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Key moments

HCL CEO on Davos: Pace is the only case

C Vijayakumar, Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director of HCL Technologies, shares his notes from Davos on navigating uncharted waters together in his latest blog.

"Davos has been home to many a great storyteller – from Arthur Conan Doyle who sketched the character of Sherlock Holmes to Robert Louis Stevenson, who wrote the final chapters of Treasure Island here. And yet, when it comes to the conflicts and plotline that world leaders were dealing with as they searched for resolutions at Davos this year, fact beat fiction hands down.

The lingering shadow of the pandemic, a new shadow of war, three interconnected global crises – energy, food, climate – the list was long. And yet it was reassuring to see the energy and resolve in the face of such global headwinds. I look back at three important directional shifts that caught my attention at this year’s meetings."

Leaders are being challenged with crisis after crisis in an imperfect storm... There is no business as usual anymore as we move into uncharted waters.

—C Vijayakumar CEO & MD, HCL Technologies

From digitalization at the heart of the climate crisis, to the need to embrace skills in progress, to 'shifting left', read the full blog here.

Magic Leap: Augmented reality for a broader transition to the metaverse

The metaverse could define the future of the internet. The acceleration of IoT platforms, as well as the data streams they can provide, could serve as a critical building block for it and for the development of a more immersive, interconnected world.

Magic Leap sees the greatest opportunity for the metaverse in augmented reality (AR), integrating the physical and digital world and not limited to a purely virtual world via extended reality (XR).

Enabled by AR and IoT, the metaverse could establish an entirely new precedent for work and collaboration, allowing enterprises to operate at much greater speed and scale. As an early pioneer of AR technology, Magic Leap has developed a new tool for immersive AR enabling a broader transition to the metaverse.

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The newly designed AR headset will help creators, designers, architects, engineers, educators and students unlock new, advanced applications that will solve real-world problems. For designers and engineers, for example, this could mean leveraging digital twins to simulate real-time feedback to physical buildings under construction. For manufacturers, it could involve using data overlays to improve field service operations or machine repairs.

Read more here

ThreatCloud: The brain behind Check Point’s power

Five years ago, WannaCry became the first major ransomware attack. It was the start of a series of large-scale cyberattacks affecting not only companies but also nations. With 1 out of 60 organizations globally impacted by ransomware, how can companies and governments avoid falling victim to cybercrime?

Check Point Software Technologies works through the power of ThreatCloud, which combines the latest AI technologies with big data threat intelligence and research to prevent the most advanced attacks while keeping organizations safe and productive.

Leveraging and aggregating big data telemetry, millions of endpoint devices, external feeds, and millions of Indicators of compromise (IoCs) everyday portraits a comprehensive picture of the threat landscape. This visual not only reveals new threats, but simultaneously produces new protections to prevent new attacks.

For example, if a malicious link is detected and blocked in a zero-day attack in the US, the threat data is immediately shared across all attack vectors while protections are updated in real time. This same zero-day malicious link would be blocked less than two seconds later in a similar attack across the globe.

Dell partners with Computer Aid, Intel and Microsoft to launch solar-powered community hubs in remote areas

Dell Technologies, in partnership with Computer Aid, Intel and Microsoft, announced its Solar Community Hubs strategy, marking an evolution in its established Solar Learning Labs program. Moving beyond technology access for education alone, the hubs improve access to technology, healthcare and workforce skills for communities in remote areas around the world.

"Research shows that the greatest impact starts with empowering local communities. By introducing the Solar Community Hubs, communities will have access to resources and infrastructure to address their most pressing issues."

—Cassandra Garber, VP of Environmental and Social Governance, Dell Technologies.

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The first Solar Community Hub in Boa Esperanca, Brazil, in partnership with the Foundation for Amazon Sustainability (FAS), is bringing digital tools to community members in a dozen outlying riverside communities and Indigenous tribes in the Amazon. In partnership with Foundation for Amazon Sustainability (FAS), deforestation alert systems use AI to combine on-the-ground information from local communities, satellite imagery, and drone footage to create detailed maps that can predict the short-term deforestation with over 90 percent accuracy.

The Hub is also designed with circularity at its core, using repurposed shipping containers, sustainably sourced wood and furniture, and solar panels so devices run primarily on renewable energy.

"By working together with the community of Boa Esperança Dell Technologies, Intel, Microsoft and FAS, we’re creating a model for a sustainable community that is preserving the Amazon."

—Alejandro Espinosa Llano, Solar Community Hub Program Manager at Computer Aid International

Read more here

Vedanta Group certified as ‘Great Place to Work’ for the second consecutive year

In an endorsement of its industry-leading people practices that makes it an employer of choice, the Vedanta Group, India’s leading producer of metals and oil & gas, along with its business units, have been accredited as Great Place to Work®, for the second consecutive time. Vedanta Group businesses including Cairn Oil & Gas, BALCO, TSPL, ESL, Iron Ore Business, Vedanta Jharsuguda, and Hindustan Zinc also received the global certification.

The Great Place to Work® certification bears testimony to the work culture of the Vedanta Group which fosters an ecosystem of trust, high-performance culture and imbibes aspects of credibility, respect, fairness, pride, and camaraderie among its employees. The badge of being ‘Great Place to Work®, aspired by thousands of organizations globally, bears testimony to the constant innovation and pioneering people practices in the domain of hiring, engagement, diversity & inclusion, rewards & recognition, talent and performance management.

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"At Vedanta, people are our greatest asset, and we are very proud of our industry leading globally benchmarked people practices. Being certified as a Great Place to Work for the second consecutive year is a testimony of our robust HR programs and the trust and affection our people have towards Vedanta. We warmly congratulate all our employees and business partners for this recognition and also thank them for their commitment to make Vedanta an employer of choice."

—Ms. Madhu Srivastava, Vedanta Group CHRO

Great Place to Work® Certification is recognized world over by employees and employers alike and is considered the ‘Gold Standard’ in identifying and recognizing Great Workplace Cultures.

Read more here.

Avison Young CEO reflects on first Davos experience

Mark Rose, CEO of global commercial real estate company Avison Young, shared his experience as a new partner to the Forum and first-time Davos participant. Here is what he had to say:

"What an amazing week! As a first time attendee at the Annual Meeting, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from the legendary “Davos” – but it certainly exceeded expectations. As I reported in my blogs, my days each ended up with a focus on a particular issue that is close to my heart and to the corporate purpose of Avison Young.

Many of my meetings and sessions focused on the climate crisis, which as a real estate services company we are deeply concerned about. A highlight was meeting former U.S. Vice President Al Gore when he attended our Real Estate Governors private session. Much of the rest of the day was spent with real estate and corporate CEOs in different forums discussing how we can move from strategy to action through promoting adoption of the WEF Green Building Principles, of which we are a proud signatory.

I also served as a panelist for the session Rise of The Stay-at-Home Economy, where I discussed the impact of ongoing changes in the retail sector. Bricks and mortar retail is far from dead – but it has to evolve rapidly to accommodate the huge changes seen in society, and in shopping behaviour. Adoption of technology to offer a customer experience that truly embraces omnichannel is key.

Then attention turned to an issue which I am personally passionate about – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I). There were a variety of fantastic speakers on the topic throughout the week, none more so than at the Diversity & Inclusion Outlook session. The focus on DE&I here today reinforced to me more than ever how closely the priorities of the World Economic Forum align with our own.

"Doing business and the state of the economy are important to us. But the emphasis on bringing together the world’s leading businesses and public figures to collectively address issues like climate change and driving social change is fundamental to what Avison Young stands for. We don’t just want to do business; we want to do good business."

—Mark Rose, CEO of Avison Young

My first Davos has been incredible experience – see you in January!"

Topsoe: a new plant for green hydrogen

Engineering group Topsoe has announced its plan to build a new plant producing electrolysers in Herning, Denmark. Electrolysers are machines that produce green hydrogen, an alternative energy source that reduces emissions.

When in operation, the new Danish plant will be world’s largest electrolyzer facility with 500 megawatt capacity per year and with an option to expand to 5 gigawatt.

Topsoe’s ambition is to speed up the green energy transition with solutions that decarbonize hard to abate industries.

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This launch follows the EU announcement to produce 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030 – increased from the 5.6 already foreseen in 2021 – and to import 10 million tonnes more of renewable hydrogen from third countries.

Nestlé, Yara International, SACAU and Indian ministry: how to tackle the disruption in food supply chains

Over 720 million people across the globe are hungry, and climate shocks coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic and Ukraine crisis are disrupting food supply chains.

Leanne Geale, Executive VP, Corporate Governance and Compliance, Nestlé; Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of Health and Family Welfare, and Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers of India; Svein Tore Holsether, President and CEO, Yara International; Ishmael Sunga, CEO, SACAU, have been discussing with Rahul Kanwal, The India Today Group, how public and private sector actors can leverage emerging technologies and innovation to build resilient food systems.

"We are facing the dual challenge to ensure food security, but also solve the environmental question. The solution starts with regenerative agriculture, but we cannot put the entire burden on the farmers; it has to be a full value chain and technological response that will help to enable that."

—President and Chief Executive Officer, Yara International

"In Ivory Coast, we have launched the 'Income Accelerator Project for Cocoa' programme. It rewards not on production volume but on practices. For example it give incentives for using better agricultural practices, ensuring children go to school, using shade trees to increase crop resilience or on opportunities for complementary crops."

—Executive Vice-President, General Counsel, Corporate Governance and Compliance, Nestlé

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Ingka Group to inspire more businesses to hire refugees

Ingka Group has announced that they will approach 500 businesses to inspire private sector labor integration of refugees. Speaking at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Ingka Group CEO Jesper Brodin said the company will also share their lessons learned in a toolkit to support and inspire more businesses to open pathways to decent work.

"The human tragedy in Ukraine has put a spotlight on a global refugee crisis that has been building for years."

—Jesper Brodin, Ingka Group CEO
Image: IKEA

"While we know that short-term emergency relief is important, and we’re doing what we can, our overall aim is to create lasting positive impact for all refugees no matter where they come from."

—Jesper Brodin, Ingka Group CEO

The Skills for Employment Toolkit: A how-to guide for opening pathways to decent work for refugees features a 7-step process, learnings and tips Ingka Group has gathered over the years. It’s meant to act as a catalyst that inspires and encourages companies to do the meaningful work of integrating refugees into the workforce.

"Our ambition is to lead with our action, and we know that refugees bring a breadth of skills, experience and perspectives that can benefit societies and businesses."

—Jesper Brodin, Ingka Group CEO

Novartis, Novo Nordisk and Health Systems Innovation Lab at Harvard University partner to transform cardiovascular health

Novartis, Novo Nordisk and the Health Systems Innovation Lab at Harvard University today launched the Collaborative on Strategic Public Private Partnerships to Transform Cardiovascular Health, an initiative to tackle cardiovascular disease (CVD) - the world’s #1 killer.

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Strategic Public Private Partnerships are highly targeted partnerships purposefully designed to achieve large-scale impact on the health, economic and social well-being of populations. They are critical to effectively manage major health threats such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes and can provide impactful solutions to any country, regardless of maturity of health system or GDP/capita level.

Investment in innovations to address cardiovascular disease has been a low priority in health systems, hampering achievement of better health outcomes. Inefficient use of available resources and the poor diffusion of healthcare innovations are some of today’s health systems’ major fault lines.

Strategic Public Private Partnerships can help address them, delivering major population level health and economic impact and addressing healthcare inequalities. Strong top leadership support is a prerequisite and a distinguishing feature of these partnerships.

Read more about this initiative here

Oil and Gas CEOs pledge for a new collective approach to strengthen cyber resilience

At a time when digitalization is transforming industries and the nature of cyber risks is in perpetual change, strengthening of cyber resilience is essential to ensure business continuity and economic growth. The vulnerability of critical energy infrastructure to malicious cyberattacks and ultimately the need to ensure a greater degree of cybersecurity preparedness was identified as a key focus throughout 2021 and during the first half of 2022.

To facilitate effective collaboration towards building cyber resilience across the industry ecosystem, the World Economic Forum, in partnership with 18 Oil and Gas companies is championing the Cyber Resilience Pledge. This commitment seeks to drive the Oil and Gas industry ecosystem towards a holistic approach for managing cyber risks and navigating the complexities of the digital era with greater agility and adaptability.

"We must work together if we want to truly protect the critical energy infrastructure that billions of people around the world depend upon. This Pledge represents an important step but it is the collaboration to follow that will ultimately determine our success."

—Amin H. Nasser, Chief Executive Officer, Saudi Aramco

A first-of-its-kind, the Pledge builds on six consensus-based principles to ensure a cyber-resilient organization. The Oil and Gas stakeholders are also endorsing six additional Oil and Gas industry-specific principles that aim to help the sector advance its approach to cybersecurity. These principles are a result of the World Economic Forum Cyber Resilience in Oil and Gas initiative. Launched in 2020, the initiative brings together more than 40 oil and gas players from across 20 different countries to engage in dialogue to enhance cyber resilience in the industry ecosystem.

"The oil and gas industry is going through a digital revolution that has been a catalyzer to the energy transition and sustainability. Cyber-resilience is key in this revolution, as staying ahead of vulnerabilities is fundamental to our business."

—Felipe Bayón, Chief Executive Officer, Ecopetrol

"The Pledge advances Galp’s commitment to joint action on managing cyber risks and protecting cybersecurity of critical energy infrastructure, by creating awareness and a unified stance on cyber resilience in the global energy sector."

—Andy Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Galp

"We are committed to and fully support the Cyber Resilience Pledge. Addressing the risks and enhancing cyber resilience is critical as the Oil and Gas industry embraces greater digitalisation to capture valuable opportunities in this digital era."

—Datuk Tengku Muhammad Taufik, Chief Executive Officer, PETRONAS

Read more about the Cyber Resilience Pledge here

Pfizer and partners announce accord for a healthier world

Today at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022 in Davos, Pfizer has announced a new commitment to offer a portfolio of products for a healthier world.

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Watch the full press conference here

Voice-Banking and AI Help People with Motor Neurone Disease Speak in Their Own Voice

At some point in time, one in every 300 people will receive a diagnosis of Motor Neurone Disease (MND), according to the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA). It’s a rare, crippling condition that progressively deteriorates the ability to move, eat, drink and, eventually, speak.

“Those with MND are often robbed of their ability to communicate with their loved ones,” explains Stuart Moss, Head of IT Innovation at Rolls-Royce whose own father was diagnosed with MND in 2013. “When my dad was diagnosed, all I could think was – we have to innovate our way out of this. We have to come up with something to solve this.”

In partnership with the MND Association, Rolls-Royce founded the NextGen Think Tank in 2019 and Dell Technologies and Intel joined efforts. Together, they created I Will Always Be Me, a 1,000-word eBook that users can read aloud and record their voice on the website in a process that takes about 20 minutes – a vast difference from the clinical experience that currently takes about three months and generates a computerized voice. Additionally, the eBook story beautifully explains the experience of battling the disease and transforms an often-difficult conversation and emotionally tolling process, into a meaningful experience with loved ones for a lasting impact.

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The processed vocals are turned into a digital voice that people living with MND can use on any assistive speech device, allowing an individual to communicate with a voice that is identifiably their own.

“We can’t cure the disease, but we have ideas, skill sets, and knowledge around engineering that can be applied to find solutions for these problems."

—Dayne Turbitt, SVP and GM, Dell Technologies UK.

"Together with our partners, we are bringing voice banking and digitization technology from a niche use case to a mainstream audience, while discovering innovation pathways for how technology can address more accessibility challenges."

—Darryl Adams, Director of Accessibility, Intel

Energy leaders discuss China and the global energy transition

China is the world's largest producer and consumer of energy, so its choices will be crucial both for meeting global energy demand and for delivering on global climate targets.

Jun Ni, Chief Manufacturing Officer, Contemporary Amperex Technology; Elizabeth Gaines, CEO, Fortescue Metals Group; Daniel Yergin, Vice-Chairman, S&P Global, and Zhigang Zhang, President, State Grid Corporation of China, discussed with Lin Xueling of Channel NewsAsia how Chinese and other global stakeholders can work together to drive the energy transition.

“In recent years we have strengthened the interconnection of power grids, developed more advanced power transmission technology, improved the capacity of the power system and implemented a digital transformation of the power grid.”

—Zhigang Zhang, President, State Grid Corporation of China

"China is still dependent on fossil energy, but we are transitioning to the new energy era with hydro, nuclear, solar and photovoltaic power. These new energy will cause a shock to the existing power grid, we will need to ensure large storage capacity to ensure the stability of the energy supply."

—Jun Ni Chief Manufacturing Officer, Contemporary Amperex Technology

"We see the steel industry in China decarbonizing by 2040. Green hydrogen will be a vital element in this transition, and we are working very closely with our customers in China on this technology."

—Elizabeth Gaines, Chief Executive Officer, Fortescue Metals Group

"Is what we saw globally in the last few month a one-off or is it the signal that we must ensure that the energy transition also comes with energy security?"

—Daniel Yergin, Vice-Chairman, S&P Global

Watch the full session here

Trane Technologies becomes one of the world's first net-zero approved companies with latest validation by the Science Based Targets initiative

Global climate innovator Trane Technologies is one of just 12 companies worldwide to date, to have its net-zero carbon emissions targets approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) – a coalition of the Carbon Disclosure Project, the United Nations Global Compact, World Resources Institute, the World Wide Fund for Nature and one of the We Mean Business Coalition commitments.

As a Net-Zero Approved company, Trane Technologies has committed to reaching net-zero GHG emissions across its value chain by 2050 from a 2019 baseline. This includes a 90% reduction in GHG emissions across its global operations (scope 1 and 2), and a 97% reduction in emissions per cooling ton from use of the company’s products (scope 3), as well as neutralizing emissions that are not eliminated.

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In addition to their Gigaton Challenge, which pledges to reduce customer carbon emissions by one billion metric tons, Trane Technologies’ 2030 Sustainability Commitments also include goals to lead by example with carbon neutral operations, zero waste to landfill, and net-positive water use in water-stressed locations across its global footprint.

Read more about the 2030 Sustainability Commitments here

BCG builds new partnerships to accelerate sustainability transformations

BCG recognizes that sustainability is one of the defining issues of our lifetime and is therefore working across its ecosystem to build new partnerships that can help clients reach their climate goals. Two recent partnerships stand out:

1. Partnership with SAP: Given that nine out of ten organizations have failed to cut their emissions in line with their own ambitions over the past five years, SAP and BCG have joined forces to bridge this gap and transform companies into sustainable enterprises. Together, the two companies are enabling business leaders to achieve zero emissions and zero waste – guided by ESG reporting practices. This partnership can help business leaders to generate sustainable competitive advantage and 10% market premiums in many industries. Specifically the joint transformation offering is supported by digital solutions across three key sustainability themes: 1) Zero Emissions, 2) Zero Waste, and 3) Holistic Steering & Reporting. Read more here.

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2. Partnership with Carbon Direct: BCG signed a strategic partnership with Carbon Direct, bringing together BCG’s Center for Climate & Sustainability, which already works with many of the world’s leading organizations on their path to net zero, and Carbon Direct’s science-backed approach to carbon management across their advisory and software offerings. Carbon Direct’s platform enables carbon offsetting at scale and is backed by over 40 of the world’s leading climate scientists with expertise in all areas of carbon management, from carbon footprinting to carbon removal portfolio procurement. Read more here.

“Carbon Direct has a critical understanding of carbon reduction, removal, and utilization technologies. Our partnership brings together climate and sustainability expertise with a scalable carbon purchasing platform to help organizations account for their carbon emissions and, from there, reduce and neutralize them.”

—Hubertus Meinecke, Global Head of Climate & Sustainability at BCG.

ESG for global resilience

With the pressures of climate change, public health, social inequality and now geopolitical stability and security on the mind of leaders around the world, the need for better transparency and comparability of environmental, social and governance factors is imperative.

Brian T. Moynihan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Bank of America; Alan Jope, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever; Laura M. Cha, Chairman, HKEX; Emmanuel Faber, Chair, International Sustainability Standards Board, IFRS Foundation, have been discussing with Shereen Bhan, CNBC-TV18, about how stakeholders can continue to drive the global effort to provide capital markets with consistent, comparable and useful ESG information.

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Watch the full session here

Coal to Renewables Toolkit accelerates coal repurposing

Today marks the launch of the Coal to Renewables Toolkit compiling best practices on coal to renewables repurposing, a practice increasingly seen as a beneficial approach to accelerate the retirement of coal power, while ramping up renewables.

As the world moves to a renewable energy future, it is important to pursue responsible solutions for coal assets and for the communities where they create jobs. Transforming existing coal plants into clean energy infrastructure allows the (at least partial) replacement of energy capacity, while leveraging existing land, components and grid connections, as well as providing new opportunities for workers and communities.

Low angle view of technician walks with investor through field of solar panels, Alternative energy to conserve the world's energy, Photovoltaic module idea for clean energy production.
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The Toolkit explores a variety of clean energy technologies that coal power plants have been successfully repurposed into, from solar, wind, batteries to green hydrogen. It also identifies financing mechanisms that support the retirement of coal plants while accelerating renewable energy, such as the Asian Development Bank’s Energy Transition Mechanism and the IDB Invest’s Carbon Reduction Bonus. Just Transition best practices for affected communities are highlighted, such as the Spanish Government Just Transition Strategy or the innovative approaches taken by Australia and Canada.

The Toolkit is part of a wider Forum initiative bringing together 50+ coal power producers, financiers and members of civil society, seeking partnerships to accelerate coal repurposing projects on the ground.

Explore the toolkit here.

Gridspertise supports the digitalization and sustainability of power grids

The transition of our energy systems is crucial for the ambition to fight climate change and global warming. This transition is defined by two major trends: decarbonization of electricity generation and deep electrification of consumption in our societies.

In order to make these two transformations happen, power distribution networks are facing great technological challenges that require more digitalization and smarter grids, allowing Distribution System Operators (DSOs) to increase the renewables hosting capacity meanwhile guaranteeing the best quality of service. This is where Gridspertise comes in, ready to support DSOs in the transformation of the energy system.

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The company inherited its intellectual property from Enel, a pioneer in the electricity smart metering market, one of the world’s most experienced players thanks to the rollout of the first country-wide smart meter network in Italy in the early 2000s. With 85 million smart meters deployed worldwide since then, Enel gathered a wealth of expertise and accumulated incredible achievements in using it to increase overall efficiency and operational improvements.

This expertise is what Gridspertise is offering today to DSOs around the world, allowing them to address current and future challenges through innovative, flexible, sustainable and integrated solutions and services, focusing on three main areas of transformation: 1) Metering and grid edge digitalization, 2) Network infrastructure digitalization, and 3) Field operations digitalization.

Thanks to technological development, open innovation and sustainability by design, Gridspertise responds to DSO needs with the most innovative and cutting-edge solutions, fostering the transition to a low-carbon economy through reliable electrification.

Read more here.

Hanwha leads on sustainability in solar panel production process

Hanwha is bolstering its efforts to make solar cell manufacturing more eco-friendly and supply more dependable while aiming to reduce overall emissions.

The impact of COVID-19 and political opposition have dented the decades-long progress of solar panel adoption, sending manufacturing costs soaring. At the same time, awareness is growing about less-than-green processes used in the solar panel manufacturing process, and the need to make panel manufacturing more sustainable.

A core effort has been Hanwha Solutions’ acquisition of Norway-based REC Silicon, a leading manufacturer of silicon for the U.S. solar market. Hanwha recently became the company’s largest shareholder after investing a total of $204 million to acquire a 21.34% share – a move that will help Hanwha secure raw materials critical to revitalizing the solar supply chain. While many polysilicon producers are carbon-heavy due to their dependence on coal, REC Silicon has set its sights on utilizing hydropower-based clean energy in their production in the near future, allowing them to produce silicon for solar panels without emitting harmful greenhouse gases.

The REC Silicon plant at Moses Lake, where production of “clean polysilicon” for solar panels with zero greenhouse gas emissions will begin in the near future
The REC Silicon plant at Moses Lake, where production of “clean polysilicon” for solar panels with zero greenhouse gas emissions will begin in the near future

Hanwha has also been amplifying its efforts to reduce panel waste and revamp the recycling process for solar cells, with Hanwha Qcells signing an MOU for solar panel Extended Producer Responsibilities with Korea’s Ministry of Environment back in 2019.

The group is focused on making solar tech truly sustainable throughout its lifecycle by setting stricter standards for production. This commitment made Hanwha Qcells the first in the industry to receive Class I Solar Module CFP certification from Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy as well as the only Korean recipient of France’s CFP certificate for their work in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing carbon from the supply chain.

By improving sustainability across the supply chain and aligning with like-minded partners, Hanwha is stabilizing solar panel supply and leading cell production on its road to recovery.

Read more here.

GEA helps fast-track cellular agriculture products

The modular, end-to-end mobile test center from GEA enables producers to evaluate concepts for cellular agriculture foods, including meat and dairy alternatives, as well as functional ingredients. This flexibility is key to shortening lead times to commercial scale production.

Providing controlled conditions for diverse bioprocesses, the mobile platform incorporates industry-approved, food-grade technologies for mixing, heat treatment, homogenization, cell cultivation or alternatively fermentation, separation and filtration. By altering the sequence of steps, adding or repeating processes and testing cultivation or fermentation strategies, producers can increase yield and repeatability.

Customers may choose to rent the mobile process line – with tests taking place at GEA premises – or purchase the platform and have it shipped to their desired location. The flexibility and reduced financial risk afforded by this tailored solution means food and ingredient producers can fail or scale concepts more rapidly.

Read more here.

GEA Mobile Test Center

AWS Impact Accelerator launches with $30 million for startups led by underrepresented founders

Amazon Web Services (AWS) today announced it has committed more than $30 million to early stage startups led by Black, Latino, LGBTQIA+, and women founders as part of its new AWS Impact Accelerator. Over the three-year commitment, AWS will provide funding and guidance for a series of programs that will help these organizations build successful companies. Each qualifying startup receives up to $225,000 in cash and credits, extensive training, mentoring and technical guidance, as well as introductions to Amazon leaders and teams, networking opportunities with potential investors, and ongoing advisory support. Eligible startups can now apply to the first of these programs, the AWS Impact Accelerator for Black Founders.

The AWS Impact Accelerator gives high-potential, pre-seed startups the tools and knowledge to reach key milestones such as raising funds or being accepted to a seed-stage accelerator program, while creating powerful solutions in the cloud. On acceptance into the eight-week program, participants will create a wide-ranging, personalized training curriculum from dozens of available sessions delivered by AWS startup experts and guest speakers. A single day could include lessons from an AWS solutions architect on optimizing cloud infrastructure, guidance on investor pitching from an experienced startup CEO, and leadership dos and don’ts from a third-party organization that provides support to startups. Startups will also learn how to use Amazon processes such as “two-way door decision making” and “working backwards” to drive day-to-day decisions and build nimble, innovative teams.

"When we launched in 2006, AWS changed the game for startups by giving them access to the same technology as the world’s largest enterprises. Today, we continue to level the playing field so that founders can pursue their ideas and grow successful businesses regardless of gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or race. AWS is committed to helping underrepresented founders succeed and build powerful cloud solutions that capture the attention of investors and customers. The possibilities for these startups are endless, and I can’t wait to see what they create."

—Adam Selipsky, CEO of Amazon Web Services

Read more here.

AVEVA and Schneider Electric create a blueprint in efficiency across its global Smart Factory program

Schneider Electric committed to transform its global operations and leverage Industry 4.0 technologies to drive sustainability and scale. AVEVA has been playing a key role in this objective as digital partner within the group’s Smart Supply Chain and Smart Factory Program, focused on transforming efficiency across Schneider Electric's global footprint of 100+ discrete manufacturing sites.

Schneider Electric’s Smart Factories in Le Vaudreuil, France, and Lexington, USA, have been recognized by the World Economic Forum as Sustainability Lighthouses, for leading the way in smart manufacturing.

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Five of the company’s Smart Factories have also received Advanced Lighthouse recognition including facilities in Hyderabad, India; Le Vaudreuil, France; Wuxi, China; Lexington, USA; and Batam, Indonesia.

Within Schneider Electric’s Batam Indonesia facility, AVEVA has helped reducing downtime by 44%, increasing on-time delivery by 40%, saving over 20% of energy. In the Lexington, USA, smart factory, the collective digital solution has resulted in a 26% reduction in energy use, a 30% net CO2 reduction, and 20% water use reduction.

Read more here

MENA: Business leaders discuss the region's economic outlook

While the Middle East and North Africa region is projected to grow by around 5% in 2022, unemployment has risen and war in Ukraine has exacerbated inflationary pressures that could hamper the prospects of several countries.

Alain Bejjani, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Holding; Mohammed Bin Mahfoodh Bin Saad Al Ardhi, Executive Chairman, Investcorp Holdings; Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance and National Economy of Bahrain; Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia, have been discussing with Nadine Hani, Al Arabiya, about what actions the region’s key economies can take to leverage their recent massive investments in response to the pandemic to shape a robust and more inclusive recovery?

"Inflationary measures have to be taken but we should not compromised the drive to deliver sustainable growth."

—Salman bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Finance and National Economy of Bahrain

"There is really strong will of governments to ensure that they do not implement reforms by themselves. They want the private sector to be part of it. Additionally there is a great focus to expand the private sector."

—Mohammed Bin Mahfoodh Bin Saad Al Ardhi, Executive Chairman, Investcorp Holdings

"Fantastic reforms are happening in Saudi Arabia and UAE. We have two mayor engines of economic growth that are at their best thanks to the reforms that have taken place."

—Alain Bejjani, CEO, Majid Al Futtaim Holding

Global leaders discuss future-proofing health systems

The global context of the pandemic and the mounting migration crisis is testing already stressed health systems, with disruptions to essential services and care reported in over 90% of countries.

Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh; Leif Johansson, Chairman of the Board, AstraZeneca AB; Jayasree K. Iyer, CEO, Access to Medicine Foundation; Catherine Russell, Executive Director, UNICEF, have been discussing with Nzinga Qunta, SABC, on how policies, practices and partnerships can be adapted and scaled in health systems globally.

"We responded to the pandemic by making 2.9 billion doses of vaccine and delivering them to 283 countries, 2/3 of which were low and middle-income countries."

— Leif Johansson, Chairman of the Board, AstraZeneca AB

"All of the current crises are impacting and reinforcing each and the impact on children is devastating. When you look at it on the healthcare side, having good primary healthcare in the impacted countries would be incredibly helpful. This exists in some places but unfortunately not enough."

—Catherine Russell, Executive Director, UNICEF

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UNICEF leads call to action across the logistics industry

This week in Davos, the Executive Director of UNICEF, the President of the World Economic Forum and industry leaders from the Forum`s Supply Chain & Transport community co-signed a Charter in support of humanitarian supply chain resilience, with the goal of ensuring continued access to essential supplies for vulnerable populations.

With global supply chains facing historic levels of disruption, triggered by climate change, the ongoing public health crisis, the war in Ukraine and resulting refugee crisis, it has never been more imperative to build resilience for humanitarian supply chains to facilitate delivery of lifesaving supplies.

“The pandemic illustrated how connected we all are. Increasing global shocks highlight the need for more collective action and coordination to build resilience, mitigate risk and enable inclusive growth especially amongst the world's most vulnerable communities," said Borge Brende, President, World Economic Forum. "The Forum commends this vital leadership commitment of our Supply Chain & Transport community."

"The international transport industry has been one of UNICEF’s strongest partners in ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments. We need that same spirit of solidarity now to prevent supply chain disruptions that threaten the most vulnerable children’s right to vaccines, learning materials, and other vital humanitarian supplies."

—Catherine Russell, UNICEF Executive Director.

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Tony Elumelu Foundation and Google launch fellowship to empower 1 million African entrepreneurs

Tony Elumelu Foundation has partnered with in Google’s first African fellowship for a six-month fellowship programme to redesign TEFConnect, the largest digital platform for African entrepreneurs with over 1.2 million entrepreneurs networking and learning every day. This initiative will empower millions more entrepreneurs and ensure the optimization of an already unique platform.

“We are pleased to continue to share our unique ability and platform to identify, train, mentor and fund young entrepreneurs across Africa with like-minded institutions like which share in our commitment to empower young African entrepreneurs. It will be exciting to see the ways in which the refreshed TEFConnect platform will continue to provide a space for growth, personal development and meaningful exchange for African entrepreneurs.”

—Dr. Awele Elumelu, TEF Co-Founder

Read more here.

Vedanta Launches Spark 2.0: Start-up accelerator program leveraging sustainable technologies

In line with its mission to support startups, Vedanta, the globally diversified energy & resources conglomerate, has launched Spark 2.0, a Global Corporate Open Innovation and Accelerator program that aims to enable startups that leverage transformative & sustainable technologies to create large-scale impact. Startups selected under the program will get to work in partnership with the group companies of Vedanta, which has operations across 3 continents.

These startups will get access to a host of benefits including Market Access and Commercial Pathways, Capacity and Resources, Advisory from Domain Experts, and Strategic Investments.

“Startups are the engines of transformation. Their innovative solutions can help us drive operational excellence and strategic growth in a sustainable manner. I am proud to be launching a program which empowers the young entrepreneurs of our country. Nothing makes me happier than seeing our talented youth reach new heights.”

—Anil Agarwal, Chairman of Vedanta Resources

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The first run of the program - Vedanta Spark 2020-2021 was a tremendous success with over 1300 startup applications from across 29 countries. Spark 1.0 had launched 60+ Innovation Challenges and 23 winners with 46 pilot projects with an estimated investment of over USD 2 Million.

Aligned with Union Govt’s Startup India program, Vedanta Spark is a pre-seed initiative by Vedanta group, to support and scale startups in building world-class products in the technology space and opening avenues for them to win commercial orders globally.

Read more here.

BRI champions financial inclusion in Indonesia by building an Ultra-Micro Ecosystem

For over a century, Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI) has been a pioneer in serving micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the backbone of Indonesia’s economy. BRI is now joining forces with Pegadaian, Indonesia’s largest pawn lending institution, and PNM, a leading group lending, to form the Ultra-Micro (UMi) Ecosystem in providing affordable banking and beyond-banking services to UMi entrepreneurs.

Image: BRI

The UMi Ecosystem is set to become one of the world’s largest microfinance institutions, serving 30 million customers by 2024. Since its launch in September 2021, BRI’s UMi has launched +400 one-stop centers where BRI, Pegadaian and PNM co-locate to serve more customers together.

Bringing affordable financial services to UMi entrepreneurs is core to achieving financial inclusion. In Indonesia, 57 million UMi entrepreneurs have an annual income of less than $10,000-15,000 and more than of them either do not have access to funding or receive loans from informal sources.

Telenor calls on the mobile industry to push for a greener grid

Telenor Group, a leading telecommunications company, has set the target of having operations in the Nordics be carbon neutral by 2030 and aims to reduce carbon emissions in Asia by 50%, compared to a 2019 baseline.

The biggest challenge Telenor faces is achieving the target in its Asian markets, particularly in Bangladesh and Pakistan, where grid electricity mainly comes from fossil fuels. The company sees investments in renewable electricity capacity being too slow to decarbonize the grid fast enough.

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In 2021, Telenor said it was prepared to commit to long-term purchases from renewable electricity producers to make necessary investments attractive. Recently, the company announced a 10-year Power Purchase Agreement with Hydro REIN for the supply of renewable energy to power Telenor's Norwegian operations.

Telenor cannot drive the change alone. To cut emissions, we want the global telecommunications community, together with other companies in the ICT industry, to pool together its demand for renewable electricity in the grids in developing countries to attract investments.

—Sigve Brekke, CEO, Telenor Group

Companies commit to knowledge sharing on the responsible use of technology

As digital technology has become an integral part of the global economy and the everyday lives of people around the world, technology companies continue to grapple with the growing impact they have on society. Over the past several years, this has led many technology companies to create ethics teams and processes.

The World Economic Forum Responsible Use of Technology initiative aims to provide practical resources for organizations to operationalize ethics in their use of technology.

Salesforce has become the third company to commit to an in-depth case study detailing their journey of developing an ethical and inclusive product practice, and operationalizing responsible technology principles across their product lifecycles. This follows the publication of case studies on Microsoft and IBM.

The case study will be the third of this series that highlights processes, tools and organizational constructs that facilitate the responsible design, development and use of technology. The series is written in collaboration with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University.

The Responsible Use of Technology series aims to encourage knowledge sharing across the technology industry, to encourage companies to adopt and operationalize technology ethics, and to promote discussion and evaluation of Salesforce’s methods, tools and experiences.

Read more about this initiative here

CEOs reflect on navigating complexity in new Egon Zehnder leadership survey

Egon Zehnder released a new CEO leadership survey involving nearly 1,000 CEOs worldwide. This year's survey had more twice the amount of respondents than the previous round in 2018, reflecting the enthusiasm among CEOs to reflect more deeply on what is required of them.

Going far beyond box-ticking, these CEOs provided more than 5,000 individual, qualitative reflections. Participating CEOs represent every major industry and region, both larger and smaller firms, and every type of company ownership. They include nearly 100 female CEOs, and they range from highly tenured to freshly appointed CEOs. Together their companies earned nearly $4 trillion in revenues in 2020.

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When we weave together the voices of these CEOs with the latest thinking from Egon Zehnder’s CEO advisory work, four findings stand out:

1. Complexity and rapid change are reshaping business—and the CEO’s role. 90 percent of CEOs surveyed agreed that the CEO has moved into the center of louder, more diverse and diverging voices in recent years.

2. It starts with you—CEOs recognize they must change themselves to change the world. Nearly 80 percent of CEOs strongly agree that they need to transform themselves as well as their organization. But change is hard: CEOs admit that they struggle to connect with their people and lift the collective ambition.

3. CEOs sense their goal is prosperity for the many—but most are far from achieving it. Although our survey respondents agree social and environmental contributions are at the forefront of progress, it’s still not a main priority: Traditional financial metrics remain the dominant decision-driver for most CEOs.

4. CEOs are expanding their capacity to be adaptive, relational, and self-aware. CEOs are working to develop a new set of leadership skills, specifically in self-reflection, listening to diverse points of view, and seeking frequent, honest feedback from team members, Chairs, mentors, consultants, and other CEOs.

Read more about the findings of this survey here

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