Economists estimate that, in the coming decades, pandemics will cause average annual economic losses of 0.7% of global GDP – a threat similar in scale to that estimated for climate change. As this report makes clear, this is a level of risk that businesses can no longer afford to ignore.
While predicting where and when the next outbreak will occur is still an evolving science, it is possible to identify factors that make companies vulnerable to financial losses from infectious disease events. Factors such as the geographic location of a company’s workforce, customer base and supply chain, and the nature and structure of its business, can help inform estimates of its vulnerability to disease outbreaks.
Outbreaks of infectious disease may be inevitable, but the economic damage they cause is not. Helping companies to properly understand these risks will enable them to reduce their exposure, improve their resilience and deliver on key opportunities for public-private cooperation to strengthen global health security. In doing this, companies not only act in their own commercial interests, but also help mitigate the potentially devastating impacts of infectious disease, in both human and economic terms.
Produced in collaboration with the Harvard Global Health Institute.