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COVID vaccination passport

Microsoft and Salesforce are part of the cross-industry "Vaccination Credential Initiative" seeking to establish a standard for digital vaccination records that can be used universally to identify COVID-19 vaccination status for individuals.

The goal is to develop a standard model for organizations administering COVID-19 vaccines to make credentials available in an accessible, interoperable, digital format (using the open, interoperable SMART Health Cards specification, based on W3C Verifiable Credential and HL7 FHIR standards).

This is intended to align with the work of WHO Smart Vaccination Consortium which will launch this month and which the World Economic Forum is a member of.

Technology plays an essential role in the secure, safe and equitable distribution of the vaccine and strategic partnerships will enable us to achieve our goals and meet the challenges ahead.

— Dr. David Rhew - Chief Medical Officer & VP Healthcare, Worldwide Commercial Business, Microsoft
A ground staff walks past a container kept at the Cargo Terminal 2 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport, which according to the officials will be used as a COVID-19 vaccine handling and distribution center, during the media preview in New Delhi, India December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis? - RC2CSK98WT9V
Image: REUTERS/Anushree Fadnavis

Salesforce is proud to join the Vaccination Credential Initiative to help organizations easily and safely customize all aspects of the vaccination management lifecycle and integrate closely with other coalition members’ offerings, which will help us all get back to public life. With a single platform to help deliver safe and continuous operations and deepen trust with customers and employees, this coalition will be crucial to support public health and wellbeing.

— said Bill Patterson - Executive Vice-President and General Manager, CRM Applications at Salesforce

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Ipsos 2021 predictions: "Better is possible"

Darrell Bricker, Ph.d. and Global CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs:

"Predictions about the future course of human events are a fool’s errand. Who in mid-2019 would have predicted the calamity the world has gone through in 2020? Sure, there were general warnings from scientists and others about the potential for a world changing pandemic to occur in the future, but did anyone predict it would be in 2021?

"This isn’t to say predictions don’t matter. Especially when they are made by 23,007 citizen consumers in 31 countries. That’s what is included in the Ipsos Global Advisor 2021 Predictions.

"Predictions are ultimately about expectations. What does the public expect for 2021? We are cautiously optimistic about our short-term future but fear that the effects of COVID-19 will be with us for some time to come. The message here to governments, businesses and others is that while we are sceptical about any predictions for a new Roaring 20s, better is possible."

Image: Ipsos

PepsiCo steps up climate action

PepsiCo is stepping up the company’s fight against climate change. The company has unveiled an ambitious new goal to cut carbon emissions by more than 40% by 2030 (against a 2015 baseline) — more than doubling the previous climate objective.

This is expected to result in the reduction of over 26 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions — the equivalent of taking five million-plus cars off the road for a full year.

The severe impacts from climate change are worsening, and we must accelerate the urgent systemic changes needed to address it. Moving up the company’s timeline is crucial, considering the dire consequences for waiting. There is simply no other option but immediate and aggressive action.

— Ramon Laguarta, Chairman and CEO, PepsiCo

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The data revolution: new report on manufacturing

A new World Economic Forum-Boston Consulting Group report examines the value unlocked by data and analytics applications. It defines six organizational and technological priorities of data excellence in manufacturing to help decision-makers capture value from these applications internally and within larger ecosystems. Finally, the paper proposes a path towards realizing a future of manufacturing that is digital and hyper-connected.

Manufacturing industries are on the verge of a data‑driven revolution. We will soon see companies collaborating in hyperconnected value networks in which data‑and‑analytics applications drive productivity, new customer experiences and societal and environmental impact.

3 new Moderna mRNA vaccines in the making

2021 is perhaps the year of the vaccine. The incredible speed at which a COVID-19 vaccine has been developed is groundbreaking. Not least because a number of the vaccines on the market are using a brand new technology.

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and the one from Moderna Inc, differs from typical, historical vaccines because it involves providing a person with just a set of instructions on how to build specific proteins that will trigger a body’s natural defenses.

The mRNA instructions, which are temporary and do not affect a person’s actual DNA, simply prompt the body’s cells to produce proteins that mirror those used by a virus to attach to and infect cells. The independent proteins are then fought off by a person’s natural immune response, which provides a lasting lesson in how to fight off any future proteins that match that profile, including those which help viruses attach to and infect people. The technology can be quickly tweaked to address new mutations of a virus if necessary and scientists have suggested the changes could be made in as little as six weeks.

Moderna has announced that it will pursue development programmes around three new vaccine candidates in 2021. These include potential vaccines for HIV, seasonal flu and the Nipah virus.

IBM's next-gen vaccine delivery

IBM has made available an open platform to facilitate vaccine delivery to billions of people across the planet. It is bringing together the power of blockchain, data and AI, hybrid cloud, and security technologies to help the public and private sectors speed the medicines from production facilities to doctors’ offices in a trusted way.

"This is not a zero-sum game. It won’t be achieved by any one company. It is a job that requires collaboration across a highly adaptable foundation of ‘good technology’ that will speed access to life-saving vaccines and help nations return to their work, jobs and schools."

Unilever and Alibaba: 'world first' AI-powered closed-loop recycling system

The Waste Free World initiative is a partnership between Unilever and Alibaba, which combines the former's packaging technology with the latter's business operating system to accelerate the process of returning high-grade plastic back into a closed-loop recycling system.

“Plastic has its place, but it should not cause environmental pollution,” acknowledges Rohit Jawa, Unilever’s Executive Vice President of North Asia. “By 2025, we will make an absolute reduction of 100,000 tons in plastic use and promote the use of recyclable plastic, so that we can halve the amount of virgin plastic we use in packaging and help collect and process more plastic packaging than we sell.

“We believe Waste-Free World, jointly launched with Alibaba Group, will become the ‘green engine’ of the circular economy for plastic packaging in China,” he says.

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“Alibaba is supporting Unilever to make it easier for Chinese consumers to embrace responsible consumption across our multiple cross-platforms, including Alipay, Tmall, and Tmall Supermarket by creating a closed-loop scenario for plastic recycling that starts with its purchase, to usage to recycle and repurchase.”

— Jet Jing, Vice President of the Alibaba Group.

Majid Al Futtaim Leisure: the power of sport

The United Arab Emirates is working to harness the power of sport and leisure as a tool for social integration and inclusion.

It is developing a social cohesion index as part of its Vision 2021. One of its metrics is the number of Olympic and Paralympic medals won by the country, illustrating the importance the country places on participating in sport and recognizing the impact of social cohesion on societal wellbeing.

These values are exemplified throughout the country. For example, Majid Al Futtaim, a leading shopping mall, communities, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East, is committed to UAE’s Vision 2021 and has implemented several safety measures to enable customers to return safely to its facilities and Ski Dubai, including a queueless experience enabled by QR codes and advanced sanitization measures. It is also serving as a hub for international sporting competitions such as The World Cup and Para Snowboard World Cup.

“Sport and entertainment are powerful tools for social integration and inclusion, whilst having the power to unite people in challenging times. In line with Vision 2021, we will continue to leverage the power of sport to strengthen social cohesion.”

— Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer at Majid Al Futtaim Leisure, Entertainment & Cinemas

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