57 posts categorized "Current Affairs"

June 21, 2012

Ready Set Go! Rio+20 starts

Green bottlesAnd so it starts!  What an especially exciting time to be in Rio de Janeiro!  I am here for some of the numerous events being held over the next few days in conjunction with the 20th anniversary of the original Rio summit on the environment held here in 1993.  In fact, this week's much-anticipated event has been given the catchy name of "Rio+20," because of this milestone year.  The more formal name is the United Nations Global Compact Corporate Sustainability Forum and it kicks off this evening with an opening ceremony and reception.

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June 20, 2012

Rio+20: Deloitte + Me, Contributing to the global sustainability dialogue

Rio de JaneiroThe world is quite literally coming together in Rio for a few days 20-22 June to build consensus on a more sustainable course for our planet.  The unifying event is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which has a much more catchy title: Rio+20.

Organized by the United Nations, Rio+20 will enable thousands of government participants as well as many from the private sector—including Deloitte—to play a critical role in creating some innovative business solutions with long-lasting social and environmental impact. A related event being held in Brazil’s second largest city in the days leading up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development is the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, which will focus more on the business contribution to sustainable development.  The number “20” is a reference to the years since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio where many countries rallied for the first time around a blueprint for economic growth that would consider social equity and environmental issues. 

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February 21, 2012

Reflecting on 'The Business Case for Women’s Economic Empowerment' workshop

BIAC, AMCHAM France and OECD workshopThe recent joint workshop on the business case for women’s economic empowerment which I chaired at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris was, I hope, another small step to integrating women’s experiences, perspectives, and voices into the fabric of our organizations, systems, and societies. Over 120 experts from around the world had gathered, including the U.S. Ambassador to the OECD and the OECD Deputy Secretary General, and representatives of business, government, and investor communities.

It was a joint meeting between the OECD; BIAC, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD; and the American Chamber of Commerce in France and the aim of the day was to provide a business perspective and best practice experience to the OECD’s Gender Initiative. A report on the shared ideas will go forward to the 2012 OECD Ministerial and Forum to be held in May.

The levels of engagement in the discussion reflected just how important an issue this is for many, and for many reasons. What was being discussed didn’t seem to be mostly about the research and the data. It was much more grounded in common-sense and shared experience. Several people mentioned President Obama’s recent remarks on the subject and used them as their starting point. He had said that what we are talking about when we talk of women taking a much greater place in the economic structure is very simply that we want the same opportunities for our daughters as we want for our sons. Put like that the issue becomes very simple and almost unarguable.

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February 06, 2012

Ladies first

Ladies First ad banner

Ladies first: An old adage, but one that was top of mind on 2 February 2012 at the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC), AmCham France, and OECD joint workshop on the economic empowerment of women. And so it should be. Women are a critical resource in facing the challenges of our global economy, both as an emerging market and as a significant pool of human talent.  Further, gender diversity creates the potential for better, more informed decision-making in our societies, an educated and diverse source of talent for private and public institutions, and role models who can be an inspiration to billions of women and men worldwide.

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February 02, 2012

Call to action: Bringing together politics, business, and individuals for global solutions

Blog_wef_annualmeeting_gathering“Knowing is not enough; we must also apply. Willing is not enough; we must also act.”

This quote by German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe has accompanied me through the days in Davos at this year's World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. Seeing the pressing issues to be resolved has filled me with a sense of responsibility, corporate as well as personal. Yet no one person, company, or nation can achieve this alone. Change will only happen through dialogue and mutual respect; Davos offers a perfect forum to foster this conversation and build this respect.

Only together can we address and hope to resolve the big themes our world is facing:

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February 01, 2012

Harnessing the potential of women in the workforce

Yoriko Goto in DavosI have just spent a fascinating week at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The theme for 2012, The Great Transformation: Shaping New Models, covered several topics such as shifts of geopolitical and geo-economic power, multiculturalism, technological innovation, and job creation. For example, academics and business leaders put forth the idea of job creation that focuses on the hundreds of millions of people that will enter the job market in the next decade. Businesses that will gain a competitive advantage in the future will be those that focus on talent by fostering entrepreneurial risk-taking and achieving true gender equality.

Against this backdrop of gender equality discussions, one of the highlights of the week for me was the Gender Parity session on Friday. As the leader of the Japanese Financial Services Industry practice at Deloitte Japan and the first female represented on the Deloitte Japan Executive Board, I am passionate about shaping employment and leadership opportunities for women. I had the privilege of talking to leaders from around the world in this interactive workshop about their experiences, and how to improve opportunities and career paths for women leaders in the future.

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January 30, 2012

Optimistic in an uncertain world

Deloitte Davos installation - Why does your business exist?Last year, I described my Davos experience as being like going to Disneyland but not being allowed to try the rides. This year, attending as a delegate for the first time, gave me an Alpine rollercoaster experience – from the highs of meeting and hearing from inspirational innovators, entrepreneurs and experts in their fields, to the lows of some sobering economic debates.

The World Economic Forum has typically contained an element of future gazing – what is the 5-10 year outlook for business and society? This year, there was a much more short term feel, with a strong focus on solving the Eurozone crisis. Perhaps unsurprising, given the presence of Angela Merkel, David Cameron, and numerous finance leaders.

Davos is a great opportunity for me to spend time with the CEOs of our member firm clients, and to get a good sense of the latest thinking of political leaders, finance leaders, and regulators. It’s also a real opportunity to hear from experts in fields I wouldn’t normally hear from, for example, on the future of medicine. This broader agenda is not only personally interesting, but gives me new perspectives and challenges my thinking.

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January 25, 2012

Business leaders and ‘Millennials’ agree – the purpose of business is more than just profit


The 2012 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum opened today in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. Being here in Davos is exhilarating and inspiring – and the time always flies by so quickly.

One of the highlights of the day for me was taking part in a panel discussion chaired by London Business School professor Lynda Gratton. We discussed how the art and science of leadership are fundamentally changing in the 21st century. Another highlight today was helping lead discussion with other Forum delegates in a brainstorming session on the topic of the role of business in society.

These are subjects I feel strongly about. Earlier this week, Deloitte announced the results of a global survey, conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), of business leaders’ attitudes on the purpose, impact, and leadership of business on society.

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January 24, 2012

If it all goes wrong: Rebalancing the global economy

The future belongs to those who show up. — Mark Steyn

People_mapAs leaders of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited and its member firms, participate at the World Economic Forum in Davos at the end of this month, I am looking forward to engaging with clients of the Deloitte U.S. firms in New York this Friday on whether growth is still possible if everything goes wrong. The challenge is looking for the pony in the pile of horse-do-overs. I think I have discovered no less than five. Here is the first one.

The doomsday scenarios related to overpopulation, which were previously forecasted, have failed to materialize. In fact the scenario which has unfolded is the exact opposite, with its own set of challenges. Birth rates around the world have plummeted to levels where the implosion of population represents a much greater threat to economic prosperity. Populations are already shrinking in Russia and most of the countries of the former Soviet Union, as well as in Japan. Throughout much of Europe, the population pyramid is standing on its head. For every 100 grandparents there are less than 50 grandchildren.

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December 01, 2011

Rethinking the life sciences value equation

Life sciences and health care - pharmaceuticals - pill bottleThe Financial Times, in association with Deloitte, will host the Global Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology Conference 2011 in London next week. As DTTL’s Global Managing Director for the Life Sciences and Health Care industry, I am extremely interested in engaging life sciences and health care executives while I’m there to gain a better understanding of their most pressing issues.

A topic that fascinates me is the so called pharmaceuticals innovation crisis. I am sure during the course of this conference someone will show the ubiquitous chart comparing rising cost to develop a new drug compared to declining new molecular entity (NME) productivity. First, I’ve seen this chart about 500 times; it’s old news. Second, I argue that it is merely an example of measuring the wrong thing. In fact, I think it is hard to argue that the last decade has not been one of the most innovative in human history. Think about the cracking of the human genome, our growing understanding of genetic predisposition, and our increasing knowledge on the complexity of protein interactions in the human body, not to mention advances in scientific disciplines like nanotechnology and robotics that will certainly have a positive impact on overall human health. So, I’m going to start calling this chart the “lack of imagination chart” rather than the “innovation crisis” chart.

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