Activism, strikes and civil commotion climb the list of threats businesses must consider in 2023
Grassroot movements, strikes and civil commotion are risks that every business must consider in 2023, warns strategic malicious risk advisors, CHC Global, as they will likely disrupt businesses and affect organisational resilience for months, if not years, to come.
The strategic Malicious Risk Report, published annually by CHC Global, has now been released to help UK and global organisations understand their exposure to risk, providing analysis of recent developments including extremism, the malicious use of technology and violent protest movements domestically and across the world. Even well-established industries in stable democracies must be prepared for the possible impact of being targeted by increasingly disruptive and potentially violent activism.
Chris Holt, MBE, Chief Executive of CHC Global says: “By having a clearer understanding of the risks to an organisation from malicious perpetrators, risk managers and CEOs can start to consider how these might have far-reaching consequences for their organisation. These risks are not just financial but can also impact operations, reputations, supply chains, and operatives who work in or close to high-risk areas. This report provides an overview of how global events can impact organisations, providing a deep analysis to help organisations mitigate the risks.”
Businesses are already witnessing, either directly or indirectly, the impact of protest movements and civil unrest on their operations. This trend is expected to grow during 2023. Traditionally resilient states are not immune to instability. In the UK alone, there have been at least 70 instances of strike action since June 2022, causing disruption over multiple days and there’s more planned for February and March. Activist groups including Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and Just Stop Oil have blocked roads, dug and occupied tunnels and glued themselves to vehicles and buildings as acts of civil unrest to cause disruption that affects industry broadly. Equally, climate-related protests in the Netherlands caused significant disruption in 2022.
In a global economy, businesses need to understand the impact that these protests, whether domestic or international, can have on their operations. With global market conditions already affecting the cost of living, organisations can expect to see more activism in the form of protests, strikes, and boycotts affecting their operations, directly or indirectly, for the foreseeable future.
Of the movements that have turned violent, a large proportion have been driven by resentment against global economic instability and rapidly rising inflation, and particularly by perceived government failure to control it. There have been mass protests in Sri Lanka, beginning in March 2022, in response to perceived government mismanagement of the economy which led to a shortage of resources, drastic inflation, and near economic collapse.
Other significant areas of malicious risk identified in the strategic Malicious Risk Report include:
Strategic competition: In a world of increasing economic integration, the destabilisation of certain regions caused by the competition between powerful states can have far-reaching consequences. The conflict in Ukraine has already shown how concentrated military aggression by a regional power can impact economies globally, with fallout from global sanctions as well as increased competition for natural resources. Increasing tensions in the South China Sea also have the potential to significantly destabilise global supply chains and economic stability, as well as cause civil and political unrest.
Expansion of non-state armed group activity: The threat from Islamic State and Al Qaeda remains high, with dominant centres of activity continuing to develop in vulnerable African states. In turn, this triggers further economic and geo political insecurity and provides additional opportunities for criminal activity. The expansion of Mexican cartel influence over neighbouring states, such as Guatemala, is likewise driving wider regional instability across Central America.
Exploitation of available technology: The boundaries between many threats are blurring, driven significantly by the exploitation of technology. The number and scale of cyber-attacks on governments and commercial organisation in the last year are noteworthy, with an increased level of activity related to the Russia/Ukraine conflict. Alongside governments, malicious cyber activity also targeted infrastructure and high-profile commercial entities in countries in North America, Europe, and East Asia. Moreover, technology is increasingly being exploited for the development of homemade weapons, such as improvised drones and 3D-printed firearms.
The full report can be downloaded from: www.chcglobal.co.uk/resources.
 CHC Global research, January 2023.
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About CHC Global
CHC Global are strategic malicious risk advisors, helping protect people, organisations, their assets and reputations from the impact and consequences of hostile actions. Focused exclusively on malicious risks, they solve complex problems through their real-world expertise and advanced technology. CHC Global has a global footprint with experience operating in five continents, including challenging and hostile environments. Clients range from global enterprises to high-net-worth individuals. Their Advisory Team supports clients in understanding and managing complex malicious risks who can then be supported by their Broking Team in transferring those risks through specialist insurance products.
Established in 2016, the company comprises personnel with experience of the following: military, political science, foreign policy, counterterrorism, bomb disposal, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons, kidnap and ransom, cyber-crime and extortion.
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About Chris Holt, MBE – Chief Executive
Chris Holt is the founder and Chief Executive of CHC Global, strategic malicious risk advisors. He is widely recognised for his work in political violence, terrorism, kidnap for ransom, cyber and extortion, from both an insurance and advisory perspective.
He spent 10 years in the Royal Engineers and joined the Lloyd’s insurance market in 2008. He is a strong supporter of veterans’ charities including the Lloyd’s and City of London branch of the Royal British Legion. Chris was appointed MBE in 2004 for services to Bomb Disposal.
About Jerry Smith, OBE – Senior Partner & Head of Advisory
Jerry heads up the CHC Advisory business, working with the insurance industry, blue chip companies, national governments, supra-national organisations and international NGOs.
Jerry is recognised globally as one of the leading experts in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive materials (CBRNE) and advises CHC clients on risk management, crisis response and operational resilience projects.
Jerry has more than 30 years’ experience within the British Army, UK Civil Service and the United Nations, as well as the private sector; he has worked in more than 40 countries on four continents. He was the Head of Operations for the verification, disablement and initial removal of Syria’s declared chemical weapons’ arsenal, was a senior advisor to the United Nations and a Director in the international chemical watchdog, the OPCW.
Jerry has a straight-forward approach, never over-complicating issues and always communicates in a jargon-free way.
Previous experience and interests: Jerry holds an MBA and BEng (Hons) from Cardiff University. He also holds a post-graduate diploma in Weapon Effects on Structures and is a member of the Institute of Explosive Engineers. In 2015 he was awarded an OBE for services to international arms control and WMD counter-proliferation.