2020 Predictions: Protests will challenge resilience and continuity

My prediction for 2020 is that we will see a rise in the regularity and impact of climate change protests. This protest movement is here to stay and will only get more regular and more militant as the climate emergency deepens over time. From a resilience point of view, organisations will need to review their risk assessments. Recognise any threat of being targeted because of how your business might impact on climate change, and consider the possibility of being caught up in a protest occurring in your area (in particular if you have offices in a large city), or affecting a supplier. The internet and social media make protests easier to organise and easier to target specific organisations.

For example, November 2019’s protest in France to blockade Amazon delivery drivers shows that an individual organisation that may not have an obvious connection to climate change can be targeted. For example, it’s less likely for power stations, oil refineries and oil depots to be targeted as they are part of critical national infrastructure and are better protected by governments. Commercial organisations which (for example) produce single-use plastic packaging or use fleets of lorries to transport goods are softer targets.

Expect the impact of protests to increase also. Most protests will be carried out by general members of the public lawfully voicing their concern on a single occasion. However, the ranks of career protesters will also increase over time. While many of these may well have altruistic intentions, a hard core can develop of those disaffected by peaceful protest combined with those simply looking for trouble.

In the long-term strategic view of resilience, it’s in the interests of organisations and consumers to reduce their use of fossil fuels, reduce single-use plastic use and go as 'green' as possible. In effect, turn the concern of the threat of climate change action into a strength by using it to strive to become a leader in going green and staying green.

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