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FT-mar16-Vol51-2 9 propriately rationalised after the fact with the benefi t of hindsight. They include natural disasters like earthquakes and crop damage, terrorism and plague, longterm power cuts and tornados… in fact they cover anything that’s hard to plan for. It is clear that none of our towns, cities or businesses in New Zealand are particularly resilient when it comes to natural disasters. For a country that’s geographically juvenile, we tend to turn our faces from the realities of what is facing us, believing that ‘she’ll be right’. But sometime soon, possibly in your own backyard, ‘she’ won’t be right. In 2007, parts of Britain were decimated by huge rainfall and subsequent fl oods. In the ‘summer of suffering’, an estimated 414mm of rain fell in three months, the most since records began in 1766. Despite rescue efforts being the biggest in peace-time Britain, fi ve people died, more than half a million houses were severely damaged and thousands of businesses affected. This rain event changed the face of the United Kingdom, as the Government demanded utility companies cover the costs of the crisis and avoid unintended consequences. Unfortunately the fl oods made it crucial that a review was needed to ensure everyone knew their personal responsibilities. The independent Pitt Review a year later called for urgent and fundamental changes to the way Britain adapted to the increased risk of disaster. So what can New Zealand food companies and technological entrepreneurs take from that advice here Downunder? It’s clear that businesses and institutions can’t afford to ignore disasters, which can disrupt supply networks that then close down production, stranding communities and strangling transport networks. Nor can businesses afford to be surprised by the soaring cost of fuel or industrial action. It’s no use waiting until water is lapping around your ankles or your fl eet of vehicles has no fuel before your organisation decides to develop a plan. Organisational resilience, in both the public and private sectors, must be embedded and enhanced, not least through the transfer of best practice within and between sectors. The need to develop resilient capabilities in the context of an interconnected world is paramount. The aftermath of sudden and extreme events has revealed how contextually dependent business recovery is. When it comes to the private sector, all organisations have a range of dependencies, which can also be vulnerabilities when it comes to periods such as the Global Financial Crisis. With many New Zealand companies striving to succeed internationally (start-ups often aspire to be ‘born global’ or part of a large global supply chain), their desire to be globally connected through information technology and international supply chains exposes them to real risks in the face of extreme events. This was harshly demonstrated by the 2008 milk and infant formula scandal in China that originated with the state-owned dairy products company Sanlu, in which Fonterra held a 43% stake. On the other hand, small companies with limited resources can be more immediately exposed to global threats such as cyber terrorism than large ones. Whilst large organisations have a greater ability to manage and mitigate, • The global nature of the world today means that overcoming the tyranny of distance exposes us to new levels of risk • When developing international strategies, take into account threats that occur on the other side of the world…there will be ripple e ects here • Private/public sector ‘join ups’ must be cultivated at the local level, and reflected in organisational strategies • Find out more about the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, agreed in Japan recently.

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