According to Allianz, the energy crisis arrives in the top 10 global risks for the first time at #4, at its Risk Barometer, as the world grapples with spiraling fuel costs, supply disruptions, inflation, and the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The global energy market was destabilized further with the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the world’s largest exporter of fossil fuels, in February 2022. There followed a drought in much of Europe, impacting hydropower capacities, while in France more than half the nuclear reactors were shut down for maintenance or because of technical issues.
The only thing that is not “bad” about the current energy crisis is its timing. Europe, as well as other locations, is on the threshold of a green transformation.
This means that companies have a choice: they can rely on energy-cheap foreign countries – or progress towards the electrification of production processes and the hydrogen economy, which it will be critical to support through wise investment.
While the energy crisis could have a positive long-term impact on the decarbonization of the economy, the associated increase in energy poverty could also undermine the acceptance of climate policy – unless effective and lasting aid measures can be established.
A new social contract is needed to address the long-term challenges of the higher energy prices likely during the green transformation
said Ludovic Subran, Chief Economist at Allianz.
What can businesses do?
- Identify critical business processes that could be affected directly or indirectly by a gas or electricity shortage
- Consider how long it will take for operations to get back to ‘normal’ safely and how staff, customers, or suppliers will be impacted
- Outline the measures that will be necessary for making your critical business processes resilient to gas or electricity shortages Undertake scenario testing of your business continuity management plan based on a loss of power
- Ensure the business continuity management process is regularly reviewed, particularly in the event of changes to the regulatory, political, or energy market environment.
Another thing that the energy crisis has made clear, is the fact that there is no way around decarbonizing the economy.
This requires not only billions in investments in new technologies, but also a comprehensive redesign of corporate reporting, helping to ensure compliance challenges remain a top five risk
This brings the non-financial factors to the forefront of reporting, in line with the logic that it is precisely these factors that become financially material in the long run.
Finally, extending the reporting scope beyond the current focus on financial risks makes the disclosure of information a much more complex and challenging exercise, not least as the CSRD follows a “double materiality” approach: it requires assessing both impact directions.
While the “financial materiality” is concerned with the impact of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues on the financial performance of assets (outside-in perspective), the “impact materiality” concentrates on the environmental and social impacts that an asset causes (inside-out perspective)
the Risk Barometer concludes.
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