Environmental Threats Top Global Risk Report

Morgan O'Rourke


March 2, 2020

Environmental concerns comprised the top five most likely risks in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Risks Report, produced with Marsh & McLennan Companies and Zurich Insurance Group. Respondents cited extreme weather, failure of climate-change mitigation and adaptation, natural disasters, biodiversity loss, and human-made environmental disasters as the risks most likely to effect countries or industries within in the next 10 years. Some of these risks were also ranked highest for potential impact, with climate action failure, weapons of mass destruction, biodiversity loss, extreme weather and water crises making up the top five.

Coupled with increasing political and economic instability around the world, these risks will challenge governments and businesses. “This is the year when world leaders must work with all sectors of society to repair and reinvigorate our systems of cooperation, not just for short-term benefit but for tackling our deep-rooted risks,” said Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum.

Morgan O’Rourke is editor in chief of Risk Management and director of publications for the Risk & Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS)