Entries tagged with “World Economic Forum”.


Climate change is among the five most likely and most potentially impactful global risks, according to the just-released World Economic Forum (WEF) 2014 Global Risks Report.

The report assesses 31 risks that are global in nature and have the potential to cause significant negative impact across entire countries and industries if they take place.

An analysis of the five risks considered most likely and most impactful since 2007 shows that environmental risks, such as climate change, extreme weather events and water scarcity, have become more prominent since 2011 (see chart above).

This suggests a pressing need for better public information about the potential consequences of environmental threats, the WEF says.

Concern about socio-economic risks such as income disparity, unemployment and fiscal crises has become more prominent over the years.

The report reveals that fiscal crises and structural unemployment and underemployment are among the most impactful risks while the latter also feature among those most likely to occur. This has knock-on effects on income disparities, which is regarded as the overall most likely risk, the WEF notes.

Cyber attacks and the breakdown of critical information infrastructure also feature among the most prominent risks in this year’s report.

The WEF notes:

This arguably reflects the increasing digitization of economies and societies, where rising dependence on information and data, as well as the systems to analyze and use them, has made attacks more likely and their effects more impactful.”

WEF note: Global risks may not be strictly comparable across years, as definitions and the set of global risks have been revised with new issues having emerged on the 10-year horizon. For example, cyber attacks, income disparity and unemployment entered the set of global risks in 2012. Some global risks were reclassified: water supply crises and income disparity were reclassified as environmental and societal risks, respectively, in 2014.

The report is published in collaboration with Marsh & McLennan Companies, Swiss Re, Zurich Insurance Group, National University of Singapore, Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, University of Pennsylvania.

There are many takeaways from the World Economic Forum Global Risks 2013 report – too many for one blog post.

One of this year’s key findings is that the world is more at risk as persistent economic weakness saps our ability to tackle environmental challenges.

The report is developed from a survey of over 1,000 experts from industry, government, academia and civil society who were asked to review a landscape of 50 global risks.

The global risk that respondents rated most likely to manifest over the next 10 years is severe income disparity, while the risk rated as having the highest impact if it were to manifest is major systemic financial failure.

There are also two risks that appear in the top five of both impact and likelihood: chronic fiscal imbalances and water supply crisis.

Unforeseen consequences of life science technologies was the biggest mover among global risks when assessing likelihood, the WEF says, while unforeseen negative consequences of regulation moved the most on the impact scale when comparing the result with last year’s.

The report also introduces three risk cases, based on an analysis of survey results: Testing Economic and Environmental Resilience, Digital Wildfires in a Hyperconnected World and The Dangers of Hubris on Human Health.

Over at the Forum blog, a post titled Global Risks 2013 by numbers offers some revealing facts and figures from this year’s report.

The report is published in cooperation with Marsh & McLennan Cos, Swiss Re, the Wharton Center for Risk Management and Zurich.