VIEW: COVID-19 is not the only risk

There is huge economic uncertainty as we come out of COVID-19. Many governments are carrying very high levels of debt that need to be serviced and repaid, which may lead to different solutions in different jurisdictions. We also see ongoing high levels of geopolitical risk internationally.

Additionally, there is a move towards considering organisational resilience, which is interesting, and frames risk in a way that is perhaps different to how it has been looked at in the past. We as risk professionals need to demonstrate the value we can add. A good example, and one which came out of a survey we ran in the early stages of the pandemic, is that not all organisations had identified a pandemic as an emerging risk, although a sizeable majority had. But, more interestingly, of those organisations that had identified the emerging risk, not all companies had a plan for dealing it.

It is our job as risk professionals to ensure that all current and emerging risks are included and that appropriate mitigation plans are in place. We also have a role in ensuring an appropriate risk culture in the organisation, which includes ensuring management understand it is not the role of the risk function to manage risk, but the responsibility of those who originate risk to identify and manage that risk to an acceptable level within a defined risk appetite.

We are acutely aware that, although COVID-19 has dominated the risk landscape for almost a year now, other risks remain. Accordingly, I am pleased that we have just launched a Climate Change Risk training course in cooperation with Imperial College London and the Grantham Institute. IRM is pleased to be represented by senior IRM member Carol Misiko, who contributes to the WEF Global Risks Report which cited climate change as one of the biggest risks facing us all.

Our recent Global Risk Predictions also highlighted how climate change will impact every business and that now is the time for action. Risk managers need to be ready to influence the UN Nations Climate Change Conference agenda, something our new Climate Change SIG will be reporting on soon.

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