system, framed around the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (See Figure 2).

ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management Framework

Figure 2: ISO 22301 Business Continuity Management Framework

Through the ISO certification planning process, we expanded our organizational resilience in clear and tangible ways by creating, implementing, and training on business continuity and emergency response procedures. Effective business resilience planning includes critical elements that became evident to us as we went through the ISO certification process including:

  1. Management engagement: Engagement with leadership is crucial to generate enthusiasm and gain support for allocation of employee time.
  2. Accountability: Clear roles and responsibilities, reporting requirements, and follow-through allow for decisions to be made and roles of authority to be addressed.
  3. Business Impact Analysis (BIA): This effort allows you to truly identify the critical processes that are needed to continue to function and how soon you need them up and running.
  4. Balance detail with ease of use: Plans and procedures need to be detailed but also need to be user-friendly and easy to implement.
  5. Employee engagement: Everyone plays a role in business resilience so everyone needs to be aware and engaged in the process.

Other tangible outputs of our planning process were the employee handbooks that we created. First, our “Safety 1st” handbook outlined specific procedures to follow in many different emergency situations. Second, our “Readiness Handbook” was a user-friendly short guide that combined the most important points of the emergency preparedness procedures and our business continuity procedures. These handbooks were great engagement tools, provided procedures to exercise, and continually serve as reminders to employees of what their responsibility is during a particular event.

FEA ISO certification

FEA pursued the certification to strengthen our organizational resilience and to enhance our ability to continue our business during a disruptive event. We achieved ISO certification under the 22301 Business Continuity Management Systems standard for FEA’s Fairfax Office in January of 2016. The certification is a great achievement, but the journey to certification, although challenging, was by far the greatest benefit. We invigorated a core team of business continuity professionals, engaged with our employees companywide, and created a culture of organizational resilience. Everyone at FEA, in all of the offices, is part of Business Resilience. With our ISO 22301 certification, FEA has put into practice the system we advise our clients to implement to help ensure strong operational resilience, corporate governance, and crisis management planning. To learn more about FEA and Business Resilience, visit http://www.feapc.com/services/facility-asset-management/business-resilience/

Resiliency, Sustainability, and Economic Opportunities in the DC Region: October 20 Event

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Resiliency, Sustainability, and Economic Opportunities in the DC Region

Organized by Leaders in Energy and Resilient Virginia

When: October 20, 6:00–8:30PM

Where: Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments

777 North Capitol Street NE, Washington, DC 20002
Training Room First Floor

Our speakers:

Storm Cunningham: International speaker and author of books including “The Restoration Economy” and “ReWealth.” He will give the “big picture” perspective by examining where economic opportunities based on “restorative development”  and “resilient prosperity” intersect with natural resource restoration, climate change adaptation, and disaster resilience.

Harrison Newton: Chief Manager responsible for launching the District of Columbia’s 100 Resilient Cities program. Washington, DC has just been awarded a Rockefeller Foundation 100 Resilient Cities grant. Find out what this will mean as they move forward to become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century.

Dwane Jones, Ph.D.: Director of the Center for Sustainable Development and Resilience, University of the District of Columbia. His Center has developed urban agriculture programs and food hubs in Washington, DC to help revitalize urban communities, provide healthier food options, and offer economic opportunities for residents.

Welcoming remarks: Stephen Walz, Director of Environmental Programs, Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG). MWCOG has developed the “Building a Climate Resilient National Capital Region” strategy to coordinate federal and community efforts.

Moderator: Annette Osso: Managing Director of Resilient Virginia.

Register today to secure your seat for this look at innovative approaches to environmental restoration, prosperity, and resilience-building.

General admission ticket includes program, pizza, and beverages. Early bird rates are available through Thursday, October 13th.  Student and jobseekers rates are also available.

Hear All About It! PrepareAthon Organizers on Richmond’s PBS Station (88.9 FM)

PrepareAthon 2016 took place August 27, 2016, and offered participants activities and information focused on emergency preparedness; sustainable lifestyle options such as energy saving homes, local food, healthy lifestyles, and stormwater; and adaptation strategies such as installing solar or wind systems. Local emergency responders, including Richmond Fire and Emergency Services and Red Cross representatives, were available, and hands-on workshops — for example, build your own emergency preparedness kit or rain barrel — and a variety of hands-on activities for children and adults were part of the event.

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New Economic Assessment Resources Now Available

By Allison Meade, Resilient Virginia Intern,
and Rising Senior, Cornell University Biology and Society Major

Recent updates to the Resources portion of the Resilient Virginia website have allowed for the inclusion of three economic assessments related to climate change. These reports, which were written and published by well-known names such as Michael Bloomberg and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, approach the economic impact of climate change by assessing the risks presented and costs of inaction.

Risky BusinessThe first of the three is called Risky Business, The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States. It was published in June 2014 and co-chaired by Michael Bloomberg, Henry Paulson Jr. and Thomas Steyer. The report introduces climate risk by region, covering the continental U.S. as well as Alaska and Hawaii, and explores next steps to take in risk management. The research used for the report combines peer-reviewed climate science projections through 2100 and derived estimates of the impacts of the projected changes in temperature, precipitation, sea levels, and storm activity on the national economy (Risky Business).

Climate Change: Cost of Inaction for Maryland's EconomyThe second report was produced in November 2015 by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions and is entitled Climate Change: Cost of Inaction for Maryland’s Economy. The report builds on their publication, American Climate Prospectus, in estimating how climate change will affect infrastructure, tourism, ecosystems, agriculture, water resources, and human health. The report also includes an updated version of the costs of inaction that were previously in the Maryland Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

Resilient CitiesThe third economic assessment resource was produced as a Grosvenor Research Report in April 2015 and is called Resilient Cities. As a private property group, Grosvenor conducted this research to help their clients move beyond classic definitions of property risk, and fully take into account the shifting patterns contributing to the uncertain future of real estate across the globe. The report quantifies the resilience of 50 of the most important cities in the world, based on two key components of resiliency: vulnerability and adaptive capacity.

With regard to vulnerability, the study analyzed five different themes. First, cities were assessed for vulnerability to physical events resulting from climate change, including sea level change, hurricanes and typhoons, floods, droughts, and mass movements of populations. Under the second theme, environment, threats from all types of pollution and overconsumption of resources were measured. The third theme included a measurement of each city’s ability to provide access to food, energy, and water at a reasonable cost. Fourth, the cities were evaluated according to their level of housing and transport infrastructure along with basic utilities. Lastly, each city’s internal tensions were assessed with regard to factors such as affordable housing, education and health, religious and cultural freedom, crime-free living conditions, and business environments.

The adaptive capacity component was also based on five areas of city performance. First, the cities were evaluated for democratic governing, freedom of speech and community involvement. Second, cities were assessed based on long-term projects and the associated groups involved. Third, the technical advancement of each city was evaluated through existing monitoring organizations and the technical expertise of institutions. Disaster management programs were evaluated in the fourth area of city performance, making budget resources and funding the last assessment theme for adaptive capacity.

Based on the five areas of each component, cities were placed on a ranking scale for both vulnerability and adaptive capacity, and an overall scale combining both. The study concluded that the top three most resilient cities are located in Canada, with two U.S. cities following close behind. The study also concluded that the cities that will be facing the strain of great population growth in the future are also those with the least adaptive capacities.

Each of these articles can be found under the publications section of the resources tab on the Resilient Virginia website.

2016 Resilient Virginia Conference-Related Publications Now Available

banner-2016-rva-conferenceBy Allison Meade, Resilient Virginia Intern,
and Rising Senior, Cornell University Biology and Society Major

In order to provide readers direct access to timely reports that were referenced at the March 2016 Conference, Resilient Virginia has posted some of them on our Resources page (www.resilientvirginia.org/resources/publications). These resources vary in content, from agricultural and water mitigation techniques to a rating system for sustainable infrastructure, although they all connect to the idea of resiliency.

norfolk-resiliency-planOf the resources, notable reads include the Norfolk Resiliency Plan, NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide, Climate Change Adaptation for Agriculture, and the Nature Conservancy Guide for Incorporating Ecosystem Service Valuation into Coastal Restoration Projects. These all provide examples of local, state or regional initiatives to plan for mitigation and adaptation strategies that will help establish resilient communities across the country.

guide-for-incorporating-ecosystem-service-valuationThe posted resources are intended to serve local governments, businesses, and community organizations as examples of ongoing activities promoting resiliency planning and potentially frameworks for future actions. You can also view many of the presentations given at the 2016 Resilient Virginia Conference at http://resilientvirginia.org/buildings/2016-conference. All publications shared by Resilient Virginia can be found at this link.

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