The 16th edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report analyses the risks from societal fractures—manifested through persistent and emerging risks to human health, rising unemployment, widening digital divides, youth disillusionment and geopolitical fragmentation. Businesses risk a disorderly shakeout which can exclude large cohorts of workers and companies from the markets of the future. Environmental degradation—still an existential threat to humanity—risks intersecting with societal fractures to bring about severe consequences. Yet, with the world more attuned to risk, lessons can be drawn to strengthen response and resilience. In 2020, the risk of a pandemic became reality. As governments, businesses and societies grapple with COVID-19, societal cohesion is more important than ever. For an overview of the report’s contents and survey results, please see here.
Each year, the Executive Opinion Survey polls business leaders from around the world on their perceptions of the top global risks. What is the world’s business community most concerned with for the next decade? What are the top risks for business in your market?
The first global pandemic in over 100 years, COVID-19 has triggered an economic crisis with dire societal impact on the lives and livelihoods of most of the world’s population. Governments, businesses and households have had to balance health imperatives against the economic fallout and rising societal anxieties, relying on digital infrastructure in unprecedented ways. As countries seek to recover, some of the more lasting economic, environmental, societal and technological challenges are only becoming visible. Anticipating the emerging risks from the pandemic is vital.
The COVID-19 Risks Outlook provides a picture of which familiar risks may be amplified by the crisis and which new ones may emerge. Based on the consequences and second-order effects of the pandemic, this report also presents a series of guiding questions for decision-makers to ensure that the recovery efforts lead towards a more socially just and sustainable global economy. It is a preliminary outlook and initial mapping that will be supplemented by further work from the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Initiative and its partners Marsh & McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group.