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Hundreds of supermarkets to face climate risk

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Nearly 200 supermarkets face the risk of flooding, bushfires or sea level rise, undermining their insurability, climate change modelling shows.

The Cross Dependency Initiative (XDI) says its findings raise questions about food security during extreme weather.

The modeller assessed climate risk for all Coles, Woolworths and Aldi stores nationwide over their assumed 80-year life span. They were assessed based on pre-1990 extreme weather data, and then climate change modelling was applied.

It found 6% of supermarkets already suffer damage and disruption risk at such high levels they are not typically insurable. This rises to 9% on future modelling.

XDI says 56 supermarkets will be severely affected by sea level rise within 80 years.

At present, 87 outlets are at risk of flooding, 18 face bushfire risks and only four face coastal inundation.

By 2100 9.7% of Woolworths stores will be at risk from climate change, with Coles at 8.8% and Aldi at 7.3%, XDI says.

“Asset owners should be concerned and it’s also relevant to customers,” XDI Director of Science Karl Mallon says. “Food supply is critical and needs climate planning.”