The Global Boardroom Day One Summary

11:20 – 11:30 BST

Opening Remarks

John Ridding, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Times

Roula Khalaf, Editor, Financial Times

The crisis has affected all aspects of society, from business to politics

JR: “Throughout the past year, the COVID crisis has interacted with and influenced national politics, from the US election to the relationship between the UK and the EU.”

Although positive steps have been made with the vaccination programme, the pandemic is far from over

RK: “When you’re living through a global pandemic, a few months can seem like a few years. So much has happened since our 2nd edition. Not all of it, but some of it, has taken us in a more positive direction.”

RK: “We have to vaccinate the world for each of us to feel protected and we are failing on this front.”

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11:30 – 11:55 BST

Keynote Interview

Melinda French Gates, Co-chair and Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Moderator: Roula Khalaf, Editor, Financial Times

Wealthy nations have a key role to play in returning the world to a state of normality and need to prevent vaccine hoarding

MFG: “To have low-income countries that can’t even vaccinate their healthcare workers, that is the system people are going into to take care of one another, you have to get the entire healthcare system populated and the elderly vaccinated as well.”

MFG: “It benefits all of us to have the global economy reopened. Those are the arguments being made and governments are starting to listen.”

Women have been severely affected by the pandemic and national policy needs to support and protect them

MFG: “Women often hold informal jobs or low-income jobs, but the predominant reason is caregiving, we are finally seeing that women on average do 30 hours of caregiving a week. That’s a part-time job.”

MFG: “The point is to look at caregiving as infrastructure, and if you look at the plan put forward by the president yesterday, he sees caregiving as infrastructure.”

Collaboration and communication is what will create the most effective solutions

MFG: “You need a robust system in our democracy that involves government, private sector civil service and philanthropy, when you get those all working right you get solutions.”

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12:00 – 12:45 BST

Managing the Pandemic: Looking beyond an effective vaccine rollout

Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

Kate Bingham, Managing Partner, SV Health Investors

Martin Lush, Vice President, Global Health Sciences Division, NSF International

Uğur Şahin, Co-Founder and CEO, BioNTech

Moderator: Clive Cookson, Science Editor, Financial Times

The success of the vaccine programme must not be underappreciated, but new variants and rises in cases in less wealthy nations should not be ignored

KB: “I think it has been a phenomenal success story of collaboration and scientific achievement. In the last four months over a billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given and that’s within sixteen months of identifying this novel virus.”

US: “We see that we are producing timely and are happy we are not facing too many technical problems and can keep our delivery schedule. We are happy to see the real world data that shows that the vaccinations really make an impact on people’s lives.”

SB: “We understand the balance that countries need to do between taking care of their own population, but we also need to make sure we can dampen down this pandemic globally if we are to have any hope of returning to some form of normality.”

ML: “I think what we are seeing in India in particular changes everything. Firstly, it is a cautionary reminder to the rest of the world: number 1, the importance of lockdown — you cannot vaccinate your way through this in isolation; number 2, don’t relax too fast; and thirdly, no one is safe until we are all safe.”

The pandemic has revealed serious issues with global pharmaceutical supply chains, which urgently need to be examined and solved

KB: “This pandemic has shone a spotlight on the inadequacies in a lot of supply chains. I completely agree we need to avoid nationalism, as that doesn’t help anybody.”

US: “We can now start to think about what we are going to do in the next stage, how can we ensure a supply in 2022, 2023. I believe we all understand that the virus will stay with us and that most likely some sort of revaccination will be needed.”

SB: “The problem right now is we don’t know enough about the science to really answer, is this a straight linear increase in vaccination? Will we need booster doses? Will we need to change the vaccine for variants or even have specialised variant boosters? What we need to do is be flexible in our planning. This is not something that is going away.”

ML: “India is the largest supplier of vaccines. We are going to have supply chain issues with vaccines as they’re going to reallocate supply for their domestic use. Also, importantly, India also supplies the vast majority of non-COVID related vaccines. India is the largest supplier of generic medicines — 1 in 3 medicines consumed in the US comes from an Indian generic manufacturer, so we can expect supply chain challenges and issues beyond COVID.”

The most important learning from the pandemic is that investing in vaccines, vaccine production and pharmaceutical research is the best way we can prepare for the next pandemic

KB: “As far as vaccines are concerned, I think it’s been a pretty strong, collaborative story across the world. As Seth said, it’s not been good enough and we need to make it better. One of the things we can learn now is that these vaccines are difficult to manufacture, they’re costly to deploy and we’re not getting them to the people that need them so that tells us that we need to do something about the actual vaccine formulation.”

US: “We have seen the economic cost of this pandemic and, of course, the experts knew such a pandemic could happen. It is not a complete surprise there were plans available and there was a demand for creating and manufacturing response systems and it was not invested in. We now know these things can change our lives and change the fate of the whole planet. We need to invest.”

SB: “The critical issue is having resilient health systems. Vaccinations reach about 90 per cent of the families in the world, so there is still 10 per cent who don’t get a routine vaccination — the so-called ‘zero dose’ — and that’s a really important group, because 50 per cent of those people are below the poverty line; that’s where the deaths are concentrated. Our core strategy is to focus on that zero-dose community.”

ML: “The focal point of this discussion has been on vaccination treatment, because we are in that reactionary phase, but very quickly we need to be shifting to prevention, because I truly believe outbreaks, whether they be viral or microbial, are inevitable — but pandemics are optional.”

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13:00 – 13:45 BST

The Future of Europe: Finding a new framework for growth

Pierre Gramegna, Minister of Finance, Luxembourg

Francesca McDonagh, Group CEO, Bank of Ireland

Corrado Passera, Founder and CEO, illimity

Magnus Tyreman, Managing Partner, Europe, McKinsey & Company

Moderator: Ben Hall, Europe Editor, Financial Times

The EU still has not spent any of the €750bn coronavirus pandemic recovery fund it agreed in July 2020 and it is a smaller amount than that recently agreed by US Congress

PG: “Yes, the money hasn’t flowed yet, but has the US effort been faster and bigger? You cannot compare the two. The US measures are short-term, distributing purchasing power to consumers, but this is not the way we have chosen in Europe. Our measures are medium-term [and] are geared towards investment.”

CP: We are moving in the right direction. There are several tasks to be undertaken to achieve sustainable growth and they are all inter-related. One is the need to create competitive European companies, and to achieve that we need an efficient single market of a size comparable to the US or China. That is not yet the case in a number of industries. Banking is one example. Another task has to do with governance. There needs to be faster decision-making at the EU level. It is unrealistic to keep insisting on unanimity rules.

The European banking system has proved resilient during the COVID-19 crisis

FM: “COVID-19 is a health crisis that has had a huge global economic impact. I would like to think that banks can be part of the solution, as opposed to the global financial crisis over 10 years ago, where banks themselves were the genesis of that crisis.”

CP: “Digital technology is changing the face of the banking industry. Sometimes it is much better to totally replace your technology rather than improve it gradually. So we decided to start from scratch without any legacy.”

European companies need to be more productive and digitalisation is helping

MT: “When we look at the future of Europe in our research we think about three components that should have equal weight – wellbeing, sustainability and prosperity. Europe has historically [done], and continues to do, well on wellbeing and sustainability. But we have struggled more on prosperity, which is where productivity comes in.”

FM: “As we recover we won’t be going back to ‘normal’; we will be going to ‘new’ and it will be a much more digital new. We have seen that in banking. People think digital is impersonal. In fact digital, with the use of data and AI, is enabling a more personalised service for many of our customers.”

MT: “Productivity development has been relatively muted in the Western world in the last decade or two. In Europe, there has been less than 1 per cent productivity growth per year.”

PG: The EU’s recovery plan will help companies. We should learn from the crisis of 2008, where from that time on we suffered from under-investment in the EU, because the stability and growth pact was too much geared to discipline instead of growth.

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14:00 – 14:45 BST

Moving to Net Zero: How should political success be measured at COP26?

Jochen Flasbarth, State Secretary at the Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Federal Republic of Germany

Lesetja Kganyago, Governor, South African Reserve Bank

Jo Taylor, CEO, Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan

Moderator: Leslie Hook, Environment and Clean Energy Correspondent, Financial Times

Net zero targets for carbon emissions set by governments and companies may be difficult to meet, but they are essential

LK: “We have to get there. We are all on the same planet. South Africa’s economy is fairly energy intensive and our energy comes in the main from fossil fuels. Our government recently produced a policy draft that aims to reduce emissions by 28 per cent by 2030 from the targets that we announced in 2015 in Paris.”

JT: “As one of the world’s larger pension plans, we are trying to use our scale and influence to ensure a sustainable future. We are trying to rationalise how we deal with our existing investments as well as look at new ones that we will make over the next few years, and that’s quite complicated.”

JF: “Governments need to set the right targets and then society and the private sector will adjust their behaviour and their business. Without a target you cannot get there. Since we clarified the target is net zero, it changed the debate tremendously in my country and companies now know they have to be climate-neutral by the middle of this century.”

The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic devastation it has caused has, in many cases, helped rather than hindered climate action

JF: “Nobody can say that the pandemic is a good thing. People are suffering around the world. A couple of months before the pandemic, we saw the birth of the Green Deal in Europe and I was not sure it would survive, and that we would go back to brown patterns of recovery, but we have not done so. We are on a green recovery road.”

JT: “At the start of the pandemic, ‘climate’ was off the table because we were figuring out what impact coronavirus would have on our staff, our ability to operate and how we made sure our existing investments remained stable, because a lot were having major impacts on their revenues and activities. Having said that, I think that coronavirus has accelerated everybody’s view about the need for change, not just on climate but in the digital world and other sectors too. There is much more of an appetite among investors to own green assets.”

LK: “We are a country that is vulnerable to drought, fire and flood. When these things hit us as a result of climate change, we need to ask ourselves if the financial sector would be able to meet its obligations. Here, for example, we are looking at the insurance sector.”

The EU is working on a climate change taxonomy – a set of definitions and a classification system for what should be considered green assets. The US and other countries are creating something similar, but there is a danger that a patchwork set of green standards will emerge instead of a common set

JF: “We might have different standards and taxonomies in different parts of the world at the start, but if you want to reach something that can be agreed from the beginning, on a global scale, you’ll get nowhere. It is a very heavy debate and that is a clear indicator of how important taxonomy is for the financial sector.”

LT: “We have a lot of different ways of measuring things and it’s hard to align the investment community on agreeing the approach. If you think about it from our perspective, it’s not only the investments we make. We also co-invest with other institutions around the world, so it’s helpful to have a similar approach and standards.”

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15:00 – 15:45 BST

The Road to Recovery? An analysis of the Biden administration’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda

Gary Cohn, Former Director, US National Economic Council

Anja Manuel, Director, Aspen Strategy Group and Aspen Security Forum

Chuck Robbins, Member of the Board of Directors, Business Roundtable

Moderator: Peter Spiegel, US Managing Editor, Financial Times

A major driving force behind Biden’s policy is the need to compete with China

CR: “As we look at Chinese companies in particular, to some extent they have a different way of competing with us and capability of competing with us because of their tax rates, the amount of government support that they get relative to R&D and relative to them competing on a global basis, so the speed at which China can move will create challenges for us if we don’t figure out how to move faster.”

AM: “We don’t want to ‘out China’. There is a potential here for a race to the bottom, saying, ‘well, American and European industries are over regulated, over taxed’. Look at Huawei, they have no tax, they have huge subsidies, and in a way you’re seeing a little bit more industrial policy, which was a bad word until not too long ago. Some amount of that is appropriate, but really when we are solving the ‘not a level playing field’ for western companies in China problem, you have to do it multilaterally.”

US infrastructure desperately needs major investment, and COVID has only made that clearer

GC: “In the United States, there is no one who doesn’t think we have to improve our core basic infrastructure. Whether its roads, bridges, tunnels, high-speed broadband, that’s the basic core infrastructure. What I was trying to do in my infrastructure week is try and think about not only the OPEX, fixing what we already have, but also what would we look at as CAPEX, what would we want to invest in as real infrastructure and what are the opportunities there.”

CR: “One of the things we’ve seen in the last 12-15 months, particularly in the United States, is the need to deliver high-speed broadband. We should think of broadband today in the same way we thought of electricity 50 years ago; every home should just have it and we should make sure all homes have it.”

GC: “We’ve got a chicken and an egg problem here and we’ve got a bit of a technology problem here. So when we talk about growing manufacturing and growing jobs in the US and creating factory jobs and manufacturing jobs and then when we talk about the environment simultaneously. You’re talking about workers working in factories that are run through electricity, they’re not going to be burning heavy oils, coal or pollutants. So we have to create a reliable electric grid that works 24/7, 365 days a year, for someone then to want to go build that manufacturing plant to then hire those people.”

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16:00 – 16:45 BST

Retail: Has the crisis been exaggerated?

Mercedes Abramo, President & CEO, Cartier North America

James Bailey, Executive Director, Waitrose

Anita Balchandani, Partner, McKinsey & Company

Rob Hattrell, Head of eBay Europe, eBay

Moderator: Jonathan Eley, Retail Correspondent, Financial Times

COVID has not created new consumer trends, it has just accelerated existing ones

JB: “It’s fair to say that the consumer and competitor forces are straining against traditional models, and I guess whether it’s a crisis or not depends on whether your business model is aligned to that or whether it is set up to manage that, and if it’s not, how quickly it’s going to adapt. You’ve seen in the past year, unfortunately, in the UK, quite a number of businesses who were attempting to redesign or reorganise or shift their priorities and just ran out of money, space or time.”

RH: “This is just an acceleration of existing forces. I think we all saw [it] happening across all our markets; outside of the health specifics there is nothing new here, except things changed a lot faster. Part of that is that we as consumers are looking closer at the things we buy and where we buy them from and I think that’s a meaningful shift.”

AB: “What we see [during] the pandemic is that consumers are willing to shop even high-end watches and jewellery online, so when it comes to pure purchase and click the buy button, actually, online seems to be effective across a range of things. I think it’ll fall down to a couple of things: the rise of experiential shopping as part of a day out mission as one of the most enjoyable activities that we do, not just on our own but with friends and family as a leisure pursuit. I think the level of experience and experiential shopping in that sense is going to increase. I wouldn’t underestimate the importance of local convenience and immediacy as well.”

Surviving COVID has been dependent not on a business’s size but instead its ability to adapt without losing what made them successful

JB: “On one hand you could say half our business is in crisis and the other half is booming, but in reality the answer is a lot more nuanced than that. On one hand, the John Lewis business was much better prepared to move to an online marketplace than the Waitrose business was. We previously had alternative arrangements via a third party and yet the business model in John Lewis seemed a lot less resilient, certainly to the point where the shops had to close and the business move to nearly 80 per cent online from 35 per cent the year prior. For any established business, any kind of channel shift like that would be a fundamental threat to its operating model. There is no playbook for turning your channel upside down within the space of six weeks.”

AB: “It is hard to describe anyone as a winner, but they (Target, Home Depot, Walmart) have been much more resilient. They have been resilient because these players have absolutely plugged into how the consumers shop and how those shopping patterns are going to evolve and they have very quickly stood up new innovative propositions that really combine the best of digital and physical.”

MA: “We went from a very retail-focused, somewhat wholesale-focused and a small e-commerce business, to overnight everything changing dramatically and having none of our network in the US or Canada open. The good news was we’d already been laying a foundation. We had a decent e-commerce channel, we had lots of things on the priority list, we had a roadmap and it basically just reprioritised everything. So we moved very quickly to be able to service our clients online, but there is a lot of high customer service in luxury, so we have lots of strong relationships with our clients that are really one-to-one based and highly customised.”

RH: “The real answer to this is not for us as an industry to impose on customers this kind of division between online and offline, and some missions only get served in one or the other. I think the end state here is ultimately customers don’t care and if customers engage with the brand and the retailer because of the products they serve and the way they serve it and the service they deliver with it, that ultimately is the thing that wins out.”

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17:00 – 17:45 BST

Banking post-COVID: Will the future be built on trust or technology?

Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Bank of America

Ajay Bhalla, President, Cyber & Intelligence, Mastercard

Maximilian Tayenthal, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, N26

Colin Walsh, Founder and CEO, Varo Bank

Moderator: Stephen Morris, Banking Editor, Financial Times

As the business of banking moves online and becomes mobile, contactless, cashless, data-mined and machine-led, does this signal the end of traditional models built on trust and loyalty?

CB: “Trust and technology go hand in hand, and they have to be delivered together. The marketplace has changed dramatically and I don't view it anymore as pushing digital adoption, I view it as accelerating digital demand.”

AB: “I think what we have seen in the last 12 months is a multi-fold acceleration of digitisation, and it has happened in every single space from banking to retail. Everything has gone to digitise. Many people who were reluctant to get into things like digital groceries have had no choice but to embrace it. It has worked remarkably well; people have adapted very successfully because of digitisation, and the technologies behind digitisation were able to create trust. As the world moves on and the world returns to normality, many of these habits are going to stay. It is about creating technology that solves real world problems for people.”

MT: “Trust and technology aren't at odds with one another. Trust is something that is naturally fundamental in banking and that doesn't change if you provide a service via bricks and mortar, or via a smartphone.”

CW: “COVID has been a massive accelerant in terms of adoption of digital technologies across many industries, and certainly in banking. There are a vast number of consumers in the US who have been underserved by their traditional banks, simply because the economics have not worked for them. They are moving very quickly, and we are approaching a tipping point. Trust is the largest currency we trade in — consumers need to trust that their money is going to be safe and taken care of, and that they can access their money whenever they want.”

A big concern of consumers and increasingly regulators is how institutions embrace and invest in digital innovation — for example, collecting and sharing data to market more personally-relevant ads and products — without compromising privacy and protection?

MT: “Data, like technology, can and should be used for good. Using data is about creating a service that can be personalised in the right way. Relevant content needs to be displayed and irrelevant content needs to be not shown. There needs to be a clear differentiation for product recommendation within the banking experience and from external partners.”

CB: “Customers will change over time as they understand how their data is being used and I believe they will differentiate providers based on their confidence that their data protection is as much as they would choose themselves.”

Do you see blockchain as a way of establishing trust in the digital environment?

AB: “I think as more investments go into blockchain technology, we will begin to find more use cases in the technology and it is a very promising space.”

CB: “While I embrace and love and see lots of applications for blockchain technology, I'm just not sure it’s in financial services. We’ve scoured the planet talking to everybody looking for a useable use case that could potentially change something we do and deliver something better than what we can deliver at scale, and because of the long-standing electronification of the movement of money and movement of documentation in banking, I think it's a great technology, but for financial services we haven't seen a case that can really materialise it.”

In this increasingly competitive and disintermediated world, what tactics and strategies should financial institutions adopt to stay relevant and agile, and to keep pace with nimble disruptors flooding the market with customer-first digital experiences? And as a corollary, is the axiom “bigger is better” still relevant in this new world of banking?

MT: “I think the rise in digital challengers in banking and in fintech actually shows us that bigger isn't necessarily better; we think better is better. This isn't about size, it is about speed, customer centricity and flexibility.”

AB: “Given the way the world is today and the way the world of the future will look, will be very, very different and I think it’s not even a question of whether a bank is small, whether the bank is large. I think any bank in today’s world cannot ignore this disruption and have to embrace these new technologies, whether it’s artificial intelligence, or biometrics or digital identity.”

CB: “One place where being bigger is very helpful is in the quality of investment and the ability to have large-scale talent and innovation thrown at the key things that customers and clients want.”

Technology can be used to improve financial inclusion. Equally, a lot of people are worried about AI, specifically unintended consequences such as racial or gender bias leading to financial exclusion. How is your institution approaching this thorny issue and AI in general?

CW: “We’re building algorithms thinking about model governance, thinking about model validation, thinking about explainability. We’re developing tools to help our customers improve their financial lives and be able to offer solutions that many consumers have been systemically left out because of various reasons such as racial and gender bias, and we can eliminate much of that bias, but we have to be sure that we don’t replicate it in a digital context.”

AB: “Innovation has to be good for people, otherwise introducing new technology is of no use. AI is a phenomenal technology which can change the way human beings live. The way we address it is to look at the fundamental design stage of the system as we build them. Trust cannot be an afterthought in that.”

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18:00 – 18:25 BST

Keynote Interview

Antony J. Blinken, 71st US Secretary of State

Moderator: Roula Khalaf, Editor, Financial Times

The US is prioritising its vaccination programme, but has been mobilising supplies for India

AB: “It is important for the security of the rest of the world to see Americans vaccinated. We are looking at ways to ramp up production.”

AB: “We have made a significant effort to get to India what it needs most critically in this movement; oxygen supplies, PPE, therapeutics – all of that has started to flow.”

Restoring international order will prove to citizens that it’s worthwhile

AB: “The more we can show success, the more we can show especially to our own people that this kind of engagement with other countries is delivering for them … the more they will support that.”

AB: “Biden has been clear that if Russia engages with reckless aggressive actions, then we will respond.”

AB: “Diplomacy is about engaging directly. Just because you engage with someone doesn’t mean you take the word ‘no’ out of your vocabulary.”

Countries must collaborate in working with China

AB: “We are not about trying to contain China or hold China down – what we are about is upholding the international rules order. It’s served the world pretty well. We are going to stand up and protect it.”

AB: “We are engaged with China on a whole variety of issues – on Iran, North Korea, climate – but beyond that we want the engagement we have to be results-oriented.”

AB: “This is not about initiating a cold war; it’s ensuring democracies are meeting the needs of their people. This is an important moment for democracies to be working together; and part of that means looking at ourselves.

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18:30 – 19:15 BST

The Rise of the Retail Investor: A new era for trading?

Jose Minaya, CEO, Nuveen

Chris Perry, President, Broadridge

John Rogers, Co-CEO, Ariel Investments

Liz Ann Sonders, Chief Investment Officer, Charles Schwab & Co

Moderator: Jennifer Ablan, US Assistant Managing Editor, Financial Times

The Gamestop phenomenon was the story of 2020

LAS: “The difference that occurred with Gamestop as the poster child is that in the first several months of that cohort becoming much more dominant, their interest was concentrated in many of the same stocks that were already leadership names; the big 5 kind of stock.”

CP: “What’s interesting is when the Gamestop phenomenon happened, I think we were all, as observers, a bit shocked, I mean who had set foot in a theatre in the pandemic or a video store, so that was a bit shocking.”

JR: “This has all the characteristics of one of the greatest bubbles ever.”

JM: “This isn’t a new trend, this is one of the trends like many that the pandemic has accelerated. We’ve been following and looking at technology as a big disruptor within the asset management industry. That is going to continue.”

The future of cryptocurrency is uncertain and causing valuation bubbles that could burst imminently

JR: “Everywhere we go everyone is asking us what to do about cryptocurrencies. They’re so eager to buy, they’re so excited about this, they’ve got friends and family who’ve made so much money and they’re sure that this is a way to get rich quickly.”

LAS: “The best zone of growth for the stock market is actually negative 25 per cent to negative 10 per cent.”

JM: “The other thing that we’ve all been talking about is the importance around financial literacy, and I think what you’re seeing here is what you saw in this phenomenon was people not knowing the tax consequences behind this.”

CP: “I think monetary policy is the front of the line. In the middle of the line are lots of investors, many traditional, and some new investors. What I worry about is the end of the line.”

These are unprecedented times in the asset management industry and the landscape is continuing to adapt to the changing environment

JM: “What you know for sure is that regulators are going to get involved. It’s just very difficult right now to understand how they will and how quickly they will. They are rightfully being cautious. When you see a Gamestop issue it’s hard not to pay attention to it.”

JR: “These are really unprecedented times. I’ve never seen anything like this in the 38 years I’ve been investing professionally. Even Warren Buffet was talking about that this weekend — that they’ve never seen anything like this before.”

CP: “We have a society that is now pulled into gamification. In fact, companies are building tools to get employees engaged in learning, engaged in products. And gamification, remember the word ‘game’, this is not a game, this is people’s livelihoods.”

LAS: “Herd behaviour has been around as long as the sun. It’s just this particular vehicle for stimulating it, but I don’t think herd behaviour in the market and in general is nefarious or illegal.”

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19:30 – 20:15 BST

Moral Money Live: What can businesses do to advance the climate agenda?

Audrey Choi, CEO, Institute for Sustainable Investing, Morgan Stanley

Helen Clarkson, CEO, The Climate Group

Dickon Pinner, Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company

Edmond Scanlon, CEO, Kerry Group

Moderator: Billy Nauman, Reporter and Producer, Moral Money, Financial Times

Boardrooms across the globe have acknowledged there is a climate crisis and the business sector has made incredible progress

DP: “Capital markets are now moving faster — faster than the regulator and faster than the real economy — and I think that’s catching a lot of real economy companies by surprise.”

HC: “We’ve had four years now where change has been really picking up pace. It’s been a good four years really for the climate in the sense that companies are making commitments.”

AC: ‘Innovation in the world of sustainability should increasingly not be seen as a competition issue where we all want to keep these proprietary solutions. If we want to move the needle, if we want to get us all there to a better more resilient future, we really should be thinking not just about sharing innovations within a sector but about the full circular use pattern of things’

Environmental issues are inherently linked to business success moving forward

AC: “It’s not about finance telling businesses what to do, for us the most important thing has been about fundamentally the growing recognition that climate is not some sort of extra financial, off to the side environmental issue but absolutely core to business.”

ES: “This is a time for action and it’s a time for progress over profession not just progress for progress’s sake, but progress at pace and there are some things that can be done faster.”

DP: “I think there is the increased realisation that as carbon gets priced in, it’s like another form of currency that enters into your supply chain and it will fundamentally change the base of competition for all industries.”

HC: “I think we’ve moved on from an era of businesses saying, ‘well, once the government tells us what to do, we’ll do it’ and more saying, ‘this is where we can get to’, and government coming in and putting the regulation that levels out that playing field and then we see competition and other forces coming in and moving things quicker.”

Leaders that embed the climate agenda into their corporate strategy are best positioned for growth and success

AC: “You cannot today be a strategic minded leader of a corporation or a prudent allocator of capital if you don’t recognise that climate change is the mother of all financial impacting factors.”

ES: “The climate journey and net zero objectives, perhaps in the past they were just seen as an operational issue and not necessarily seen as a holistic approach across the whole organisation, and that has changed and it now requires joined up thinking right across companies; right across all functions within companies.”

HC: “I’m quite optimistic, and now that we’ve got a pro-climate action president in the US, which is the world’s second-largest emitter, I think this is a good time for the climate.”

DP: “Educate yourself as management teams and your workforce. Take a crash course in climate science.”

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20:30 – 20:55 BST

Keynote Interview

Cristiano Amon, President and CEO-Elect, Qualcomm Inc

Moderator: Nic Fildes, Telecoms Correspondent, Financial Times

Qualcomm’s business is tied closely to the smartphone market, which has been given a boost by the launch of 5G. The company has not suffered from the souring of relations between the US and China that has disrupted large parts of the telecommunications sector

CA: “We are in a fortunate position because what we do meets the agenda on both sides. From a United States perspective, we have US intellectual property that we licence to our Chinese customers, including Huawei, and we export semi-conductors to China.”

Qualcomm is also helping China’s mobile ecosystem grow domestically and internationally consistent with its belt and road initiative. “Our business with China is increasing and we are very excited about that.”

The roll out of 5G has continued as planned during the pandemic and is helping the global economy recover

CA: “5G has been extremely resilient. At the beginning of the pandemic, before lockdown, we made a prediction about the number of devices that 5G would have in 2020 and it came right on target in spite of the pandemic. This year, 2021, we have line of sight of 5G exceeding half a billion devices and it continues to grow.”

CA: “5G is playing an incredible role in the economic recovery. Thinking of Europe, for example, we see by 2025, if I have got my statistics right, there’s going to be about $1 trillion of economic activity directly associated with 5G. It will become the essential technology to connect everything to the cloud.”

There is a manufacturing bottleneck in the chip industry, which is affecting the automotive industry among others, but supply should be able to match demand by the end of the year

CA: A number of factors have caused this supply chain problem. First, the increased global demand for semiconductors. Second, Huawei, which makes 200m phones a year, has had to shift to different suppliers in a short space of time. Third, there has been a big increase in demand from automotive companies. This has created one of the biggest supply chain crunches seen in a long time. Qualcomm has reacted by creating a plan to rapidly increase capacity and for supply to meet demand by the end of 2021.

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21:00 – 21:45 BST

Latin America Outlook: Can the region avoid another lost decade?

Mauricio Claver-Carone, President, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

João Doria, Governor, State of São Paulo

Sandra Manuelito, Chief, Programme Planning and Evaluation Unit, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)

Woods Staton, Executive Chairman, Arcos Dorados

Moderator: Michael Stott, Latin America Editor, Financial Times

The region’s economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the public and private sectors are working together to get everyone vaccinated and rejuvenate the economy

MC: “COVID-19 has hit Latin America like no other region in the world. The region accounts for 8 per cent of the world’s population but almost 30 per cent of all COVID-19 deaths, and we are really close to hitting 1m deaths. The region’s economic health, which was already anaemic before the pandemic, has got worse. We estimate that Latin America and the Caribbean has suffered its worst contraction since 1821.”

MC: “We cannot afford another lost decade. Our priority is to ensure that everyone, from small businesses to senior government officials, has the help they need to turn the corner and finally put the region on a path to sustainable growth.”

SM: “It is clear that the region has to focus on sectors that favour the generation of inclusive employment and technological innovation in low-carbon production if it is to meet its ambitious sustainable development goals.” In this regard, ECLAC has identified seven priority sectors, including renewable energy, health manufacturing and tourism.”

JD: “For us, the lost decade has already happened. We have lived through the three biggest recessions in history in the past six years in Brazil.” In addition, 410,000 people have died due to COVID-19. Brazil will have to regain trust and credibility, nationally and internationally.”

One of the biggest problems facing Latin America is the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, but there are other risks too

MC: “In my first 100 days here we put $1 billion towards the acquisition, distribution of the vaccines.” The IADB is talking to countries that have a surplus of vaccines so it can get more of them.”

SM: There are many risks to economic recovery beyond the shortage of vaccines. One of them is the likely slow recovery of the manufacturing sector, especially in the labour-intensive industries. Another is the high level of external debt in most countries.

JD: “The vaccination situation is improving and in Sao Paulo we are producing 2 vaccines against COVID-19.”

WS: “One of the main risks is the economic damage that has occurred in the public and private sectors and the high level of indebtedness created. “If you take debt as a percentage of GDP in the region, 10 years ago it was 50 per cent. Today it’s almost 100 per cent.”

Environmental protection and sustainability efforts need to be ramped up to meet the challenge of climate change. Much of this effort will be driven by technological innovation and more international trade

SM: The recovery should be based on the de-carbonation of the economy. ECLAC has identified seven priority areas to focus on and has entered into an agreement with countries in the region to provide more information on environmental matters.

WS: It is important for companies in the region to enter into more trade and investment with each other, and with the US.

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22:00 – 22:45 BST

Resetting US-China Relations: Collaboration vs confrontation

Kurt Campbell, Deputy Assistant to the President and Coordinator for Indo-Pacific Affairs, United States National Security Council

Elizabeth Economy, Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution at Stanford University

Moderator: Demetri Sevastopulo, US-China Correspondent, Financial Times

The USA wants a healthy balance between competition and collaboration

KC: “The hope is to be able to work productively in areas with China that we have common purpose, there are a lot of those issues. Some of them are existential, like proliferation issues or climate change.”

KC: “We recognise that the dominant feature of our relationship in this phase is competition. If we are able to establish a framework of competition that is relatively stable and predictable, I would consider that to be at least a modest victory.”

EE: “I’m sure they [China] do hope that there is going to be a lot of room for collaboration.”

KC: “We do not seek confrontation, we are very clear about that, our priority is the maintenance of peace and stability, but we recognise that vigilance is important.”

US threat perception of China has not changed under Biden and this will be a defining feature of his administration's policy towards them

KC: “The most effective steps that we can take in order to have a durable, sustained, effective China policy on which there’s no question about American decline is if we are effective at home.”

KC: “I think we’re heading into a new period with many variables that is going to take a period of time to develop, and it’s like any new period of global politics in which there is quite a bit of uncertainty, and much of this will depend on how China decides to engage with the US. My hope would be that in a number of areas that we see some sliding back from ramping up of provocations across the Taiwan strait, improved relations with India, the ending of economic challenges against Australia and the lessening of warrior diplomacy.”

EE: “What they’ve got with the Biden administration is the worst of all worlds because they’ve had no change in the threat perception. The Biden administration’s threat perception of China is the same as the Trump administration’s [was]. Substantively, they haven’t seen any relaxation on the most sensitive issues around Xinjiang, Taiwan or the tariffs.”

The Biden administration understands the importance of undoing the damage Trump did to the USA’s international position in order to successfully stand against China

EE: “The Biden administration, in contrast to the Trump administration, is playing to America’s strengths. Introducing democtratic values, working with allies and partners in meaningful new ways, like the quad vaccine initiative or sanctions with the EU, Canada and the UK on Xinjiang. The US is again working through multilateral institutions, rejoining all the different agreements like the Paris Climate Agreement. President Biden in his first 100 days having a very successful climate summit. The Chinese are like ‘how did that even happen?’ The US went from being a pariah on this issue for four years to all of a sudden reasserting itself as a global leader and we are already seeing the results in global public opinion polls.”

EE: “The more that we can get European allies sailing through the South Chinese sea and upholding norms around freedom of navigation, all of those things will contribute to a dynamic in the region that can bolster a deterrent capability.”

KC: “There is this idea that if China faced a collection of countries that were unhappy that it would change course, and I believe that there is some hope for that. At the same time, I do believe that Chinese foriegn policy is in the midst of substantial evolution and it’s entirely possible that in some circumstances they will simply double down. We have to recognise that some elements of our playbook may require revision and so the reason we work together with other countries is not simply for the hope that China will change course but for the goal of working with other countries in and of itself.”

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