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We actively monitor change covering more than 150 key elements of life.

A Mundane Comedy is Dom Kelleher's new book. Extracts will appear on this site and across social media from late 2021. Please get in touch with any questions or thoughts.

The 52:52:52 project, launching both on this site and on Twitter in late 2021 will help you address 52 issues with 52 responses over 52 weeks.

What's Changing? - Risk



Please see below selected recent risk-related change.


See also: 


September 2021

  • Global Catastrophic Risks 2021: Navigating the Complex Intersections, included a focus on the complex interconnectedness between different risks and the need to build more holistic global approaches to tackle them. As the impacts of man-made climate change and humanity’s destruction of the natural environment worsen, so do the threats from future pandemics, especially zoonotic viruses that jump from animals to humans. A changing climate is also exacerbating conflict, food insecurity, refugee crises and extreme poverty.


February 2021

  • Information technology has made us more resilient in the face of organic viruses, but it has also made us far more vulnerable to malware and cyber warfare, warned Yuval Noah Harari. People often ask: “What’s the next Covid?” An attack on our digital infrastructure is a leading candidate. It took several months for coronavirus to spread through the world and infect millions of people. Our digital infrastructure might collapse in a single day


January 2021

  • The Doomsday Clock - used by a group of nuclear scientists to illustrate how close we are to a man-made disaster that could end the world - remained for the second year in a row at 100 seconds to midnight, the closest it's ever been. The pandemic was bad, the clock's keepers at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists noted, but they also pointed to better-than-expected progress on climate change and the extension of a major US-Russia arms control pact.
  • The geopolitics of COVID-19 will shape many political risks around the world, including emerging market debt and new industrial policies, argued EY. The three leading geopolitical powers - the US, EU and China - will compete for greater self-reliance, particularly in digital technologies. While 2021 may be challenging, companies can leverage the enhanced agility and resilience exhibited in response to the pandemic.
  • Having ranked 10th in 2020, infectious disease sits atop the World Economic Forum’s global risks list for 2021. Not only has COVID-19 cost more than 2 million lives so far, it has throttled development in poorer regions “while amplifying wealth inequalities across the globe,” the forum said. And while the pandemic threat comes first in terms of impact, it is "climate action failure" and related threats that account for most crises confronting the world this year - both in terms of likelihood and impact.
  • Among Eurasia Group's top risks for 2021: 
    • "Long COVID", to capture the lingering impact of COVID-19 on both political stability in many countries and the global economy. The pandemic will leave a legacy of high debt, displaced workers, and lost trust. The distribution of vaccines will further divide haves from have nots, both within and among nations, stoking anti-incumbent anger and public unrest in many countries.
    • A combination of low-probability but high-impact risks and inexorable technology trends will make 2021 the year that cyber conflict creates unprecedented technological and geopolitical risk in cyberspace.
    • Energy-producing countries in the Middle East and North Africa faced a collapse in global energy demand in 2020 that left governments from Algeria to Iran with less cash flowing into their coffers as the pandemic sickened citizens and weakened economies. 2021 will be worse, because energy prices will remain low. Reforms will slow, and protests will grow.


December 2020


October 2020

  • Disasters are reportedly increasing in severity and social significance. From 1996 to 2005, some 1.5 million people died in disasters worldwide, while many more suffered injuries, illnesses and impoverishment. Much of the death toll affected developing nations, while the biggest economic losses occurred in rich countries. Just in 2017 – the year of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria – Munich Reinsurance reported that disasters exacted a worldwide toll of $330 billion. The other costs of catastrophes are harder to calculate. Disasters can drive economically vulnerable people into permanent poverty and cause lasting mental health issues for survivors.
  • A paper suggested that systemic risk extends beyond the financial sector. Firms such as Amazon and Apple are systemically important and actually quite vulnerable to shocks.


June 2020


May 2020

  • Cambridge University's Professor Danny Ralph believes companies will use the Covid-19 crisis to embed better risk procedures. A robust risk assessment also makes it easier to take advantage of strategic opportunities - some are already scouting for takeover targets - and in due course should make them more resilient to unknowable future threats.


April 2020

  • In 2003, the Harvard Business Review published an article titled Predictable Surprises: The Disasters You Should Have Seen Coming. The authors, Max Bazerman and Michael Watkins, both business school professors, followed up with a book of the same title. Bazerman and Watkins argued that while the world is an unpredictable place, unpredictability is often not the problem. The problem is that faced with clear risks, we still fail to act. For Watkins, the 2020 coronavirus pandemic was the ultimate predictable surprise.


December 2019

  • While China's influence is largely seen as positive in many emerging markets, this is not the case among its neighbours in the Asia-Pacific: on average, 59% of those surveyed across Australia, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia, and India think that investment from China is risky, giving Beijing too much influence over their economies.


November 2019


April 2019

  • The End of the World is a podcast that explores existential risks, those organic and man-made catastrophes that could bring about the extinction of humanity. The series begins with the origin of life and goes on to list all of the ways Homo sapiens could be snuffed out by nature, before focusing on all the ways we might do it ourselves. Artificial intelligence, biotechnology, physics experiments, nanobots—we may have an odd 5 billion years before we get swallowed up by the sun, but, for Quartz, at the rate we’re innovating, it’ll be a wonder if we see another century.


February 2019

  • Women of colour take more risks at work, as being accustomed to inequality helps encourage bold moves in the office, claimed Quartz.


January 2019

  • 2019 could turn out to be the year the world falls apart, warned GZEROMedia. Tail risks created by bad actors inflicting damage that then create an escalatory cycle are higher than they've been at any point since 1998. But for now, all such risks remain low-likelihood events. More likely, and despite increasingly worrisome headlines, 2019 is poised to be a reasonably good year and not a particularly politically risky year. But GZEROMedia warned further that the world is setting itself up for trouble down the road. Big trouble. And that's in itself top risk.


November 2018


October 2018

  • Top risks identified by Athena, Shaping Tomorrow's robot included increasing use of plastics entering food chains, faults in and attacks on software, intensifying competition, climate change affecting farming, disease spread, particularly increasing diabetes, uncertainties surrounding the continued burning of fossil fuels and rapidly growing use of scarce resources to cope with burgeoning demand from global populations' increased wealth and needs.
  • Water has ranked in the top five risks for seven consecutive years in the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk Report. And, points out Raconteur, if you look at the headline threats to humanity and the planet over the next decade, as pinpointed by 1,000 experts, all but one are linked to water. These include extreme weather, natural and man-made disasters, climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse.
  • In Navigating geopolitical risk, Raconteur argued that the correlation between politics and business sentiment shows that the two are intrinsically linked. The rise of pro-business parties, public referendum or rising cross-border tensions can impact bottom lines across the world and must be factored into the decision-making process. But navigating and mitigating geopolitical risk can be a tricky task for leaders to master.


September 2018


August 2018


July 2018


May 2018

  • According to a new survey of 27 countries by BBC/Ipsos Mori, some 59% of people say that their countries are “more divided” politically and socially than they were ten years ago. Two-thirds of Europeans say so, the highest of any region in the world.
  • Business leaders, investors and monetary officials consider a variety of factors when developing their strategies. But it is geopolitical risk (GPR) that presents the greatest concern for these stakeholders, and a lack of measurement capacity and accuracy can stymie investment and trade. Economists Iacoviello have built an index that assesses the levels of GPR over time and explains how these perceived risks affect business and government decision making.





  • A further rapid appreciation of the yen and a fresh fall for oil prices provided a markedly negative backdrop for global risk appetite, putting pressure on US and European equities, emerging market currencies and “peripheral” eurozone sovereign debt.


April 2016

  • Deloitte warned that strategic risks can do serious damage to an organisation, very quickly. These risks can compromise supply chains, facilities, technology, talent, capital, reputation, and basic drivers of value. Yet they fall outside most enterprise risk management programmes and are difficult to quantify, monitor, and manage. To address these risks, leaders need new perspectives and approaches. They need tools for scanning the environment, tracking developments, and visualising risk data, and they need to prepare effective responses, because responsibility for strategic risks resides at the C-suite and board levels.






March 2016






  • Eurasia Group's latest Political Risk Monitor for March 2016 summarised key trends in political risk and stability globally. Country-level political stability diverged significantly among emerging equity markets most exposed to spillover risks from China. South Africa, Brazil, Thailand, and Indonesia are less stable than their highly exposed counterparts South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, and India. Political stability is less volatile this month, but the expected impact on the global economy continues to decline, and short-term political trajectory scores in key markets - including China and Japan - have declined. Among the largest oil exporters exposed to low prices, year-on-year political stability has improved markedly in Iran while declining slightly in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Political stability in Russia has remained constant.




  • In PwC's own 19th Annual Global CEO study, 66% of CEOs saw more threats to their business than opportunities. To remain competitive, companies must pursue two parallel strategies: 1. Building agile and flexible risk management frameworks that can anticipate and prepare for the shifts that bring long-term success and 2. Building the resiliency that will enable those frameworks to mitigate risk events and keep the business moving toward its goals. This connection between risk resiliency1 and risk agility2 is at the heart of this year’s Risk in Review: Going the distance study. As our study shows, today’s most forward-looking companies have both the solid infrastructure and processes to help them weather any storm, as well as the flexibility to move quickly to meet new opportunities.




February 2016





  • According to Eurasia's Political Risk Monitor: February 2016, there is wide divergence in political capacity across emerging market oil exporters to respond to low oil prices. Governments in Mexico, Colombia, and to a lesser extent Russia have more political space and ability to take corrective fiscal measures than their counterparts in Venezuela, Nigeria and Ecuador. Though political stability is less volatile this month, the expected impact on the global economy is worsening. Political trajectories have deteriorated across many emerging and frontier markets including India, Mexico, and Nigeria. Among the emerging and frontier markets facing elections this year, political stability is likely to remain relatively stable. Ghana, Peru and the Philippines have experienced a slight improvement in stability over the past year, while Vietnam’s security environment has driven stability down slightly.



  • The Global Brief is the flagship product of Eurasia Group’s strategic alliance with PwC. It is a senior briefing service that monitors political events in PwC’s top 21 territories and highlights risks & opportunities in these markets- see  highlights from February’s Global Brief.




January 2016



  • Eurasia Group's latest Political Risk Monitor summarised key trends in political risk and stability from 2015 with a look forward into 2016. As in 2015, political stability will probably be more volatile in 2016 than in recent years, and it expects politics will have a more negative impact on the global economy over the next six months. Weighted by GDP, global political stability is most concentrated in the Asia Pacific region and appears set to remain so in 2016. Iran and Pakistan saw the largest gains in political stability last year, while Ukraine and Turkey endured the biggest declines.









  • For 2016, Eurasia Group believes that the unwinding of the US-led geopolitical order will accelerate. There is growing political division in a year with a presidential election in the US and a foundational political crisis for Europe. Russia, in decline, is led by an increasingly combative and resurgent Vladimir Putin. China is becoming far more powerful, but with a foreign policy that reflects primarily economic (though still strategic) national interests. The Middle East is the most vulnerable to a geopolitical leadership vacuum and is heading toward conflagration, believes Eurasia. There are six failed states across the broader region and more refugees than ever recorded. Oil economies are under strain. All of this will get worse in 2016. Europe will feel much of the pain-in economic costs, security vulnerability, and political blowback. The US, at the twilight of the Obama administration, will mostly stick to its knitting, since the Western hemisphere remains insulated from the lion’s share of geopolitical instability. In Asia, despite having many of the world’s strongest national leaders, helping manage these problems is not a priority. This all means a dramatically more fragmented world in 2016.



December 2015

  • Eurasia Group identified its top risks for December 2015, which included the following: despiteChina’s relaxation of the One Child Policy, the workforce will continue to shrink as the population ages, creating more urgency to transition the economy toward higher-end, innovative, and less labour intensive production and services; in Russia, the upcoming election cycle will delay difficult adjustments to tax and pension policy, putting fiscal buffers at risk; and the Conservatives’ commitment to balancing the UK’sbudget by 2020 means deep cuts for innovation and training grants, hampering efforts to address the "productivity gap" with western Europe.


November 2015



  • Eurasia Group’s 2016 Year-Ahead Outlook found that, barring a few exceptions, political trends next year are likely to be characterised by a “slow burn.” Geopolitical risk flowing from the Ukraine crisis has diminished, but there are new and rising risks in Asia and the Middle East. Eurasia Group’s report begins by flagging three macro themes that inform its global assessment, then offers forecasts for 2016 from its regional and sector-specific practices. The practice reports, including Asia, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East & North Africa, North America, Africa, and Global Energy & Natural Resources, identify the key political drivers that will define the business and investment environment.










October 2015



  • PwC's own latest country risk update for quarter three 2015 highlighted the increase in country risk levels across all regions with the exception of Western Europe which has remained at similar levels to quarter two. Our latest update highlights the ongoing economic difficulties facing Brazil and the recovery in Iceland (see updates on our website and our overview video to get a better understanding).










  • Only 60% of chief risk officers (CROs) at global financial institutions say their boards have worked at embedding the organisation’s risk culture across the enterprise, and about the same percentage say their boards have reviewed incentive compensation plans to consider alignment of risks with rewards, according to the ninth biennial Global Financial Services Risk Management Survey from Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL).




September 2015



  • El Niño remains difficult to predict, yet authorities in e.g. Peru are taking fresh measures to respond.The World Meteorological Organisation has talked of a mature El Niño in the Pacific Ocean, potentially among the four strongest since 1950. Australia, India and Indonesia are already experiencing droughts and meteorologists believe there is a 95% chance that El Niño will last through the first quarter of 2016. There will be wide-ranging impacts in vulnerable economies, but they are likely to include smaller harvests. Although the EIU forecast a modest rise in global food prices in 2016, after four years of decline, its does not expect a major turnaround. Low energy costs, ample stocks and moderating demand growth in emerging markets should keep a lid on prices.



  • BCG recently published a piece analysing the shrinking life expectancy of corporations. BCG noted, “US public companies are perishing sooner than ever before. Since 1950, the total life span of companies and the length of time that their shares are publicly traded have significantly decreased. Companies don’t just die younger; they are also more likely to perish at any point in time. Today, almost one-tenth of all public companies fail each year, a fourfold increase since 1965. The five year exit risk for public companies traded in the US now stands at 32%, compared with the 5% risk they would have faced 50 years ago."




August 2015






July 2015



  • Portents of disaster and decline are overstated, claimed Foreign Policy magazine, adding that certainly, computers and the Internet are driving rapid change, but the pace is not more rapid or revolutionary than that following the introduction of the steam engine, electricity, radio, telephones, internal combustion engines, airplanes, and the atomic bomb. The Chinese economy has grown compared with the United States, but the United States has, for many years, been growing faster than most of Europe, Russia, and much of East Asia. Russia is misbehaving, but nothing on the scale of the former Soviet Union. The Middle East is in turmoil, but even taking into account the chaos in that region, inter- and intrastate conflicts continue to decline.











  • Global business risk has never been greater as the world becomes evermore complex and interdependent amid regional turmoil. “The nature of risk is changing,’ claimed Professor Ian Goldin, co-author of 'The Butterfly Defect: How globalisation creates systemic risks, and what to do about it'. “The walls have come down between societies. Something that happens on the other side of the world can quickly cascade and impact us. There’s a growing complexity, a growing integration and it leads to a fundamentally different nature of risk. That’s the butterfly defect, where small events elsewhere in the world will fundamentally affect our lives.”




June 2015







  • As the global economy returns to growth there is reason substantial optimism. But there are pitfalls, risks and a lot of volatility in store this year and the next - see The Investment Agenda from The Economist Group.








May 2015








April 2015








March 2015






February 2015



  • Risk Savvy by Gerd Gigerenzer (Viking Press, 2014) covered, inter alia, why people misjudge risk and don’t quantify uncertainty, why heuristics, or rules of thumb, can lead to better decisions than complicated calculations can reveal, and what rules you can use to improve your risk assessment and decision making.






January 2015





  • Eurasia Group published Top Risks, its annual roundup of the geopolitical trends they consider most likely to change our world in the coming year. In 2015, political conflict among the world’s great powers is in play more than at any time since the end of the Cold War. U.S. relations with Russia are now fully broken. China’s powerful President Xi Jinping is creating a new economy, and the effects will be felt across East Asia and the rest of the world. Geopolitical uncertainty has Turkey, the Gulf Arab states, Brazil and India hedging their bets. But the year’s top risk is found in once placid Europe, where an increasingly fractured political environment is generating new sources of conflict.




December 2014



  • PwC was positioned in the leaders quadrant of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Global Risk Management Consulting Services report. Gartner defines risk management as “the strategic discipline of assessing, prioritising, monitoring and controlling the impact of uncertainty on objectives.” The Magic Quadrant assesses how well services support corporate governance objectives and how well they integrate with compliance requirements.






November 2014






  • A recent book by respected Oxford academics, The Butterfly Defect, argued that globalisation fundamentally changes the economy and world society, as everything is increasingly complex and interconnected, and that globalisation also changes the nature of risk, making it harder to anticipate and identify



  • The EIU's Risk Snapshot: November 2014 report claims to help organisations understand and respond to risks that could impact their business. The report analyses risk scenarios in depth, and explores potential developments that might substantially change the business operating environment over the coming two years. The free report provides forecasting and analysis on each of these risk scenarios, explaining how they affect the global operational environment.






October 2014




  • Insurance brokers will lose profitable business if they don't take on a wider risk advisory role, claimed a new report from PwC. In Broking 2020: Leading from the front in a new era of risk, PwC says that organisations no longer think that the evolving risk environment can be managed solely through traditional approaches. Instead, companies are engaging a wider set of advisors to get the specialty advice they need.







August 2014



  • According to the FT, until recently, most non-executive directors would have told you that the audit committee is the one they really wish to avoid. The meetings are long, the papers voluminous, and the duties burdensome. So the conclusion of a recent survey by Per Ardua, an executive search company, came as a surprise. 80% of respondents in the financial sector now say that the risk committee is the one to dodge – even though audit and remuneration committees have so far more often exposed non-executives to public criticism. The survey responses suggest three possible explanations.



July 2014



Pre 2014

  • In Global Catastrophic Risks, experts looked at the gravest risks facing humanity in the 21st century, including natural catastrophes, nuclear war, terrorism, global warming, biological weapons, totalitarianism, advanced nanotechnology, general artificial intelligence, and social collapse.