Outbreak Readiness and Business Impact

Outbreak Readiness and Business Impact: Protecting Lives and Livelihoods across the Global Economy


As this report explains, the number and diversity of infectious disease outbreaks are gradually but inexorably increasing, as is their capacity to send shocks through our global economic systems. As we travel, trade and communicate across an increasingly hyperconnected global economy, more and more companies will find themselves exposed to the effects of outbreaks that begin thousands of miles away. One threat is the disease itself; the other is fear of the disease. In a world of always-on news and “fake news”, fear spreads faster than any pathogen, sparking policy reactions, sharp changes in customer behaviour and deep anxieties among staff. … For individual businesses, developing a better understanding of infectious disease risks and how they can be managed has clear financial benefits. For policy-makers, the better that businesses manage such risks, the more resilient the overall economy will be. Moreover, when business leaders are more aware of what’s at stake, maybe there will be a different dialogue about global health – from being a topic that rarely touches the radar screen of business leaders to being a subject worthy of attention, investment and advocacy.

Go to Report

Resource Details

Harvard Global Health Institute
World Economic Forum

January 2019

22 pages

Economic Impacts
Infectious Disease

Table of Contents

Executive summary
Report findings
– Infectious disease outbreaks are a global threat
– Economic sensitivity to outbreaks is on the rise
– Business is on the front line of an evolving microbial war
– Businesses should act to mitigate the rising threat of infectious disease outbreaks

Related Resources