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Risk & Resilience

How to make sustainability risk a strategic priority

June 29, 2015

When your company's board meets to talk about long-term strategy, is risk a part of the conversation? Alex Wittenberg, a partner at Oliver Wyman's Global Risk Center says the most sophisticated companies make sure that long-term risks are folded into the company's strategy batter.

Wittenberg spoke with GreenBiz's Joel Makower about long-term risk on the main stage at GreenBiz Forum 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. The biggest challenge Wittenberg described in long-term risk assessment is getting boards and corporate leadership to think outside the short-term box of quarterly and yearly earnings.

"We actually ask the participants to think about the 18-month picture and the 10-year picture," Wittenberg said. "Because if you only ask people to think about the 10-year picture, it's really hard to get them off the headline."

While companies are used to dealing with short-rem volatility in markets and supply chains, Wittenberg said, the same type of assessment needs to be made for risk in strategic thinking.

"A lot of sophisticated organizations are saying strategy and risk need to be talked about at the same time, and over that same time horizon," he said.