Air Date

July 26, 2023


As traditional risks and geopolitical threats intertwine in novel and complex ways, collaboration among the public, private, and non-profit sectors has become more critical than ever. Only by working together can these groups most effectively mitigate risk while navigating an ever-changing global landscape.

During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s 12th Annual Building Resilience Conference, industry leaders discussed how proactive preparedness, information sharing across organizations, and collaboration with local entities can help build resilience.

Adequate Disaster Preparedness Requires Private Sector Corporations to Think Proactively

Recently, foreign governments have been increasingly engaging the private sector to assist with resilient defense strategies against varying geopolitical threats.

“I think [the war in] Ukraine exposed the fact that government capacities are limited,” Joel Thomas, CEO of SPIN Global.

As such, he worked with NATO to develop non-binding guidance on engaging the private sector before, during, and after disasters.

“We [want to] get to a point where we have preset relationships and preset conditions for public-private cooperation in the context of peace, crisis, and war,” he added.

Tatiana Moklebust, Vice President of Global Business Resilience at AmerisourceBergen, expanded on this idea, noting that the company relies on “a lot of existing partnerships from the public sector” to deliver lifesaving medications to communities in need during times of crisis.

Provash Budden, Deputy Senior Vice President of Emergency Programs at AmeriCares, echoed this sentiment.

“[We’re] delivering medical supplies [and] medicines to … about 90 countries, but we can’t do that alone,” Budden emphasized, adding that the NGO currently works with nearly 4,000 global partners. “We rely heavily on … those local health partners that understand the complex environments that we’re part of.”

Shared Data Sets Are Key When Securely Fulfilling Supply Chains in Times of Crisis

In addition to collaboration between governments, NGOs, and private sector organizations, utilizing shared data proactively and effectively can mitigate geopolitical threats that have a significant economic impact.

“Many companies would not be profitable if they did not have a really deep and granular understanding of the movement of supply of goods through their particular supply chains,” said Margi Van Gogh, Head of Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility Industries with the World Economic Forum. “What we are talking about here is the aggregation of multiple supply chains across multiple value chains to give you an anonymized view of the performance of a system.”

For example, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, shared data sets allowed for careful tracking and rapid, responsive decision-making on an international scale. An accessible aggregation of data applied in other contexts, Van Goh added, would similarly require impartial governance to build trust in the interest of public safety.

Information Sharing Across Localized Networks Is Vital

In addition to leveraging data, convening and connecting hyper-local interest groups, organizations, and companies on the ground can have significant positive impacts on building resilience in environments facing political unrest or responding to natural disasters.

“From a geopolitical perspective, we have Ukraine, we have Russia, [and the] Asia-Pacific [region],” said Moklebust. “You’re dealing with different country regulations … [and] potentially a variety of situations [in which] you really have to rely on that local knowledge.”

Moderator Jesse Levin, Founder of Tactivate, highlighted the role of businesses in not only leveraging localized networks but also ensuring those local perspectives are heard and prioritized.

“It takes organizations like all of us here… to be able to actively ensure that there [are] enough voices represented in the decision-making process,” Levin emphasized. “Be it from disabled populations or youth, or women or the elderly, or those that are ethnically marginalized, [they need] to be able to have a voice.”