Study explores 'perfect storm' of high-impact risks

A new business risk survey, released today, has found that the war in Ukraine, coupled with the cost-of-living crisis, has significantly changed business attitudes on the risks they face with geopolitical tensions exacerbating and intensifying a wide range of business-critical risks.

The research, conducted by the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, in partnership with thirteen other Institutes of Internal Auditors across Europe, tracks the risks faced by organisations year-on-year, and this year received a record-breaking 834 responses from chief audit executives working in all sectors of the economy across Europe.

Cyber security has topped the business risk poll for the fifth year running, but the big story coming out of this year’s study is that geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainty is the newest and most dynamic risk rising-up the agenda. Rising four positions from seventh most severe risk last year, to third place this year. Yet despite its growing prominence and severity, only around one in ten (8.15%) are spending any major time or effort auditing the impacts of this risk on their business.

With the war in Ukraine raging on, the spike in global energy prices, soaring inflation, as well as growing tensions between the West and China, the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors is alarmed by the gap between awareness and action taken on this rising risk and is urging business leaders to act now to mitigate the risk of further unforeseen major geopolitical disruption in the future.

John Wood, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors, said: “Our latest Risk in Focus research highlights the perfect storm of high-impact interlocking risks now being faced by businesses, throwing many into a permanent state of crisis.

“Following hard on the heels of the pandemic, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has intensified supply chain failures, caused a spike in energy prices and fueled inflation, exacerbating geopolitical and macroeconomic risks. At the same time businesses are grappling with an increasingly weaponised cyber -attack landscape as well as major recruitment and retention challenges. Meanwhile, the climate emergency threatens to snowball into the next big crisis unless organisations prepare now for the impacts of climate change, with extreme weather events like the record-breaking heatwave this summer, likely to be the new normal in the future.

“We urge boards to get a grip on the situation and seek the support of their internal audit functions to help them navigate more risky, uncertain, and volatile times ahead."

    Share Story:


Cyber risk in the transportation industry
The connected nature of the transport and logistics industries makes them an attractive target for hackers, with potentially disruptive and costly consequences. Between June 2020 and June 2021, the transportation industry saw an 186% increase in weekly ransomware attacks. At the same time, regulations and cyber security standards are lacking – creating weak postures across the board. This podcast explores the key risks. Published April 2022.

Political risk: A fresh perspective
CIR’s editor, Deborah Ritchie speaks with head of PCS at Verisk, Tom Johansmeyer about the confluence of political, nat cat and pandemic risks in a world that is becoming an increasingly risky place in which to do business. Published February 2022.