Profound political, economic, societal, technological and environmental transformations are occurring at an unprecedented scale and pace and have become a part of day-to-day business life, according to the 14th edition of The Global Risks Report, prepared by the World Economic Forum (WEF) with the support of Marsh & McLennan Companies and other partners.
This year’s report highlights a divided and disrupted world, characterized by heightened geopolitical and geoeconomic tensions, rising technological instabilities and increased environmental concern due to climate change.
The most striking aspect of this year’s report is the level of concern about geopolitical issues. Of the top 10 risks expected to deteriorate in 2019, seven are connected to the political environment. Over 90% of respondents expect economic confrontations/frictions between major powers to deteriorate in 2019, with a similar number anticipating the erosion of multilateral trading rules and agreements.
Navigating a fractious world
New political agenda and regulatory uncertainty are both making it harder for companies to carry on replicating the business models and successes they have enjoyed in recent decades and inhibiting their ability to make crucial business decisions and investments.
At a time when opportunities from emerging technologies are demanding boldness and agility, an uptick in state-affiliated cyberattacks is aggravating points of failure within company operations, infrastructure, supply chains and customer interactions.
Extreme weather and climate change are undermining the expectations of many businesses, requiring not only better resilience measures but also bolder action to get ahead of likely regulatory developments and negative customer reactions.
And let’s not underestimate the psychological impact of all this volatility and uncertainty, both in the workplace and society at large. The imperative for enhancing employee wellbeing has seldom been higher.
The report examines the evolving macro-level risk landscape and highlights major threats that may disrupt the world in 2019 and over the next decade.