Adaptation Here to Stay:
GAIN Index 2012 Unveiled at Princeton
With Positive Response From Diverse Group


WASHINGTON, DC – At a Princeton University public seminar yesterday, the Global Adaptation Institute (GAIN) released its second annual update of the GAIN Index. Adaptation is here to stay and the GAIN Index 2012 provides information to help guide investment in adaptation (read more about the tool’s methodology in the “GAIN Index 2012” section on the back).

“In recent months, we have seen people suffering, companies shutting down and jobs lost due to weather events,” said GAIN Founding CEO Dr. Juan José Daboub at the October 15 unveiling  “From Bangkok, Thailand, to the U.S., these challenges have lost lives and affected livelihoods. Flooding in Thailand shut down 800 factories employing 450,000 workers and computer hard drive prices increased 250 percent. Flooding in the Philippines forced 780,000 people from their homes. Hundreds were killed in Pakistan because of the floods in 2011 and 2012. Global wheat stocks will drop 13 percent due to record drought in Australia and the U.S.”

Public funding is increasing, but it is important that the private sector becomes more engaged as the livelihoods of their employees, their supply chains and their markets all face disruption without immediate action.

“Over the past year we have listened to users of the GAIN Index from the private and public sectors and the NGO community. On delving into the Index, all want to be able to access even more information,” said GAIN Chief Scientist Dr. Ian Noble during the unveiling.  “This year we strengthened the assessment of vulnerability by adding information about human habitats, rural and urban, and risks to ecosystem services.”


Frank Lowenstein, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) Climate Adaptation Strategy Leader, and his team were introduced to the GAIN Index by colleagues.

"TNC is engaged in business planning for climate adaptation and disaster risk reduction across the 30+ countries and all 50 U.S. States that we work in,” Lowenstein said. “There isn’t anything else out there like the GAIN Index that utilizes credible data to measure indicators in the vulnerability and readiness sectors. We value the work of this NGO and are looking forward to future developments which can grow its utility across markets, industries and more.”

From consumer product companies to investors, the GAIN Index can provide resilience data that is needed to assist in making key business and government decisions and capitalize on opportunities.

“The GAIN Index is a great tool for investors,” said Bennett Freeman, Calvert Investments Senior Vice President of Sustainability Research and Policy. “This Index will help us evaluate how companies are adapting to climate change in their geographic market contexts and Calvert is proud to have been a part of GAIN’s Open Consultation process.”

In consultation with leaders from the private sector, much positive feedback was received.

“We see the GAIN Index as an important tool in gaining market insight around the world, as we are looking at how the risks are increasing and where the trends are taking place such as higher food consumption,” said Ben Harper, Zurich North America Climate Product Officer. “These pockets of growth show how economies and countries are increasing in wealth – for example, North America is projected to increase by some 2 percent annually in the next 10 years, whereas countries in Africa will increase by around 200 percent.”

Chris Walker, Ernst & Young Climate Change and Sustainability Services Associate Director, said the GAIN Index compliments other indices because it provides “a comprehensive roadmap of how a country can further improve.”

From consumer product companies to investors, the GAIN Index can provide resilience data that is needed to assist in making key business and government decisions and capitalize on opportunities.

“From the water scarcity, food safety and public health perspectives, we are always looking to map out business opportunities that can have positive impacts on society,” said Raj Rajan, Ecolab RD&E Vice President and Global Sustainability Technical Leader. “Having the open-source GAIN Index available to assess the data in several areas is relevant to Ecolab’s offerings.”

GAIN Index 2012:

The idea of the Index began with the Readiness Matrix, which compares countries on two axes – vulnerability and readiness. Vulnerability measures a country’s resilience to global challenges, while readiness looks at a country’s overall preparedness to absorb investments needed to adapt.

The Index guides investments in the urgent need to adapt to urbanization, populations shifts, resource scarcity, climate change and other global challenges. GAIN Index 2011 analyzed data in four key areas – water, food & agriculture, health and infrastructure. Based on input from scientific advisors and private sector users, GAIN has expanded the Index to include new measures of vulnerability relating to human habitats and the services we receive from ecosystems.

Overall, the index tracks 50 indicators from 1995 to the present. For the first time since 1995, the GAIN Index averages across all countries fell slightly, partly as a result of the financial crisis. Nevertheless, 128 countries of the 176 included in the Index increased in their GAIN Index score and half improved in both the readiness and vulnerability indicators.

GAIN, besides offering the GAIN Index as an open-source tool, also helps better prepare businesses to adapt by highlighting best practices through the GAIN Prize and GAIN Knowledge.

“I am delighted to have seen progress in the impact of the GAIN Index within the private and public sectors since its release last year,” said Board of Directors Chairman Ken Hersh, NGP Energy Capital Management CEO. “There is no doubt that investors and decision makers must adapt to these global changes.”

There are now a number of resilience indices including the DARA’s Climate Vulnerability Monitor, the Federal Reserve Bank’s National Business Continuity Guide and IFPRI’s Global Hunger Index, but the GAIN Index is unique in that it is specifically focused on engaging the private sector in managing risk.

“The Index captures the most robust information out there and this annual update is a culmination of GAIN’s commitment to highlight those challenges faced by the most vulnerable each day and attract investment in a response to the urgent need to adapt,” GAIN Founding CEO Dr. Daboub said. “During 2012, we have seen drought, floods, famine and more global challenges arise. Some studies show as much as 50 percent of the business sector is being affected by climate change. This investment must take place to save the lives and improve livelihoods of the world’s most vulnerable.”

After the GAIN Index 2012 debuts at Princeton, it will also be launched in several other cities including Chicago, Dubai, Melbourne, New York City and Toronto. GAIN is honored to unveil the GAIN Index 2012 at Princeton.