When discussing coastal resilience, one component of the community is often not present at the table: the private sector. The 2019 Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) Conference focused on “The Ps of Resilience: Planning, Partnerships, and Paying for It All.”
“We need the business community—the private sector—at the table,” said Elizabeth Andrews, director of VCPC at the William & Mary Law School. “We need their leadership, we need their resources, and we need their expertise.”
The conference helped bridge the gap between the private sector and the other groups involved in resilience efforts: academics, non-profits, and government. The conference built upon previous workshops hosted by VCPC that focused on funding mechanisms for resilience and involving more community partners in resilience efforts.
Planning for Resilience
Representatives from other states along the East Coast discussed their own experiences with funding and planning resilience projects. John Cleveland, executive director of the Boston Green Ribbon Commission, discussed the Climate Ready Boston discussed their plans and funding strategy for a high-growth area of the city vulnerable to Sea Level Rise.
Other presentations included Rhode Island’s “Resilient Rhody” plan to protect the state’s coastlines that provide water resources and tourism, and how Maryland’s open data portal and climate leadership academy helped different departments coordinate resilience efforts. A second panel, chief resiliency officers from Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina discussed resilience projects in their localities.
Paying for Resilience
The afternoon keynote speaker Leonard Jones, the managing director for public finance at Moody’s Investors Service, discussed how climate change impacts are considered in the credit rating process. While a locality’s vulnerability to climate does not directly affect their credit, Jones noted that resilient cities are more likely to improve their credit rating indirectly through the factors that are considered.
One panel on banking discussed the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which incentivizes banks and financial institutions to invest in the communities where they do business. The panel discussed what types of investments meet the requirements of the CRA, and how resilience projects might fall within the scope of CRA investments.
In another panel, representatives from Newport News Shipbuilding, and Sentara Norfolk General Hospital gave examples of how the private sector addresses their own resilience challenges. For Sentara General Hospital in Norfolk, resilience requires logistical coordination to ensure that critical machines will be able to run, there are sufficient supplies for patients and staff to weather the storm and wait out flooding.
In the shipyard, careful protocols ensure that the ships being repaired will be protected during storms. Dominion Energy is expanding their renewable energy sources, and is working toward a self-healing grid to reduce outages.
The 2019 Virginia Coastal Policy Center (VCPC) Conference focused on “The Ps of Resilience: Planning, Partnerships, and Paying for It All.”
Partnering for Resilience
During the conference, Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources Matthew Strickler announced the Governor’s Executive Order 45, the Virginia Flood Risk Management Standard, which established floodplain management requirements for state agencies, institutions, and property.
Rear Admiral (Ret.) Ann Phillips, Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, discussed her progress on Virginia’s Coastal Resilience Master Plan and the importance of partnerships to strengthen the Commonwealth’s resilience.
“We are about providing information to those who need it—to localities, to planning districts, to businesses, and communities,” Phillips said. “Last year, we focused on building a resilient Virginia, and this year, we want to talk about partnerships and how to move forward in that context.”
For more details on the conference presentations and agenda, visit the VCPC website.
Photos by Aileen Devlin | Virginia Sea Grant
Written by Madeleine Jepsen | Virginia Sea Grant
Visit here to view more photographs from the conference.
Published Dec. 24, 2019
“Last year, we focused on building a resilient Virginia, and this year, we want to talk about partnerships and how to move forward in that context.” Phillips said