Every year the World Economic Forum produces a report on global risks, outlining trends, analysis, and signaling what lies ahead. In 2020, for the first time in history, the document placed environmental risks at the top of the list of the main risks for the next decade. It is essential reading to reveal the real value of the ESG agenda and to reflect on the paths we need to take from now on.

Already in the Executive Summary Saadia Zahidi, director of the World Economic Forum, exposes that:

"By 2020, the risk of a global pandemic has become a reality, something this report has been highlighting since 2006. We know how difficult it is for governments, businesses and other stakeholders to address such long-term risks, but the lesson here is for all of us to recognize that ignoring them does not make them any less likely to happen. As governments, businesses, and societies begin to emerge from the pandemic, they must now urgently shape new economic and social systems that improve our collective resilience and ability to respond to shocks by reducing inequality, improving health, and protecting the planet."

Resilience, by the way, is one of the most repeated words in the document. When we look at the main risks for the next decade, listed by the 650 people from various Forum communities, the environmental ones continue to dominate.

Last year, the Top Five risks in the Likelihood of materializing were all environmental. This year, the risk related to infectious diseases, of course, made the list.

Just take a look at the most likely risks of 2021:

1) Extreme weather events,

2) Failure to act on climate change,

3) Man-made environmental disasters,

4) Infectious diseases and

5) Loss of biodiversity.

In terms of impact, we have three environmental ones in the top five:

1) Infectious diseases;

2) Failure to act on climate change;

3) Weapons of mass destruction;

4) Loss of biodiversity;

5) Natural disasters.

Peter Giger, chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group points out assertively: "The biggest long-term risk remains 'failure to act on climate change'. There is no vaccine against climate risks. Post-pandemic recovery plans must focus on growth in line with sustainability agendas.

In the Global Risks Report, 2021 is the crucial year for rebuilding trust. The 1,200 leaders from 60 countries provoke deep reflections, such as:

1) How do we reshape economies so that growth benefits the many, not just the few, and thus ensure that the extraordinary engine of human development we have built becomes sustainable?"

2) How do we identify and solve key health challenges while ensuring fair access for all?"

3) We will need companies to change their time horizons, look beyond short-term profits, and transform themselves into sustainable and inclusive organizations. What can a smart company do?"

These are decisive questions that these world leaders share, and that humanity will have to answer united. We here at SB can help!

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