BACK TO TOP

Securing Assets in a Volatile World: Insights from the Allied Universal 2024 Intelligence Outlook - Part 3 – Environment and Sustainability

Sign up to receive our blog posts in your inbox.

 

 
Globe sitting in foliage

As the world is exposed to escalating environmental challenges, the nexus between environmental sustainability and security has never been more critical. The Allied Universal 2024 Intelligence Outlook report sheds light on this pressing issue, emphasizing the need for integrated strategies to protect assets and ensure a sustainable future. 

Climate change, resource depletion, and environmental degradation pose significant risks to global security. These environmental challenges are not isolated concerns but intertwined with the fabric of our security infrastructure. From natural disasters disrupting supply chains to resource conflicts fueling geopolitical tensions, the impact is global.

But what does this mean for day-to-day operations in the security industry?

In this third installment of our series, "Securing Your Assets in a Volatile World," we explore the critical intersections between the environment (weather and natural disasters) and sustainability.  In addition to identifying and discussing the threat landscape, we explore options that assist security teams with reducing vulnerability and mitigating potential harm and bring forward considerations and potential solutions to make your organization more resilient in a globally volatile environmental landscape.

High Level Trends

Let’s begin with a global perspective of the key environmental and sustainability trends shaping the security landscape for 2024. Here, it's crucial to understand the multifaceted nature of these challenges. The following points underscore the significant trends and primary concerns that are expected to influence global security strategies and operational resilience.

  • Accelerating Climate Change: The planet is witnessing an unprecedented escalation in climate-related disasters, with hurricanes, floods, and wildfires occurring with greater frequency and intensity. These natural events disrupt global stability, damage infrastructure and pose significant challenges to security measures. The direct impacts, including the displacement of populations and damage to public and private infrastructure, necessitate robust adaptive strategies to safeguard assets and human lives.
  • Resource Depletion: The global economy faces critical shortages of essential natural resources, most notably water and energy. These shortages inflame geopolitical tensions and competition among nations, as access to these dwindling resources becomes a strategic priority. As nations vie for access to limited natural resources, the potential for conflict escalates.  The quest for resource security is shaping international relations, driving investments in alternative sources, and prompting a reevaluation of consumption patterns.
  • Sustainability Initiatives: In response to environmental pressures, a growing emphasis on sustainability and green practices has emerged across industries. Organizations are increasingly integrating sustainable practices into their operations to mitigate environmental risks and ensure long-term resilience. This shift not only aids in reducing ecological footprints but also positions companies as leaders in sustainability, enhancing their reputational standing and securing a competitive advantage.

5 Risks to Corporate Security

Knowing the risk landscape that your program is up against is half the battle, and considering what specific threats these overarching trends bring to our organizations is critical. Here we highlight the critical security risks that corporate security teams may wish to prioritize in the current environmental context. These risks require vigilant attention and strategic responses to safeguard organizational assets and ensure operational continuity in an increasingly unpredictable global landscape.

  1. Infrastructure Vulnerability: The increased frequency of severe weather events directly threatens physical assets, including public and private facilities and critical infrastructure. Ensuring the resilience of physical assets against extreme weather events will be increasingly important to security teams in the coming years.
  2. Supply Chain Disruptions: The depletion of natural resources and environmental degradation can lead to supply chain vulnerabilities, impacting the availability and cost of fuel and energy resources critical for organizational operations. This may lead to a heightened attractiveness of inventory and supplies to criminals.
  3. Energy Security and Resource Targeting: Geopolitical tensions and resource scarcity make energy assets prime targets for hostile actions -- including sabotage or cyber-attacks -- aimed at disrupting supply and exerting political or economic pressure.
  4. Political and Social Unrest: Resource scarcity and environmental degradation may lead to social unrest and political instability in affected regions. Corporations operating internationally should stay informed and prepared for potential disruptions.
  5. Regulatory and Compliance Risks: The emphasis on environmental disruption, coupled with sustainability initiatives and green practices may bring about complex changes in regulations and standards. Organizations will need to navigate these to avoid penalties, maintain compliance and protect brand reputation.

Potential Risk Mitigation Strategies

Which solutions are most effective at tackling these challenges head-on? 

To equip teams with the tools and strategies necessary to navigate the evolving landscape of corporate security risks, security leaders need to fortify organization defenses, ensuring resilience and adaptability in the face of environmental and sustainability-related challenges.

  • Infrastructure Resilience Planning: Corporate security teams should develop comprehensive plans to enhance the resilience of critical infrastructure. This includes not only strengthening physical structures against extreme weather but also integrating advanced security technologies and ensuring emergency response capabilities are in place and fully operational, facilitating swift action in the face of environmental threats.
  • Energy Asset Protection: Protecting energy assets requires a multi-layered approach, incorporating both physical and cyber security measures. Teams should focus on establishing robust physical barriers, state-of-the-art surveillance systems, and sophisticated cybersecurity protocols. Regular drills and audits should be conducted to test the effectiveness of these measures and adapt to evolving threats.
  • Supply Chain Security: Enhancing security across the supply chain involves identifying critical nodes and implementing targeted monitoring and protection measures. This may include deploying advanced tracking systems, establishing secure communication channels with suppliers, and conducting regular security assessments to identify and mitigate potential vulnerabilities.
  • Crisis Management and Response: Effective crisis management and response strategies are crucial in managing environmental risks. Security teams should not only establish comprehensive plans but also conduct regular training and simulation exercises to ensure readiness. These plans should be adaptable, allowing for rapid response to a wide range of environmental incidents, from natural disasters to resource scarcity impacts.
  • Continuity and Contingency Planning: Comprehensive crisis management plans should cover the well-being of employees during environmental emergencies, including the possibility of employee evacuation and weighing employee housing and transportation needs. Environmental disasters that reduce the physical safety of employees are likely to impact business continuity. Contingency plans for the absence of personnel can help mitigate the negative financial impact of such emergencies. 
  • Compliance and Sustainability Monitoring: Security teams need to stay informed and ahead of constantly evolving regulatory changes and compliance requirements. This involves actively monitoring legislative changes, participating in sustainability forums, and adapting security practices to align with best practices in environmental stewardship and sustainability reporting.

By focusing on these expanded strategies, corporate security teams can significantly enhance their organization's resilience to environmental and sustainability-related risks, ensuring both protection and compliance in a rapidly changing global landscape.

CONCLUSION

As we conclude our exploration into the environmental and sustainability insights from the Allied Universal 2024 Intelligence Outlook, it becomes evident that the forthcoming year will present us with unique challenges and opportunities. Armed with a deeper understanding of environmental trends and corporate security risks, security teams are better positioned to innovate and implement strategies that not only mitigate risks but also promote sustainability. Our journey through the evolving landscape of global security is ongoing and adaptability, foresight, and cooperation remain crucial. The insights shared in this series underscore the importance of proactive preparation and resilience in safeguarding our assets and ensuring sustainable futures. 

Stay tuned for our next and final blog post, where we will navigate the intricate world of cybersecurity, offering further guidance to fortify your security posture in 2024.

Download the Allied Universal® 2024 Intelligence Outlook here.

Risk Intelligence Report cover

View Part 1 and Part 2 of the 2024 Intelligence Outlook Blog Series