8 months ago

Diplomatic World_nummer 56.


WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM DAVOS From 23th till 26th of January 2018, the 48th Global Economic Forum in Davos took place and suffered the heaviest snowfall in the meeting’s 48-year history. But this year, even more government leaders from all over the world braved the snow and were present in the Swiss mountains, than the year before. This year’s forum carried the theme “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. This Global event wants to “unite” every year more and more intensively, because all country leaders claim to be globalists, no protectionists, even Trump? We will find out how strong Trumps words were at the closing speech of the WEF. 70 After Trump started his Presidency in January 2017, the US Dollar weakened significantly during his first year of his leadership and gave the US export sector a boost. According to European Central Bank President Mario Draghi this drop of the USD was not driven by the economy, but a consequence of “public” statements. And this is “not” in line with the G-20 Commitment to refrain from competitive devaluations. Trump told CNBC at the WEF that he “ultimately would like to see a stronger dollar”. The message in his closing speech was clear; “when America grows, so does the world”. The drive for excellence, creativity and innovation in the US has led to important discoveries and help people everywhere to live more prosperous and healthier lives. This should be the lesson for all political leaders. Governments have to stimulate growth and countries have to work together. Prosper words, but how is the real praxis? Trump’s tax reform appears to be good for business, as companies will invest more and increase wages. The tax cuts are presenting European countries with a dilemma: Do they follow the U.S. and cut their own corporate tax rates, risking a race to the bottom? Or do they stay back and risk losing business to the U.S.? German Chancellor Angela Merkel talked about Europe taking some responsibility for its own future and French President Emmanuel Macron has made a pitch to investors on France’s behalf. But there doesn’t seem to be a clear European consensus on what to do going forward. Trump’s move into the White house a year ago with his “America First” agenda pushed EU policymakers to keep markets open worldwide. The EU continued building on existing European free-trade pacts with partners like Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea and the Mercosur group of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. “America first does not mean America alone”. At Davos this year we saw a clash of visions, or even ideologies. Europe’s message is that social democracy doesn’t only deliver lower levels of inequality, but also delivers growth and stable politics. America First is about higher walls and lower taxes and a state that is looking mainly after the corporate sector. Can the two coexist comfortably? The move to work strongly together and create a sustainable growth is one of the important lessons we read in Marga Hoek’s book “The Trillion Dollar Shift” launched at the WEF. Marga Hoek is working her whole life, helping and creating a more sustainable growth, because in the end only a sustainable business model is profitable for all of us. We constantly have to work on “awareness” of this sustainable business model and the politicians have to create the context, not “against” each other but “cooperating” with each other. There is no Plan B, because we do not have a Planet B. The Trillion Dollar Shift by Marga Hoek (2018) documents the contributions of the various businesses to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) as created by the United Nations. It also shows the opportunities for all businesses to impact those SDG’s on a Global scale. The book is a call to action for both business and capital to reach the SDG’s by 2030. The Paris Climate Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) drive change and offer a narrative and an opportunity to all to speak in one language

on sustainability. They provide us with a clear set of targets for 2030. Through following the SDGs, opportunities abound for business and capital to unlock markets which offer endless potential for profit, while at the same time working towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This book illustrates for business how to make the much-needed “Trillion Dollar Shift”. Human Rights, Labor, Environment and Anti-Corruption are important achors in this story. The SDG’s focus on a strong reduction of poverty and hunger, good health, a responsible consumption and production, gender equality, climate action and strong justice and institutions. This book sets out how business and capital now have a real opportunity to help resolve these problems. In 50 case studies, concrete business examples, the book vividly describes the impacts on and contributions to the various SDG’s. The first example Unilever is proving that there is no contradiction between sustainable and profitable growth. IKEA measures their sustainability Impact by tracking the sales of products that are categorised as enabling a more sustainable life at home. Another case study shows that many solar energy entrepreneurs in devloping countries are waiting to be able to scale their businesses with fair loans at reasonable prices. The Sanivation case emphasises that innovative ideas not only provide safe, affordable and clean energy, they also unlock a whole new market. The GAP example shows how gender equality can pay dividends both for core business as well as for society at large. © Shutterstock Technology is a very important driving force behind innovation, connectivity, productivity and efficiency in nearly every sector. Financial institutions and large enterprises have been working on blockchain-based solutions, or so called distributed ledger technology, for some years, but most activity has been in the development and testing stages. 2018 will be the start of many starting the tests in production and this will facilitate secure and transparent financial transactions and has the potential to rock economic foundations. In the short term, such blockchain applications will reduce costs and increase quality of outcomes, primarily for the enterprises themselves. But in the long term the same applications will connect manufacturer-creator-provider and consumer and end user directly, removing the need for additional participants in the supply chain. The blockchain technology is for example already used for energy transactions in smart grids providing a means to keep track of electricity consumed and delivered. Huawei believes investment in technology is a key accelerating factor to help nations achieve the SDG’s and Siemens smart grid solutions make it possible to modernise and adapt existing power grids to future expectations. And finally Thermo-Systems developed a system to process the sludge in an environmentally safe way using automated robots to “do the dirty work”. This highly readable book is a must-read for businesses (large and small) that wish to genuinely support the delivery of the SDGs. Dorin Deelen Owner Merit Capital AG/Swiss Family office 71