No one could have predicted the impact of COVID-19 and the challenges it presented. It exposed vulnerable supply chains, crumbling infrastructure, and dysfunctional systems that hindered collective action. Organisations struggled to respond. In the UK alone, the economy was hit by the sharpest fall in 41 years and almost a quarter of British retailers reported heavy disruption to supply chains during the height of the pandemic. However, there is a greater threat looming and it poses a grimmer reality.
Before the pandemic, climate change was set to be the most talked about topic of the decade. Its perpetual physical, economic, and social impacts were quickly becoming clear. In 2019, alone, 24.9 million people around the world were displaced as direct results of disaster-related activities. The number of reported disasters has nearly tripled since 1980, and the cost of those disasters is up 600%, to nearly $200 billion every year. This cost is predicted to rise to $234 billion by the year 2040, according to University of Cambridge researchers.