The Global Risks Report 2016, an annual survey by the World Economic Forum (WEF), has identified the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation as the risk with the greatest potential impact in 2016. This is the first time since the report was first published in 2006 that an environmental risk has topped the ranking and is considered to have greater potential damage than weapons of mass destruction (2nd), water crises (3rd), large-scale involuntary migration (4th) and severe energy price shock (5th).
Moreover, this risk has also be found to be the third in the rank in terms of likelihood, only preceded by large-scale involuntary migration and extreme weather events and followed by interstate conflict with regional consequences and major natural catastrophes.
To launch the report, WEF’s multi-stakeholder community – drawn from business, academia, civil society and the public sector – considered 29 global risks categorised as environmental, societal, technological, economic or geopolitical over a 10 year span and rated each according to their perceived likelihood of occurrence and resulting impact.
The survey also focuses on the impact of global risks on the business community across different regions and countries. Drawing on the views of executives in 140 economies, the analysis concludes that global risks lie beyond the capacity of individual businesses and it is in their interest to find new ways of collaboration to address global risks. In this context, the Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI) offers businesses an exclusive business network where they can join efforts with other BEPI participants in building resilient supply chains. BEPI provides them with a practical framework to map, analyse and improve environmental supply chain performance. A multistakeholder action is key to avert and contain global risks, as this report series emphasises, and is a fundamental pillar of BEPI’s approach. The cross-sector BEPI framework is built on industry best practice and partnerships with expert organisations and service providers such as the Hong Kong Productivity Council.
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