In December, International SOS released its annual 2024 Risk Outlook Report, created to identify top concerns that organizations are expected to face in the coming year and how to mitigate them to protect a workforce, meet duty of care needs and ensure business continuity. According to this year’s report, geopolitical tensions and instability are expected to be the second highest security risk with 74% of respondents believing their organization will be impacted in some way. On top of this, organizations have also reported higher levels of unpreparedness for security concerns caused by geopolitical tensions, which encompass a broad spectrum of interconnected issues, from regional conflicts and political instabilities flowing to economic uncertainties and global power dynamics. Moreover, according to Statista, 2024 will witness national level elections in 60 countries — involving approximately a quarter of the world’s population.
Another catalyst that will drive geopolitical challenges for organizations in 2024 will be climate-related crises. Persistent climate-related crises are expected to drive primary, secondary and tertiary issues, including conflict, migration, price volatility of essential goods and their corresponding drivers of acute social and political division. In 2023, International SOS intelligence teams saw a significant rising trend in the number of climate-related alerts issued, with 80% more medical climate-related alerts and 30% more security climate-related alerts. These included a fourfold increase in climate-related special advisories, those that, due to their severity and immediacy, are considered a direct threat to life. Although climate-related threats are expected to continue to cause challenges for organizations in 2024, only half of Risk Outlook respondents say they have factored climate change into their health and security plans, emphasizing how vulnerable many organizations could be.