Hedging weather risk and coordinating supply chains


The sales of many products can be influenced by weather conditions, positively or negatively. For the manufacturers in question, one of their entrepreneurial risks is to incur lower than expected sales because of adverse weather conditions. The variability of weather conditions is expected to continue to rise because of climate change. Manufacturers can choose to do nothing and suffer the financial consequences, or transfer the weather risk partly or wholly to others. This paper presents an approach to transfer weather risks to risk takers and reduce sales volatility using weather index-based financial instruments. In our approach, the risk of adverse weather conditions is calculated on the basis of adverse conditions observed in the past. We do not use forecasts of weather conditions. We illustrate our action design with case studies of three companies: a company manufacturing automotive replacement parts, a clothing company and a company producing of sunscreen products. We demonstrate its efficiency in reducing cash-flow uncertainty and potential losses caused by adverse weather, and in influencing sales to the next tier.