Disaster Risk and Global Resilience: PwC and UNISDR Join Forces
The toll of natural disasters in economic, environmental, and social terms is enormous, growing — and likely to grow further still, driven by the twin forces of globalisation and climate change.
The numbers are as sobering as they are staggering.
According to the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), over the past 12 years natural disasters have led to the deaths of 1.1 million people around the world, significantly affected the lives of 2.7 billion humans (nearly 40% of the world’s population), and cost $1.3 trillion in damages.
By their very nature, of course, these kinds of exogenous disasters cannot be prevented — although sensible public policies regarding carbon emissions, water pricing and usage, and the use of precious natural resources could certainly help mitigate their frequency and magnitude over time.
But the reality is that companies are always going to be confronted with the challenge — no, the very necessity — of responding to large-scale disasters in a way that mitigates their impact. This PwC-UNISDR report shows how they can be resilient organisations — collaborating with their supply chains, distribution channels and even competitors to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
This kind of systemic resilience, which we’ve already written about in this series, needs to be enhanced and supported by public-private collaborations, which we’ve also covered. This is new territory for both the public and private sector as they learn to work together for the common good, while protecting the integrity of each other’s commitments. It is imperative for organisations to have a shift in mind-set as more than 80% of future investments in driving global economic growth will come from the private sector. The opportunity cost of not making the right decisions is too great as our analysis shows a dramatically growing economic loss, in some cases being terminal to an organisation’s going concern.
So what is your organisation’s exposure to these large-scale threats — and how should you prepare? PwC and UNISDR have devised this innovative, interactive tool to help you get inside the impact dimensions of potential threats — and manage the risk in a resilient manner.
Putting in place a disaster management strategy is not just about emergency response and if done properly drives operational improvements and establishes a sound foundation for an organisation’s growth. Investing into supply chain network design, leveraging technology enablers, optimising the chain of command, conducting strategic analysis of investment decisions, and creating a culture within your team not only makes an organisation resilient to disasters but also to many other hazards and risk which impact operations.
Taking such a holistic approach also elevates reputation, drives social responsibility, enhances sustainable growth and development and secures shareholder value. This approach also needs to include collaborative efforts with the public sector to strengthen private sector investments and operations, with a common understanding of mutual risks and value.
As exciting as our joint report is, it is only a blueprint, a beginning. Both PwC and UNIDSR are committed to continuing to create a sustainable, private-public disaster risk management platform, with the ultimate goal of creating risk-resilient societies for the benefit of all.
I hope you download and read our report, and explore our interactive Disaster Risk Management Framework.