Systemic Risks and the Four Dilemmas of our Time

Sponsered by Impact Trust, FAN Initiative, and MAHB.

Dr Gary Kendall presents and discusses thought-provoking perspectives on why our collective reluctance to reconceptualise paradigms commits us to a future of growing systemic risk.

The Covid pandemic has been considered by many as a crisis event, one of epic proportions that brought society to a grinding halt. It has presented the spectre of a near total collapse of the global economic system and demonstrated the inadequacy of just-in-time business models and supply chains. illuminated how global tax “efficiencies” have undermined the robustness of public health systems and the public sector itself most especially in the world’s largest democracies and irrefutably exposed the extent of the fault lines in our society, the inequality, both in the resilience of sectors of society and in the divide between those who grow richer through the virus and those who face dire hardship. Covid’s persistence has perhaps allowed us – or forced us – to consider that the pandemic is demonstrative of a trend, that it reflects cascading, systemic risks making up what is referred to as the polycrisis.

“ If you think about this question of “What’s next?”, in no trivial way, what’s next is what we make of it. What we are able to convince others of, what we are able to do, what we are able to show. The morals we set, the ethical examples that we give. These things are passed on to others through global continuous engagement. That’s why the battle of ideas has to be joined, that’s why being on the side-lines is no longer an option for any of us. That’s why we have to engage because if we don’t, others will drive the agenda. We have a responsibility to create the world we want.” 

Ian Goldin (2018)
Resilience at Work

Gary Kendall

Dr. Gary Kendall has been working at the intersection of business strategy and systemic risk for more than a decade. Prior to joining Nedbank in November 2013, he was Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership in Cape Town, helping business leaders in Southern Africa to understand the mounting system pressures that will reshape their operating context.

Gary previously served as Executive Director at SustainAbility, a hybrid think-tank and strategy consultancy based in London, advising blue-chip organizations – including Ford, Shell, Nestlé, Novo Nordisk, Anglo American, A.P. Moller-Maersk and Sasol on how to strengthen their business strategies with enhanced systems intelligence. Gary is the author of the WWF publication on electromobility “Plugged In: The End of the Oil Age”. He has a PhD in Physical Chemistry.