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Inflation, debt, affordability crises pose sternest tests to global business


Rapid and/or sustained inflation is the biggest risk to doing business globally over the next two years, followed by debt crises and the cost-of-living crisis, according to a survey by the World Economic Forum released Monday.

In the U.S., debt crisis, rapid and/or sustained inflation and geo-economic confrontation were the top risks cited by business leaders, the survey found.

Conflict-induced commodity concerns also ranked among the top risks across regions, the WEF said.

With the intense focus on economic and geopolitical issues, cyber and digital risks featured less prominently in this year’s rankings, according to the survey.

Environmental risks also ranked much lower than the top five, the survey found.

If business leaders are overlooking major technological risks “this could create future blind spots, leaving their organizations exposed to severe cyber threats,” Carolina Klint, risk management leader, Continental Europe, at Marsh LLC said in a statement accompanying the report.

The transition to net-zero emissions has dropped too far down on the short-term agendas of many business leaders, Peter Giger, group chief risk officer at Zurich Insurance Group, said in the statement. “Even in the current geopolitical and economically challenging environment, we need to focus on building a cleaner, more affordable and more secure energy system, if we hope to keep a net-zero future within grasp,” Mr. Giger said.

More than 12,500 executives across 122 economies responded to the WEF’s 2022 Executive Opinion Survey.

The survey was conducted by the WEF’s Centre for the New Economy and Society, in partnership with Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc. and Zurich.