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January 25, 2016updated 21 Jul 2021 2:08pm

World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016 – Key findings at a glance

The World Economic Forum's annual report, now in its eleventh edition, quantifies and compares the economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological risks facing business. just-food presents the report's key findings.

The World Economic Forum’s annual report, now in its eleventh edition, quantifies and compares the economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal and technological risks facing business. just-food presents the report’s key findings.

Top ten risks by impact

  • Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation  
  • Weapons of mass destruction  
  • Water crises  
  • Large-scale involuntary migration  
  • Energy price shock  
  • Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse  
  • Fiscal crises  
  • Spread of infectious diseases  
  • Asset bubble  
  • Profound social instability

Top ten risks in terms of likelihood

  • Largescale involuntary migration  
  • Extreme weather events  
  • Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation  
  • Interstate conflict  
  • Natural catastrophes  
  • Failure of national governance  
  • Unemployment or underemployment  
  • Data fraud or theft  
  • Water crises  
  • Illicit trade

What are the sharpest increases in risk compared to 2015

  • Largescale involuntary migration  
  • Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse  
  • Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation  
  • Deflation  
  • Profound social instability  
  • Energy price shock

The report’s notable examples of “cascading risks”

  • The potential for climate change to exacerbate water crises with impacts including conflicts and more forced migration  
  • The global refugee crisis  
  • Failing to understand how the Fourth Industrial Revolution will impact countries, economies and people at a time of persistently sluggish growth

Key takeaways and conclusions

  • Global risks are increasingly interconnected and imminent.  
  • Failure to address climate change effectively will not only precipitate further environmental challenges but also exacerbate societal, economic and political problems.  
  • Understanding and mitigating societal, geopolitical and economic risks inherent in changes precipitated by the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be critical.  
  • Food security is central to climate change adaption; building resilience into food supply chains and agriculture, while developing better weather information systems, financing and insurance schemes for farmers will be key in meeting the challenge.  
  • Addressing food waste offers significant potential to alleviate pressures on natural resources and the tightening balance of agricultural supply and demand. Minimising waste will require technical innovation, legislative reform and a recalibration of consumer expectations.  
  • The risk represented by cyber attack and data theft is significant and likely to escalate and will be most effectively addressed through multilateral collaboration and public-private partnership.  
  • Global risks in general remain beyond the domain of just one actor, highlighting the continued need for collaborative and multi-stakeholder action.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2016 rates the failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation as the risk that could have the greatest impact on business. For an in-depth examination on how this will impact the food sector, click here.

Meanwhile, the report also underlines the threat of cyber attack as a growing menace facing major companies. Click here for a detailed explaination of this threat and how it can be tackled.

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