- The outbreak of COVID-19 highlights cracks in global trust, the pitfalls of global interdependency and the challenge for global governance.
- Epidemics are both a standalone business risk and an amplifier of existing trends and vulnerabilities.
- Businesses that invest in strategic, operational and financial resilience to emerging global risks will be better positioned to respond and recover.
Pandemics top national risk-management frameworks in many countries. For example, pandemic influenza tops the natural hazards matrix of the UK National Risk Register, and emerging infectious diseases are tagged as of considerable concern. Seen as a medical problem, each outbreak of a potentially dangerous infection prompts authorities to ask a rational set of questions and dust off the menu of response options that can be implemented as needed in a phased manner.
Reality, however, is generally more disruptive, as national governments and supranational agencies balance health security, economic and social imperatives on the back of imperfect and evolving intelligence. It’s a governance challenge that may result in long-term consequences for communities and businesses. On top of this, they also need to accommodate human behaviour.