Heat stress is predicted to cut labour productivity in South East Asia by up to 25 per cent over the next three decades, according to a report.
Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines are expected to be the manufacturing hubs hardest hit by lost working days due to heat stress, which causes dizziness, fatigue, nausea and even death in extreme cases.
Verisk Maplecroft, which has complied a heat stress index, said overall South East Asia could lose 16 per cent of current labour capacity in the next 30 years, more than any other region, due to climate change. The next two worst affected regions are the Caribbean and West Africa.
Singapore is expected to lose the most capacity (25 per cent), followed by Malaysia (24 per cent), Indonesia (21 per cent), Cambodia and the Philippines (both 16 per cent), and Thailand and Vietnam (both 12 per cent).
Verisk Maplecroft said the region was “expected to undergo some of the greatest economic growth in the coming decades” but the “potential impact of heat stress on labour capital in the region has been largely overlooked”.
“Investors in extreme risk countries may be exposed to rising costs for manufacturing and health care provisions, alongside disruption risks in their supply chains,” said the company.
James Allan, head of environment at Verisk Maplecroft, said: “Climate change will push heat stress impacts to boiling point with significant implications for both national economies and the health of vulnerable workers.
“Governments and business need to identify which assets, sectors, commodities and groups are most at risk and what protective measures should be put in place.”