Skip to main content
main content, press tab to continue
Article | Managing Risk

How prepared is your organisation against civil unrest and ‘crisis on top of crisis’?

By Frederick Gentile and Lucy Stanbrough | September 21, 2022

As the world changes more drastically and frequently, so too does the business need to adapt, minimising emerging risks and maximising new openings.
Risk & Analytics|Risk Management Consulting
Geopolitical Risk

“We are facing a crisis on top of a crisis,” so said Kristalina Georgieva, MD of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)1 recently. She was referring to the combined impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic plus the Russia/Ukraine crisis and accompanied her statement with a sobering forecast on the lack of global growth and a declaration that rising inflation is a "clear and present danger".

Also, according to Georgieva, the consequent inability to shore-up food security will result in, “more hunger, more poverty, and more social unrest – especially for countries that have struggled to escape fragility and conflict for many years.”

The United Nations (U.N.) too, is warning of the destabilising potential of disrupted supply chains and “skyrocketing” food, fuel, and fertilizer prices, particularly in the context of Russia and Ukraine supplying around 30% of the world’s supply of wheat. “All of this is hitting the poorest hardest, and planting the seed for political instability and unrest around the globe,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this year2.

According to The Times, Police forces in the U.K. have begun planning for disorder over the summer amid fears that the cost-of-living crisis and other pressures could trigger civil unrest. This includes assessing the resource needed for any major incidents3.

Meanwhile, broadcaster and campaigner Martin Lewis CBE has also weighed in suggesting the risk of civil unrest may increase unless the Government intervenes to contain inflation.4

Recent examples of civil unrest in other parts of Europe and elsewhere are not in short supply. Since the Arab Spring of 2010, we have seen anti-austerity riots (2011) and human rights protests (2020) in Greece, the notable ‘yellow jacket’ campaigns in France (2018), the Chilean social inequality demonstrations (2019), rallies against COVID-19 restrictions in Italy (2020) and, this year, the youth-led mass protest movement over Sri Lanka's worst-ever economic crisis.

The speed and scale of these protests have, in some cases, been breath-taking, often driven by the largely unregulated nature of social media that allows misinformation to spread unchecked, providing a platform for conspiracy theorists and an outlet for resentments.

Table of Contents

  1. 01

    Will current crises prompt civil unrest in the U.K.?

    Frederick Gentile and Lucy Stanbrough | September 5, 2022


  2. 02

    How can I prepare my business in light of civil unrest risk?

    There are measures your business can take now to prepare for potential unrest.







Director of Risk Engagement

Head of Emerging Risks and Business Engagement

Contact us