The Global Boardroom Day Two Summary

Discussions on day two began in Asia-Pacific, starting with a promising outlook for Australian commodities and the implications of China’s capital markets opening, before speakers addressed the health crisis in India.

“India’s giant second wave has been a tsunami...causing a humanitarian crisis,” said Mallika Srinivasan, chair and managing director of Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE). While in the first wave rural India was largely unaffected, she said, “this time there is no such difference – in the cities we had hotspots and safe zones, all of that has disappeared”.

Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg said the pandemic has prompted a rethink of how to tackle future crises, in an interview with the FT’s Nordic and Baltic bureau chief Richard Milne, as the Nordic economy prepares to be one of the first to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Panellists called for more collective action to improve gender balance after the crisis, which has had a disproportionate effect on women. “This has taken us back to 2017 levels in terms of women’s economic empowerment,” said Julia Gillard, chair of the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership at King’s College London.

In a session on global economic prospects, OECD chief economist Laurence Boone said “the outlook is brightening”, but warned of the impact of uneven vaccination deployment amid a “difficult transition” towards recovery.

Looking ahead to prospects for tourism picking up in the summer, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, prime minister of Greece, said mass testing and vaccination passports would be key for the country: “I think the industry has learned a lot from last year and we will open up in a safe and protected manner.”

David Malpass, president of the World Bank, said that in the world’s poorest countries debt suspension had not gone as far as he had hoped it would. “We are trying to implement that framework that will help countries move to a more sustainable debt payment framework,” he said.

4:00 – 4:45 BST

Australian Natural Resources: How will China tensions and ESG factors affect growth?

Sandeep Biswas, Managing Director and CEO, Newcrest Mining

Ken Brinsden, Managing Director and CEO, Pilbara Minerals

Elizabeth Gaines, CEO, Fortescue Metals Group

Moderator: Jamie Smyth, Australia Correspondent, Financial Times

The Australian commodity industry is confident in their stability, even if we were to call this a supercycle period

EG: “The fundamentals of supply and demand remain very strong [for iron ore]. Whether that constitutes a supercycle is very difficult to predict, and how that relates to central bank easing, but for us and our commodity, we’re seeing strong demand and some constraint on supply, and that’s supporting current market conditions.”

SB: “The amount of money that has gone into gold and the holdings of the ETFs, which are all physically backed, we’re at a reasonably high gold price now, so we may not see as big an escalation as in previous cycles. We would be pretty confident that gold should perform well.”

KB: “It feels like there is more meat on the bone this time around as it relates to the demand cycle in battery raw materials [lithium], mainly driven by becoming more global in its perspective.”

Political and trade tensions with China play a major role in determining the mood of the industry. There is no room for complacency

EG: “We stay very close to our customers, we approach the relationship in a multi-faceted way and we have very strong engagement. We certainly aren’t complacent about the importance of that relationship.”

KB: “China has become an incredibly important processor of battery raw materials; that's particularly true of lithium materials. You need to be really careful about your relationship with China. Stay close, stay reliable, and stay as a quality supplier.”

Governance over ESG interactions with local communities, indigenous groups and on a global scale are a key priority for mining leaders

SB: “We undertook an audit of all our governance processes around heritage protection, and we’ve instituted some changes because we thought there were areas that we could strengthen. We’ve put more resources on the ground, right at the coal-face to help address issues, and not just from the corporate office.”

EG: “We support the modernisation of the heritage act. We think it's time that there was equal right of appeal for all parties and a greater voice for aboriginal people. We are very supportive of the concept, but with any new legislation you need to understand how it’s going to operate and what will be the transitional period for all parties and we don’t yet have clarity on that.”

KB: “ESG issues as a whole have become a much more important part of the engagement with our investor base. We welcome those conversations, ultimately we want our company and the industry more broadly to be mature, deliberate and constructive as we think about the impacts that our industry might have both locally and globally.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

5:00 – 5:45 BST

China Capital Markets: Are reforms opening the door to deeper ties with Wall Street?

Laura Cha, Chairman, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing

Wei Sun Christianson, Co-CEO of Asia Pacific and CEO of China, Morgan Stanley

Rachel Lord, Chair and Head of Asia Pacific, BlackRock

Moderator: Thomas Hale, Shanghai Correspondent, Financial Times

China financial system is expanding at an unprecedented pace, connecting the nation with the rest of the key financial markets worldwide

LC: “China has always been very measured in its approach to reform and we often forget that Chinese security, the financial markets, has only been opened up for 30 years. The two exchanges were established in 1990, so in 31 years they have come a long way.”

WC: “In recent years, the pace of opening up other capital markets has clearly been fastened.”

RL: “We’ve seen massive transformative change in China’s capital markets, the liberalisation approach. It’s not just about the speed of it, but about doing it in a very cautious and reflective way so that it’s creating stability in China.”

China’s strict capital controls are loosening, presenting an extraordinary opportunity for asset managers

LC: “Liberalisation and opening up has always been one of the themes of market development and the pace has been quicker sometimes, slower at times, and I think we are definitely in the quicker pace in the last year or so.”

WC: “As China gradually opened up, we were allowed to expand our footprint into different areas over the years. It has been a zig-zag process, but we were able to get more licences and increase our business into commercial banking and private equity.”

RL: “I actually think it is an incredible opportunity for collaboration between China and the West. The climate is a global issue; not a China issue, a US issue. I believe China’s commitment to Net Zero by 2060 is very bold and really important.”

There are large wealth opportunities within China that are yet to be tapped into

WC: “As the size of the Chinese market has reached the second-largest in the world, and as Chinese companies have started very actively raising money overseas as well as from Asia markets, certainly this business is a revenue-generating business. The market share is not the parameter; the pie is huge, so even with a smaller slice of the share, the opportunities are big.”

LC: “First and foremost is the attractiveness of the Hong Kong market. I think the connect programme was a great innovation back in 2014, when it was first started, and since then the mainland investors holding in Hong Kong-listed shares has grown 27 times, whereas the international investors holding in Asia companies has increased 207 times, so you can see the interest is mutual.”

RL: “When we talk about wealth, sometimes that word is misunderstood. It doesn’t mean really really rich people frittering money away on things. When we talk about wealth in China, our focus is how do we help the people of China who have very high savings rates? The savings rates in China are extremely high compared with the western world. How do you help people with their savings become investors and how do you help them with retirement?"

Scroll down for more highlights, or

6:00 – 6:45 BST

Indian Business: How can it accelerate its competitiveness post-COVID?

Amitabh Kant, CEO, National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog)

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Executive Chairperson, Biocon and Biocon Biologics

Keshav Murugesh, Group CEO, WNS Global Services

Mallika Srinivasan, Chair and Managing Director, Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE)

Moderator: Amy Kazmin, South Asia Bureau Chief, Financial Times

The second wave of the pandemic has hit India with immense force and has created a humanitarian crisis

MS: “India’s giant second wave has been a tsunami; a tsunami with a difference as a tsunami hits, leaves carnage and leaves. This one is causing a humanitarian crisis of epic proportions.”

AK: “India had come out largely unscathed from the first wave of the COVID-19. We had calibrated lockdown and systematic unlocking phases, and we bought ourselves time to produce essential equipment and infrastructure at scale. India by then had an encouraging recovery rate and probably one of the lowest infection and mortality rates. But the virus mutation in the second phase, the velocity has been ferocious.”

KMS: “Right now there are lots of questions to be answered. We’ve been seeing that this virus this time around is not sparing anyone irrespective of age, gender, ethnicity or location. That is the big challenge we face today.”

KM: “I think it’s important for us to keep communicating across the globe that this is a pandemic that is impacting everyone, not just India. India is in the news of today, but people will understand there are steps being taken to manage this pandemic.”

India did create a pandemic playbook that has been rendered useless in this second wave

MS: “I’d like to point out two differences: last time rural India was by and large unaffected by the pandemic, this time there is no such difference. In the cities, we had hotspots and safe zones, all of that has disappeared.”

KMS: “I think today we need to look at how we learn from this particular second wave and prepare for the next, and therefore I think the pharmaceutical industry, the vaccine industry we are trying to ramp up, because we realise the way forward is about securing safety through vaccination.”

AK: “We’ve been fighting this battle with all the states. The first phase we had a national lockdown, but we must understand with a lockdown the impacts are very severe on health outcomes, on learning outcomes, on industrial outputs. Therefore, in the second phase, the strategy has been to have containment zones because out of 740 districts in India, 200 are badly impacted.”

KM: “This industry is traditionally prepared for what we call ‘business continuity planning’, but in this particular case it was a pandemic that hit the whole world, every client, every country at the same time.”

The economic impact of this second wave

KM: “I think it’s very important that each sector has to focus on doing what it can do the best, while also working with government and communities at large to ensure that the critical requirements of today are also managed well.”

AK: “There has been a disruption and this is a moment or crisis and India can and must turn this crisis into an opportunity. The world is moving towards a new normal and the pandemic has only accelerated this process.”

KMS: “This second wave is a huge setback: we had a huge business confidence setting at the start of the year, but this has been a setback. Having said that, I must say many sectors will not face the onslaught that some sectors will.”

MS: “It’s never going to be business as before.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

7:00 – 7:45 BST

Middle East: Is there impetus for an accelerated post-pandemic recovery?

Sara Akbar, Chairperson and CEO, OiLSERV

Lina Khatib, Director, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House

Joel Van Dusen, Senior Executive Vice President, Group Head of Corporate and Investment Banking, Mashreq Bank

Helmut von Struve, CEO, Siemens Middle East and the UAE

Moderator: Andrew England, Middle East Editor, Financial Times

The Middle East is emerging from the COVID pandemic and its economies are growing

HvS: Many industries in the region have been affected by the pandemic but economies are picking up. Positive things to note include an increase in automation in factories, infrastructure is being upgraded to be more resilient, there are improvements in energy efficiency and there is a key focus on sustainability.

JvD: “The pandemic disrupted businesses in a way that nobody could have imagined. As we come out [of this disruption] we are seeing a certain amount of resilience in the region, including the UAE. The IMF recently increased GDP estimates for the region from 3.2 per cent to 4 per cent, and the estimate for the UAE has gone up to 3.1 per cent. The gradual opening of travel corridors and tourism provides a nice floor for the economy to rebound.”

SA: Some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are reforming their laws and economies relatively quickly, but others, such as Kuwait, are lagging behind in this respect. The explanation for Kuwait’s slow progress is that it is a mature democracy where decisions have to be made with the agreement of parliament and the population and reform is not always popular.

Businesses and investors in Saudi Arabia are looking for stability and certainty and this has been helped by recent actions of the Crown Prince. He has led efforts to end the embargo on Qatar, talked about repairing relations with Iran and released some human rights activists. This change in the country’s leadership style is making it more attractive to foreign companies and investors

LK: “There is definitely a change. If the Crown Prince is serious about two things, one is Vision 2030 and the other is Saudi Arabia’s stability. What we are seeing is a definite move from confrontation with Iran to trying to contain Iran. Saudi Arabia is prioritising the Gulf region’s stability.”

JvD: There is growing competition between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which is healthy for both economies. Both are trying to re-invent themselves and change their economy in similar ways, to diversify away from oil and towards tourism, healthcare, logistics, technology and other sectors.

The Middle East is undergoing some fundamental changes, such as the digitalisation of the economy, educational reforms and a growing belief in the benefits of democracy as envisaged by the “Arab Spring” protests

HvS: Digitalisation proved its worth during the pandemic as it kept businesses running. In the past it was about connecting consumers, but now it is also about connecting industries and infrastructures. For example, factory testing is being carried out remotely, whereas previously there would have been physical visits to the sites.

SA: “The pandemic accelerated the future. This is a future where AI and digitalisation are the main drivers of economies, and where the interaction between people and machines is much faster. The Kuwait ministry of education in the past would not certify online training or courses, even at the best universities in the world. This has completely changed and there are now more opportunities to learn and take exams that will be accepted by the ministry.”

LK: “The Arab Spring is still in its early days. You cannot undo autocracies in a matter of years. It has to happen over a generation. In some places, yes, there is conflict, there is war, but in a lot of places there are reforms and there’s a young generation that is interested in embracing political alternatives. Right now they don’t have the option to exercise those alternatives. The Arab Spring may not have achieved democracy yet, but in another 20 years… maybe.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

8:00 – 8:25 BST

Keynote Interview

Jin Liqun, President, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB)

Patrick Jenkins, Deputy Editor, Financial Times

The AIIB was set up by China to finance infrastructure in Asia

JL: “The bank was initiated by China’s leader in 2013. We had at the beginning 57 founding members, including almost all of the European countries, and the UK was the first European country to join. We now have 103 members. The mandate of this bank is to finance infrastructure projects and to support infrastructure development and other productive sectors so as to improve the economic and social welfare of people.”

The bank is financing the healthcare systems of developing countries

JL: The AIIB has taken a two-pronged approach to help developing countries address COVID-19 and similar viruses in the future. The first was to contain the virus through the provision of masks, medical gear, equipment and now the vaccine. The second is to help build the healthcare systems in developing countries.

Countries that have invested heavily in fossil fuel-based energy projects such as coal-fired power stations will find it costly to abandon them in favour of renewable energy

JL: “Stranded assets are a problem for many countries, particularly those that still might think about investing in coal-based power plants. If they do that they will be locked into the assets for decades to come. This is a big challenge. Our view is we should by no means do anything that would leave countries, and the commercial banks that finance them, with stranded assets. We should do our very best to accelerate the support for these countries by giving them the new technology that can help them develop renewable energy projects.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

9:00 – 9:45 BST

Gender Equality: Are women at further risk of being left behind due to COVID-19?

Julia Gillard, Chair, Global Institute for Women's Leadership, King's College London

Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest

Tom Shropshire, Incoming General Counsel, Diageo

Moderator: Brooke Masters, Chief Business Commentator, Financial Times

Has there been a disproportionate impact on women from the COVID-19 pandemic? What the research tells us:

JG: Beyond the direct impact COVID-19 has on the health of individuals, of whom men are disproportionately affected, there are five key ripple effects of the pandemic which have had a greater impact on women. The first ripple effect is the special risks that our health and caring workforces have faced. Around 70-80 per cent of these frontline workers are women. The second ripple effect is the economic effect. This is a recession, which has disproportionately hit the industries in which women tend to be employed. Thirdly, there has been a maldistribution of domestic labour throughout lockdowns, with extra burdens falling on women, including in terms of homeschooling. Fourth, there has been evidence to show that despite the celebration of female leadership in many places, for the most part there has been a bias towards male voices being heard in leadership positions. The fifth ripple effect is on education. In developing countries, there has been evidence of significantly higher numbers of girls who’s education has been permanently disrupted by the pandemic.

The pandemic has allowed us to thing of a new, more flexible way of working, but women have carried a disproportionately high burden of domestic responsibilities

AR: “Jobs that in the past had been perceived as ones for which you needed to be in the office, could be done remotely, and this has created a new degree of flexibility and agility, without compromising productivity. The pandemic has allowed us to think of a new way of working.”

AR: “When schools closed, we observed a disproportionate amount of homeschooling responsibilities falling more heavily on our female colleagues within the organisation. More broadly in business we have seen female entrepreneurs having found the pandemic more stressful in terms of running the business compared to male entrepreneurs.”

Geographical and cultural variations make a difference. Global businesses need to be flexible and to consider how employees in different locations within their organisations may have been affected differently by the pandemic

TS: “We see a lot of commonality, and a lot of the issues mentioned have impacted companies and people globally, but also we have seen a great deal of variability across geographies and industries, largely based on where a country is economically, but also on the cultural norms within the country. Companies have needed to be flexible and consider how cultural norms and the realities of running a business come to play together.”

Companies and policy-makers need to take care on how they approach the future of hybrid working

JG: “If a business doesn't get policies right around how it assesses merit, so that workers from home and workers from the office are treated in a fair fashion, we could be baking gender inequality into the new world of work.”

TS: “Companies need to think carefully about how they are able to integrate the workplace into a singular state of equitableness.”

Proactivity is crucial, from all parties

JG: “The research tells us that if a man raises a gender equality issue, he is going to have a greater impact than a woman who raises it. It is important that men are also participants in these discussions.”

TS: “Companies need to be proactive in this period. There is a risk that people will want to accelerate out of COVID, but generally people, individuals are exhausted and they need companies to be proactive on their behalf.”

AR: “From an employee perspective, it is important to create those dialogues at a local level, putting in support to help people make the choices and create the flexibility to make the right choices in their own lives.”

What gets measured gets done

JG: “If we don't track and trace data about gender and racial disparities, then we won’t resolve them. Some nations and some companies do better than others on collecting this data, but unless we all do and use the data to effect the next generation of policy then we can’t be surprised if we make the same mistakes all over again.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

10:00 – 10:20 BST

Extra Time - Scoreboard Special: The rise and rapid fall of the European Super League

Murad Ahmed, Sports Editor, Financial Times

Arash Massoudi, Corporate Finance and Deals Editor, Financial Times

The Super League was a reaction to long-term financial concerns held by the biggest clubs that have been exasperated by the COVID crisis

MA: “A few things have precipitated the Super League: the pandemic has led to huge revenue shortfalls at some of the biggest clubs in the world, but this particular project has been in the planning for at least a couple of years, led by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who has been pushing it for a very long time. There’s long been some antipathy within the big clubs as they think they bring the biggest value to football, their matches are the most watched around the world and they should reap the benefits from that.”

AM: “This money would be a cash injection at a time when these clubs’ balance sheets are severely impaired. Stadiums are empty, matchday revenues are impaired, debt is building up.”

AM: “This was essentially a bailout for the top of the pyramid of global football. That has been on the mind of these guys before the COVID crisis. In many ways the danger of football is the prices of players keeps going up and up and up, thinking of now €200 million player transfers for the likes of Neymar and Mbappe, and a structure that is completely unsustainable when you also have the threat of promotion and relegation.”

MA: “One bucket can be dubbed ‘greed’. There was huge money at play if you have 12-15 clubs who were the founding members of the Super League. They control the competition and they take the majority of the proceeds from it and they would have made much more in revenues. The other bucket is plain fear, some of these clubs — Barcelona, Inter Milan — are heavily indebted and this welcome bonus, called an infrastructure grant, was essentially to plug the hole from COVID.”

The Super League’s downfall was its failure to understand the power that local fans still hold over global clubs

MA: “The problem with that is the fans: the fans really understand their sport, they understood that the Super League was effectively shattering the football pyramid. The idea that even the smallest teams can rise to the top, and that was a fundamental change to the sport they were not going to accept. So the dreams of billionaires ended in the course of a couple days, something that had been decades in the making.”

MA: “What they hadn’t really bet on is that these clubs were very much tethered to their local communities and they can’t pull that away. Trying to get to millions of potential fans in Asia doesn’t get you away from the idea that these clubs have been built at least a century in a local community and that was a big problem.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

10:30 – 10:55 BST

Keynote Interview

Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Prime Minister, Greece

Moderator: Ben Hall, Europe Editor, Financial Times

Mass testing and vaccine passports will be key in allowing Greece to reopen safely and successfully

KM: “We want to open up safely. What does that mean? That means, essentially, that if you want to travel to Greece and not be subject to any quarantine restrictions, you should provide the greek authorities with either a proof of vaccination or a negative test. These are the foundations of the ‘Green Pass,’ which we will be implementing before it goes live at the European level.”

KM: “The first visitors who come to Greece as of May 15 should be coming to a relatively normal state of economic and social activities.”

KM: “I think the tourist industry has learned a lot from last year and we will open up in a safe and protected manner, but we will still make the full Greek experience available to tourists who choose to come to Greece this summer.”

KM: “The idea behind the European Green Passport was to streamline these procedures rather than have bilateral arrangements. I think most countries, at least the big tourist destinations, will follow a similar strategy.”

KM: “The tourism sector, because it’s a highly sophisticated tourism sector, will make sure that the people who will serve the tourists in Greece, our hospitality staff, most of them I expect will be already vaccinated, but if they are not then full precautions will be in place in terms of massive testing.”

The Greek economy can successfully rise out of the COVID crisis free from the shackles of the debt crisis

KM: “I think the Greek economy is ready for a significant rebound. When it comes to the investment gaps, our strategy from day one, when we came into power, was to accelerate private investment and now we have an additional pool of capital that was not available before the pandemic, and I am referring to the RRF (Recovery and Resilience Fund). Greece will receive €32 billion, which was not there before the pandemic, of which €19 billion is in grants. They will mobilise additional private capital, so we expect investments close to €60 billion to take place in sectors that are absolutely critical.”

KM: “I do want to point out these are funds to be distributed as handouts. We submitted our plan, it was a very detailed plan and it was very well submitted in Brussels. We were the second country to submit it; it is 4,000 pages and includes more than 170 big initiatives, investments and reforms. There’s a heavy emphasis on digital, on the green transition, on jobs, skills and social cohesion. I am very confident that it will add additional firepower to recharge our recovery once the pandemic is over.”

“It is important to clarify that, yes, Greece does still have high debt as a percentage of GDP, but as you know our debt has very peculiar characteristics. The repayments, at least for the next decade, are relatively low as a percentage of our debt, but our capital markets are very optimistic about Greece. We got upgraded by S&P a few days ago and as of today were issuing after a long period of time a five-year bond. We’re borrowing at record low interest rates. This, of course, has to do with the fact the ECB is providing additional liquidity, but I think it is also a vote of confidence in the government delivering on a very ambitious reform agenda.”

Forward thinking reforms can ensure Greece will be successful into the future

KM: “The green transition is critical for Greece. We are blessed with sunshine, wind and a beautiful natural environment that we need to protect and a lot of international companies want to be a part of that story. Just to give one example, we’ve teamed up with Volkswagen to turn one of our medium-sized islands, Astypalea, into a fully electrical mobility island by 2025. It will be totally green, totally sustainable and these types of projects will create more interest in Greece.”

KM: “We are pushing through labour reform now and some people may say this could have some sort of political force from the government, but I don’t see it that way. We need to make sure our labour force adjusts to the needs of the 21st century.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

11:00 – 11:45 BST

Sustainable Supply Chains: How to adapt to shifting demands and build competitive advantage

Olivier Blum, Chief Strategy & Sustainability Officer, Schneider Electric

Alexandra Palt, Chief Corporate Responsibility Officer, L’Oréal, and Executive Vice President, Fondation L’Oréal

Loic Tassel, President, Procter & Gamble Europe

Peder Tuborgh, CEO, Arla Foods

Moderator: Peggy Hollinger, International Business Editor, Financial Times

The pandemic has accelerated sustainability trends across businesses worldwide and pushed organisations to disrupt their business models

LT: “We have made very public a very clear declaration of ambitions; actually, they’re called Ambitions 2030 of being carbon neutral by that time, which is coming up fast and we have leveraged the virtual connections that we all have been able to do despite the pandemic to accelerate.”

LT: “We are partnering with new innovative companies, largely based in Spain, where we are building solar panels and windmills, literally as we speak, to secure from this calendar year onwards that the electricity we are using in our 32 plants of P&G Europe is 100 per cent renewable.”

PT: “In this year we have launched a series of plant-based products alongside our dairy products, because long-term we are very sure that they will live nicely side by side.”

AP: “Nowadays, while all companies are committed to science-based targets, basically all companies to Net 0 in 2050, it is true that the supply chain is one of the biggest issues in that transition, because we have to agree that we are all going in the same direction.”

OP: “We’ve been engaging with sustainability at Schneider Electric for the past 15 years. Very early on, we put the supplier inside of our ESG strategy.”

Changes in consumer demand have highlighted flaws within global supply chains

LT: “We have, despite the pandemic, decided to accelerate all of our ambitions and all the executions of that programme, because we do feel as a company that we have a large responsibility. As you said, our FMCG products are used by up to 5 billion consumers all over the globe, so we feel very responsible.”

PT: “We have actually seen that people have reverted to the good old days — the amount of cooking, baking at home, using creams, very basic products, has never been higher. The consumers have gone back to some of their older habits, how to bake at home.”

AP: “There is the issue of how we get our suppliers on board to reduce their carbon emissions. This is the huge question, because it demands business model transformation. It is not sufficient anymore for people to say ‘I’ll reduce my carbon emission by 20,30,40 per cent. We all have to do what is necessary.”

Retailers are demanding more of their suppliers in regards to sustainability and pricing pressure has increased

PT: “I think that the retailers have very rapidly become rather advanced in their thinking and their demand for us as suppliers to them in the area of sustainability. Their level of knowledge has gone up quite significantly.”

LT: “There is pricing pressure and there will always be; that, I think, is fundamentally healthy in the free economy and ultimately to the benefit of consumers.”

AP: “We will help our strategic suppliers to transform the supply chain, so that their employees will have a living wage everywhere in the world.”

OB: “When you look at the topic of carbon, biodiversity, it forces you to think about your complete value chain, from your supplier to the finished good that goes to your customer and especially to reimagine what would be the end of life of your product.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

12:00 – 12:25 BST

Keynote Interview

Katherine Tai, 19th United States Trade Representative

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

The Biden Administration’s number one priority is saving lives and protecting US citizens

KT: “What I really want to focus on is to make unequivocally clear that for this administration, the guiding principle on any issue that has to do with this pandemic is saving lives and helping people.”

KT: “The reason why this is so important, and why this is really relevant to the trade context, is that we have to address the public health crisis in order to build out an economic recovery.”

US-China relations remain at the top of the trade agenda

KT: “What I would like to focus on here is how critically important it is for us to undertake this review thoughtfully, strategically and with the goal of being effective and formulating a positive vision for how we want to and how we need to relate to China.”

KT: “I think the Trump administration really brought the US-China tensions to the forefront. It is our responsibility in the Biden-Harris administration to carry forward the relationship where we do not shy away from being tough, but where we also know we must be fair and must be future and focused oriented.”

Worker-centric trade policy and climate crisis are some of the leading issues that the new administration are working towards

KT: “For me, for this USTR, for the Biden-Harris administration, a worker-centric trade policy is not just a slogan, this is our guiding principle; it is our north star in formulating trade policy.”

KT: “It is very clear that we are seeing a climatic transformation and change on this planet, it is going to be critical for us to work together collectively across nations to address this challenge.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

12:30 – 13:15 BST

Britain after Brexit: What has been the impact so far and how is the UK advancing its global ambitions?

Tony Danker, Director-General, CBI

Anand Menon, Director, UK in a Changing Europe

Karen Reddington, President, FedEx Express Europe

Moderator: Peter Foster, Public Policy Editor, Financial Times

Brexit has had an impact on how businesses trade with Europe, but, with the exception of Northern Ireland, the situation is stable

KR: “We planned for Brexit on two fronts: to make sure our customers were prepared, and to make sure our operations were prepared. We ensured that customers understood the paperwork requirements, duty and other things. It’s been a major adjustment, especially for small businesses. If you have been used to trading in a way that is almost like domestic trading and you suddenly have to deal with crossing a border, that takes a lot of getting used to.”

TD: Most businesses realise now there’s lots of red tape and lots of higher costs. That has led to SMEs pulling back from being ambitious exporters, because their ability to absorb the red tape and the extra costs is obviously limited. But on the whole, things are starting to stabilise, with the exception of Northern Ireland.

There has been a lot of trade friction this year between the UK and the EU over matters such as the Northern Ireland protocol, British shellfish exports and French fishermen’s access to UK waters

TD: “The ultimate prize is the normalisation of trading relations. We should take the politics out of Brexit and view the EU as just business. But you need the right climate of cooperation to solve current problems like the Northern Ireland protocol.”

AM: “On the EU side, there is a strong incentive to see Brexit not work.”

AM: “I take the speech that Lord Frost gave in Brussels in February last year very seriously. He said the whole point of Brexit was to achieve regulatory autonomy, which speaks to me of the fact that there’s going to be no softening under this government of that relationship with the European Union.”

British businesses have a lot to gain from new opportunities at home and globally

TD: “There is a lot of growth in the UK economy that is not constrained by Brexit such as decarbonisation, innovation in industries like the life sciences sector and regional development. Britain is getting into a new position in international relations where it has to define itself in terms of global leadership.”

KR: “What is done is done and the future is yet to be written. It is what we do from here on in that now counts, which means becoming more global. The key to success is making sure that small and medium businesses start to get out there and avail themselves of these free trade agreements and make sure they know what it means to trade globally.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

13:30 – 13:50 BST

Keynote Interview

Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway

Richard Milne, Nordic and Baltic Bureau Chief, Financial Times

Norway has been one of the most successful countries in Europe in combatting coronavirus

ES: “We moved hard and fast to get the number of infections down at the start. We are well prepared for crises.” No matter which party is in government, people trust the authorities. When they were told to stay at home and a lot of economic activity was closed down, people followed the advice and the country managed to get control of the infections.”

There is a high acceptance of vaccines in Norway, but there is a low take-up rate among some of the ethnic groups hardest hit by COVID-19

ES: “It worries me that through this pandemic that there have been more people from ethnic groups hospitalised by the disease. Part of the reason is that they are living in closer quarters and working in more people-oriented work, but that is not the only explanation.”

Neighbouring Sweden has followed a relatively relaxed strategy to combat the pandemic, which has caused concern in Norway

ES: “We have a common labour market with Sweden. It has been a challenge for us because they have a much higher infection rate compared to Norway. We have Europe’s longest border, between Norway and Sweden, and we cannot close it. People are working on both sides and it is causing some difficulties.” Norway has tighter border rules than Sweden because it has a higher number of sick people.

Scroll down for more highlights, or

14:00 – 14:45 BST

Achieving Net Zero: How can the transformational power of capital be exerted effectively?

Thomas Buberl, CEO, AXA

Laura Chappell, CEO, Brunel Pension Partnership

Rochus Mommartz, CEO, responsAbility Investments

Moderator: Silvia Pavoni, Editor, Sustainable Views, and Economics Editor, The Banker

There needs to be a structured approach to achieving net-zero by 2050

TB: “Achieving climate neutrality needs to happen through a transition. Transition needs to take time, and needs to be done in a responsible and sustainable manner for all stakeholders. It is important that we plot targets along the way between now and 2050. This is the only way we can have a positive and continuous trajectory.”

LC: “Fundamentally, we need a universally agreed and understood target that we can all measure against.”

Data disclosure is one of the biggest, most complex challenges, especially in emerging markets

RM: “When we talk about the 2050 framework, we have to include and consider the emerging markets. There can be significant data disclosure challenges in emerging economies.

TB: “When we look at metrics, we need to look at what is science-based, and therefore complex enough to be credible, but on the surface simple enough to communicate.”

There needs to be significant thought and energy put into understanding the companies we invest in. How true is the perception that there is a trade off between sustainability and return on investment?

LC: “As a generation, do we want to be remembered as a generation of target setters, or a generation who took action on climate change?”

LC: “Medium and long-term trajectories on an area like carbon exposure is crucial. Short-term readings can be misleading. One private company we engaged with in renewables received a negative carbon exposure score due to steel use, but that steel was actually being used to build wind turbines. You really need to understand the business and perform deeper analysis for that long-term value.”

RM: “There is so much evidence that investment in the right, sustainable areas, that you don't have to have a direct trade off, at least not in the shorter perspective.”

A green economy needs to sustain lost jobs in non-green industries

TB: “There is a good momentum now. Working with the public authority in both directions is key. Having clear policies and clear regulation around the question of sustainable investment, that ensure a transition that leads to an equal amount, or even more jobs is very important.”

We need consistency in regulation among disclosures in ESG ratings

LC: “We need consistency, we need science-based metrics, and we need to support those activities that take us into a transition. Nothing is black and white at the moment, but in terms of ESG rating there is a lot of work going into building consistency, and that is the path we need to continue to move along.”

RM: “Yes, we all agree that we need consistency, but we cannot afford to get lost in these complex questions. It isn't perfect, but it will never be perfect. The worst thing that can happen is we spend the next 20 years working on improving regulation. The clock is ticking.”

TB: “There is a great opportunity now. We’re coming to all the large spending packages of each government, and I really hope there is a strong green focus in all of these recovery packages — I really hope that we push on this.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

15:00 – 15:45 BST

Moral Money Live: Building an inclusive work culture

Albert Baladi, CEO, Beam-Suntory

Nigyar Makhmudova, Chief Growth Officer, Danone

Mark McLane, Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Well-being, M&G

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

World events are causing boardrooms globally to focus on inclusivity within their companies

AB: “We fundamentally believe that inclusion is important to our business competitiveness long term. To innovate and retain the best talent, we believe that we need to get on the journey towards creating a diverse and inclusive company.”

NM: “We see inclusion and diversity as a key growth driver, not just a nice box to tick to make ourselves feel good.”

MM: “Diversity plus inclusion should equal business impact. It's a very simple equation but a very complex execution. We have to understand what our mission is at the organisational level, but the deployment within each geography has to be specific, not just to employment law, but also culturally.”

The goal of a successful diversity and inclusion strategy is to promote it at a level that goes beyond recording and reporting diversity figures

AB: “The I in D&I is much harder to achieve than the D. You can put in a lot of hiring practices to improve diversity, but the importance of building a feeling of belonging and improving company culture is crucial. Driving these issues from the top are fundamental.”

NM: “Beyond the numbers, we are investing a lot of time and effort in giving people the skills for inclusive leadership, and then measuring the impact it is having on people.”

NM: “We have ambitious goals and we are committed to achieving them, but we accept that it is a journey, and we will continue that journey as long as we operate as a company.”

Data is key to promoting inclusion among a broad pool of socio-economic backgrounds

MM: “We are tracking data from a candidate standpoint, particularly through our university recruiting, but also through to our internships and our apprenticeship scheme. By tracking that data, it is helping us see how we are doing in terms of attracting a broad base of socioeconomic background.”

NM: “So much of this is about upskilling and reskilling programs inside Danone, especially of the people who are most vulnerable and have entered the company at a level in which they aspire to go higher. It is important we are able to enable that progression.”

The pandemic has the potential to be an equaliser in terms of diversity and inclusion

AB: “Zoom meetings have been a great equaliser, in a certain way, because if you are sitting around a boardroom there may be seating protocols, or similar. Now we are essentially all on the same playing field in terms of communication. It has also given us a much broader pool of talent in wider areas to choose from.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

16:00 – 16:50 BST

How Soon Will the Global Economy Return to Pre-Pandemic Levels? Weighing up the fiscal and monetary policy options

Olivier Blanchard, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Laurence Boone, Chief Economist, OECD

Jason Furman, Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Moderator: Martin Wolf, CBE, Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times

Global economic prospects are brighter, but uneven vaccination deployment will affect this

LB: “Overall prospects for the global economy have improved considerably. The outlook is brightening. This is largely due to fiscal and policy support, and not only in developed economies. But the capacity to deploy vaccinations is very uneven. There are increasing signs of divergence across and within countries.”

LB: “We are now entering a difficult transition period; some economies are reopening, there are changes for consumers. We have medium-term investment plans in the US, Asia-Pacifc, but the truly mind-boggling question for policymakers is what do we do today. We are getting out of the crisis, but are not in full-stage recovery. What happens if government support is withdrawn?”

LB: “What matters is using every single penny of public debt for public use – that is not what was always done in the aftermath of the financial crisis.”

Europe has Biden envy

OB: “The theme in Europe is Biden envy, and Biden pressure – and should we do the same thing.”

OB: “[In France] I see absolutely no reason why we shouldn’t try to get back to the level we were at the end of 2019 by the end of this year. This should be the goal, for the moment it’s not.”

OB: “If the French government – and this applies to most European governments – do what they intend to do, it’s just not going to be enough. If I have the chance of convincing the government to do more, then more [could be done].”

OB: “What I hope is the [French] government will spend a bit more now and then be ready to do more in the fall. Whether it’s a hope or a forecast, I don’t know. Biden is doing too much; Europe is not doing enough.”

The US economic outlook is mixed; the Fed will have to be vigilant

JF: “I feel very torn. I look at Laurence’s numbers and see the US is going to be above its pre-pandemic projection. But then I look at a lot of reasons to be worried: the stimulus was much more than it needed to be – that should give us pause.”

JF: “I don’t have a high degree of confidence because we are dealing with unprecedented changes.”

JF: Wage growth has maintained its 2019 pace and remains higher for lower-wage workers. “There’s a happy scenario here: millions of workers re-enter the labour force and jobs open up. There’s a decent chance of that. But there is a more worrisome scenario so the Fed will have to be vigilant.”

OB: “All of us would be happy if interest rates increased.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

17:00 – 17:25 BST

Fireside Chat: The Future of Big Tech

Nick Clegg, Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications, Facebook

Moderator: John Thornhill, Innovation Editor, Financial Times

The Facebook Oversight Board cannot win over everyone; but it’s the best we have got in the absence of governments taking the lead

NC: “I don’t think we imagine we can keep both sides of the debate happy. We have to dutifully carry on responding as faithfully as we can. Donald Trump’s account will remain suspended while we [have these discussions]. I hope over time fair-minded critics on both sides will acknowledge that we are trying to hold the decisions that Facebook takes as a private company to account.”

Policies about making “newsworthy” exceptions should be clarified

NC: “It is used on very rare occasions that there might be a post which, strictly speaking, does not meet the letter of community standards but may be part of a raging public debate or issue of huge public interest, where it would be irrational for us to remove the post.”

NC: “The challenge is we need to be transparent and accountable — such that when sanctions are applied people can see that we have applied them fairly. I’m pleased to see that’s what the Oversight Board has focused on.”

It is difficult to say if FB could have acted more quickly ahead of the Capitol Hill events, but investment in safety measures has been significant

NC: “We have AI systems to try to find those signals and react as soon as possible. We have published the proportion of hate speech in our content. We work collaboratively across the industry, particularly with counter-terrorism…The billions of dollars [Facebook has invested] in safety measures amounts to more than the total revenue of Facebook at the time of its IPO.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

17:30 – 17:55 BST

Keynote Interview

Sim Tshabalala, CEO, Standard Bank Group

Moderator: David Pilling, Africa Editor, Financial Times

2020 was tough for Standard Bank, but digital activity accelerated

ST: “It was a tough year. You had a dramatic increase in bad debts. Then because of the shutdown in South Africa, dramatic slowdown in economic activity, small businesses in hospitality ground to a halt, branch activity and ATM activity slowed down…”

ST: “Our strategy was to make sure we protected our staff. Secondly, we looked to supporting clients, extended restructures for our corporate sector, gave our retail clients payment holidays, gave students interest and capital payment holidays. We provided support to corporate social investment, entered into partnership with community-based organisations – we also accelerated digital activity. We moved very quickly to digital adoption. Seventy-five per cent of our people worked from home.”

The pace of economic growth in South Africa will depend on supporting all sectors

ST: “2021 is likely to be a strong recovery for South Africa. The pace of growth will depend on addressing the electricity shortages. Household consumption and expenditure has increased, and it will continue to increase. Incomes of the wealthier will continue to recover. The real challenge is going to be making sure all sectors of the economy are able to recover.”

The vaccination programme looks set to progress

ST: The government has agreed to reopen the J&J process, allowing Aspen to do the distribution. Business working hand in hand with government will resolve this.

A clean energy transition must be a just transition

ST: “We want to drive sustainable economic development on the African continent. That is our purpose, and we continue to make significant progress.”

ST: “We need to transition to a clean environment, but it needs to be a just transition. There are certain parts of Africa that have no other option [other than coal].”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

18:00 – 18:25 BST

Keynote Interview

David Malpass, President, World Bank Group

Moderator: Gillian Tett, Chair, Editorial Board, and Editor-at-large, US, Financial Times

Wealthy nations need to assist in vaccinating the rest of the world

DM: “I’m very concerned about the divergence as we look at what happens in the world. There is an acceleration in some of the advanced economies. Vaccinations are a critical part and the World Bank has played a key role in financing this. We are looking for all the ways we can help India in this crisis situation.”

DM: “We are working on this. I urge the advanced economies to free up vaccines as quickly as they can. That means allowing them to be exported. One of the critical things that can be done is clarifying some of the contracts out there.”

Global debt has been majorly exacerbated by the pandemic

DM: “There was a suspension of the debts of the poorest countries — 75 of the world’s poorest countries. This debt suspension didn’t go as far as I had hoped. The private sector didn’t participate. There needs to be more done on that.”

DM: “We are trying to implement that framework that will help countries move to a more sustainable debt payment framework, countries such as Chad, Ethiopia.”

Tackling climate issues remains an integral part of the World Bank’s strategy

DM: “Climate change is a mainstream issue. Within the World Bank it is integrated with development. That means in order for a country to make advancements, it needs to be looking for ways to respect the environment.”

DM: “There’s a practical connection between having good development policy and having good environmental and climate policy.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

19:00 – 19:45 BST

Averting a Mental Health Crisis: What can be done to ease the long-term psychological effects of the pandemic?

Alastair Campbell, Writer, communicator, strategist

Richard Heron, Vice-President Health & Wellbeing, Chief Medical Officer, BP

CeCe Morken, CEO, Headspace

Moderator: Henry Mance, Chief Features Writer, Financial Times

Many people have suffered burnout at work and other mental health problems during the pandemic. There needs to be more openness about mental health, more action to ease its long-term effects and more support for sufferers

CM: A lot of people suffer from stress in their personal and work lives. “The boundaries we talk about on work-life balance are superficial when it comes to our mental well-being, because who we are is at the intersection of our work and our personal life. Our relationships, financial health, the purpose that drives all aspects of our lives … mental health is central to that holistic person.”

CC: “We are starting to talk about it now. An interesting statistic is that in the earnings calls last year by CEOs, the number of times they referenced that the mental health of their employees was their responsibility was five times higher than in the previous year.”

RH: Many employees in all sorts of companies are showing signs of burnout, with unsustainable workloads, the sense that they need more support and the feeling of not being in control. “A study in Harvard Business Review in February showed that over half of employees in the study, which covered 46 countries, were feeling a sense of burn out. People struggle with uncertainty. We [at BP] have run training programmes for over 500 leaders on uncertainty – how to handle it, how to handle it with your staff.”

Governments and employers are showing more concern about mental health as the pandemic recedes and more people return to the office.

AC: “There are three parts to this. Individuals, families and communities can do an incredible amount for ourselves and each other. The two other big parts are governments and businesses as employers. I’ve noticed during the pandemic that businesses are showing more leadership on this than governments.”

AC: “A few weeks ago I was asked to speak to a staff event at the Bank of Ireland. The chief executive, while introducing me and explaining why I was there, said that from today the number one priority for the bank is the mental health and well-being of the staff.”

CC: “As people go back to the office, we will need to deal with the fact that there will be a hybrid environment for some, and not for others. For those in the hybrid model, besides all the operational things they will have to consider, they will have to think about what social connections at work are going to look like.”

It is easier these days for companies to make the business case for investing in mental health initiatives

RH: “The business case is made. The issue is whether you can see it in your own company. We have demonstrated that when leaders are perceived to genuinely care about employees, business outcomes improve. That’s around attraction and retention, safety performance, ethical performance – a whole range of really important business outcomes improve when you care about people. That’s obvious to me as a health professional, but sometimes you have to demonstrate it.”

AC: Employers’ attitudes towards mental health are probably better now than they were in the 1990s. “But you still find stigma and discrimination in very strange places. I did an event recently at an NHS trust to talk to staff about how I deal with my own mental health issues and at the end a woman introduced herself to me when everyone else had left the room. She said she worked there as a nurse, and said I was only the third person she had told she had been diagnosed as bipolar. I said: ‘You work in the health service, surely they understand?’ And she said: ‘I could be wrong, but I feel that if they know that I am bipolar that would be held against me when it comes to the next step up the ladder.’”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

20:00 – 20:45 BST

Due Diligence Live: Navigating the growth of alternative M&A structures

Orlando Bravo, CEO, Thomas Bravo

Betsy Cohen, Chairman, FinTech Masala

Mark Sorrell, Global Co-Head of M&A, Goldman Sachs

Moderator: James Fontanella-Khan, US Corporate Finance and Deals Editor, Financial Times

M&A has recovered from the pandemic successfully

MS: “If you go back to Q1 of 2020, it was a pretty good quarter for M&A and we sit here today having had three quarters of volumes that are double or more than double that quarter, which I think is remarkable. Additionally, those three quarters, Q 3&4 of last year and Q1 of this year, have got progressively better.”

BC: “M&A activity has been very strong and I think that unlocks the interest and desire of companies to take some forward movement.”

OB: “The move towards really going digital is only at the beginning, so you’re going to see a reacceleration of this. You’re going to see companies this quarter consistently beating numbers and that momentum continuing.”

M&A’s recovery is linked to how well countries are recovering from the pandemic

MS: “I think when you dissect Europe it is uneven. I think sentiment is different in different parts of Europe. I think it is directionally strong in the UK, the Nordics. Among private equity participants sentiment is really good across Europe. I think in corporate continental Europe, in France and Germany, for example, it’s slightly less positive and I think it is clearly the progress of the pandemic.”

MS: “The barrier to travel is debated as to how much it really affects M&A. I personally believe that it does impact cross-border M&A, and I include in that cross-border within Europe. So I do think there are some headwinds that need to be worked out.”

Inflation post-pandemic is not a major concern

BC: “Everytime we think that inflation is about to eat us up, the price of oil goes down. It not only changes geo-political relationships but it certainly impacts prospective inflation. Just when we think inflation is about to bite us, technology makes the acquisition of goods and services that much less expensive. Where will the next bit of help come from? I’m not sure that I know, but I think it’s a very fluid situation.”

OB: “Many assets now have a nearly perfect inflation hedge. If you look at the entire software industry, the value that customers are receiving now is so much higher than the price that’s being charged. If there is a strong pick up in inflation these companies should be very easily able to pass on these price increases to their customers without creating a problem.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

21:00 – 21:45 BST

The US Digital Divide: Will the pandemic be a catalyst for change?

Kathryn de Wit, Project Director, Broadband Access Initiative, The Pew Charitable Trusts

Gary Michelson, Founder and Co-chair, Michelson 20MM Foundation

Joy Tan, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, Huawei Technologies USA

Moderator: Hannah Murphy, Tech Correspondent, Financial Times

Availability and cost are the two main barriers causing the Digital Divide across all parts of the USA

KW: “We can boil the digital divide down to a couple of key reasons. First we are talking about infrastructure, we are talking about physical infrastructure in the same way we talk about roads and bridges and electricity. That means that it is expensive to deploy and it takes time to deploy. Part of that, when thinking through the expense of this and the availability, is that it’s provided by private sector companies.”

JT: “In rural America, you have very small populations, perhaps a couple thousand, and putting out fibre in those remote areas is going to be very expensive.”

GM: “In many areas of this country, both urban and rural, there is simply no broadband; in others the broadband is inadequate or unaffordable.”

Internet access needs to be seen as a public infrastructure need, instead of a privately supplied service

GM: “The issue is it’s become a utility and we don’t usually let private industry be the sole provider for things that we rely on for the way we live. I think that’s really the issue. I don’t think that these internet providers are the bad guys, but to quote Chris Mitchell, ‘looking to the internet service providers to solve the digital divide is like asking McDonald’s to end world hunger’ — their missions aren’t aligned.”

JT: “Worldwide 51 per cent of the entire population don’t have access to the internet at all, 950m homes don’t have access to broadband connections and 80 per cent of those with a connection need faster speeds. In the US, as of fall 2020, 31 per cent of households have limited internet access. When we talk about children aged 3-18, about 14 per cent of them have very limited internet access. About 9m children will have difficulty doing homework at home.”

KW: “This is not an urban/rural issue; this is something that affects communities of all types, of all sizes across the country.”

KW: “I think what’s noteworthy about the Biden administrations plan is that it very clearly states a goal — they want to achieve universal availability of high speed future proof broadband.”

To solve this problem we need to invest in creative, forward thinking solutions

GM: “We just flew a helicopter in the thin atmosphere of Mars, we have spy satellites that can read a licence plate from space. If Biden was to get on national television and say ‘we are going to provide a broadband technology innovation challenge and within 6 months were going to have the answer to providing low-cost universal broadband in this country’, we would have it.”

GM: “We as a nation have the innovative capacity to solve this problem.”

KW: “Across the country we are hearing public leaders at every level of government, we are hearing community leaders of all types and members of the private sector say ‘we need to do better, we need to think differently and we need to think outside the box’.”

Scroll down for more highlights, or

22:00 – 22:45 BST

US Agriculture: Galvanising food systems leadership and growth efforts as challenges persist

Peter Bakker, CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)

Erin Fitzgerald, CEO, US Farmers & Ranchers In Action (USFRA)

Karen Ross, Secretary, California Department of Food and Agriculture

Toni Stanger-McLaughlin, Associate CEO, Native American Agriculture Fund

Moderator: Gregory Meyer, Natural Resources Correspondent, Financial Times

Climate change is already here, it has already happened, and we are seeing the impact on US agriculture today

KR: “We feel and witness climate change practically everyday in California, we have just initiated our second consecutive year of drought, which is exacerbated by extremely high temperatures.”

TS-M: “Moving forward, indigeounus communities and their traditional ecological knowledge need to be incorporated and central to any of the policies and movements in this area because we have been her so long as the traditional stewards of this land, and we have knowledge on every part of our ecosystem.”

EF: “In many ways agriculture is likely to see the most extreme effects of climate change that we’re seeing and experiencing right now.”

EF: “We’re already seeing extreme and episodic events — eight out of the last ten harvest seasons have been impacted by challenges in growing and producing food.”

Agriculture has the potential to stop being a part of the carbon problem and become a part of the solution

PB: “We need to create carbon sinks and sequest our carbon in the soil, as soon as possible, which would allow us to absorb 4 per cent of US emissions in the soil. Where most industries will struggle to find new ways of producing materials to get to net zero, agriculture has the potential to be a solution for climate change.”

EF: “It’s back to the basics, nature-based solutions. Our plants can do it, our animals can do it and our soils can do it. All of these things work in nature to cycle carbon.”

There needs to be a collaborative approach from farm to fork

TS-M: “There are a lot of tribes that are interested in engaging in new forms of agriculture, they don't want to have to use water in the way they do now, but those were set by government policy. If we’re able to work together to rethink how native americans can utilise their land, we’re some of the largest consolidated farmers in the US. We could have a significant impact overall to reduce these emissions, but it would take changes in policy to support that movement.”

KR: “The risk that’s involved, especially for small and mid-sized farmers, to find ways for our food system to increase its resiliency is going to take more than farmers’ markets. We’re going to need restaurants, institutions, hospitals, schools, to work with farmers to understand what and how they can grow and the impact it will have.”

or click below to view the summary for day three

Sessions will soon be available on-demand should you wish to revisit any of our speakers’ fascinating insights.