10 Break-Out Sessions

  • Time: 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm

1
1
A Demographic Revolution: Young India Takes Charge (with All India Management Association)
Speaker
Ritesh Agarwal, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, OYO Rooms
Pranjal Sharma (Topic Leader), Economic Analyst, Advisor and Author, India

India is undergoing its economic, technological and demographic transition simultaneously. An old country is becoming youthful and adventurous with the passage of time. Young Indians like OYO founder Ritesh Agarwal are quietly taking charge of Indian ethos by becoming icons of audacious aspirations and tangible proofs of its potential, spawning startups that are becoming most valuable and famous than many legacy companies. How can young revolutionaries find ways to carry the older generation of investors, regulators, workers and consumers with them and what can other economies and founders learn from India’s momentous transition?

Collaborative Advantage Across Generations: Reflecting on the SGS Experience (ISC Alumni)
Speaker
Former Members of the International Students' Comittee
Christoph Loos (Topic Leader), Chief ­Executive ­Offi­cer, Hilti AG
Vivian Bernet (Topic Leader), Head of the Organising Committe, International Students' Comittee
Watch Here

For over 50 years teams of student have volunteered to organise the St. Gallen Symposium. They have written countless invitations, met thousands of partners, and welcomed some of the most important personalities of their time on stage. Together with former members of the ISC we will reflect on the St. Gallen Symposium experience of cross-generational dialogue and collaboration, the lessons they have learned for their lives and on how the symposium has evolved. This session is organised together with ISC Alumni.

Collective Genius? Cultivating Creativity in the Arts and Beyond
Speaker
Susan Goldsworthy, Affiliate Professor of Leadership, Communications and Organizational Change, IMD Business School
Gerry Hofstetter, Light Artist & Film Producer Hofstetter Marketing
Javiera Estrada, Artist
Tatjana Rupp (Topic Leader), Member of the International Students' Committee

As the need for innovation is growing, the routinisation of well-structured creative processes within organizations is key for concurrent value creation. Prof. Susan Goldsworthy of IMD, this year's St. Gallen Symposium artist Javiera Estrada and Light Artist Gerry Hofstetter will discuss the role of collaboration in the creative process. Together, and in conversation with the audience, they’ll explore the way collaboration can drive creativity in various organisational contexts, and, on the other hand, the role of introversion and lone contemplation in creating something new.

Connecting Business with Purpose: The Potential of Skills-Based Volunteering
Speaker
Curdin Duschletta, Head Community Impact Switzerland & Foundations, UBS
Christopher Jarvis, Executive Director, RWInstitute
Prof. Amanda Shantz (Topic Leader), MBA Director and Professor of Management, University of St.Gallen

Many employee volunteering and giving programs are presented as an employee perk, similar to casual Fridays or a team-building event. But treating workplace giving and volunteering this way fails to fully capitalise on the great potential of such programs: to foster employee personal growth, and address key societal challenges. The panel will particularly explore the potential of skills-based volunteering, its benefits, and the unique challenges that arise when moving from merely transactional volunteering to something far more transformative.

Financing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
Speaker
Patrick Zhong, Founding Managing Partner, M31 Capital
Makram Azar, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Full Circle Capital
Prof. Julia Binder (Topic Leader), Professor of Sustainable Innovation and Business Transformation, IMD Business School

The investment landscape over the next twenty years will be radically different from previous generations. While there appears to be greater access to capital, there also appears to be much more volatility and debt with no clear dominant financing mechanism. Entrepreneurs, VC, Private Equity, and banks will have to find new ways to work together to create growth and stimulate innovation. How can investors and entrepreneurs better collaborate and find mutually beneficial agreements that balance risk and return?

Hacking the Fashion & Luxury Watchmaking Industry towards more Sustainability (with Condé Nast College)
Speaker
Martina Bonnier, Editor-In-Chief, Vogue Scandinavia
Raynald Aeschlimann, President and CEO, Omega S.A
Carmen Jenny, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, CLOTHESfriends AG
Johannes Reponen (Topic Leader), Director of Post-Graduate Programmes; Academic Affairs; Research & Knowledge Exchange, Condé Nast College

The fashion industry accounts for 10% of humanity’s annual carbon emissions – more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined. For long, the fashion and luxury watchmaking industry drove, together with the fashion media industry, unsustainable dynamics in the sector: generating more and more demand through an artificial cycle of new collections and seasonal trends. Businesses’ marketing, media as well as influencers thereby create a constant longing and demand for their products. How can designers, fashion houses and publishers exit this vicious cycle and, collaboratively, drive the transition towards more sustainable and ethical fashion and luxury watchmaking?

M100 Sanssouci [email protected] Gallen: Media’s New Power: More Impact Through Collaborative Journalism
Speaker
Mathias Müller von Blumencron, Journalist, Member of the Board, Tagesanzeiger and Advisory Board Member M100 Sanssouci Colloquium
Joanna Krawczyk, Chairwoman, Leading European Newspaper Alliance
Paul Radu, Investigative Journalist, Co-Founder OCCRP
Astrid Frohloff (Topic Leader), TV Presenter and Journalist, Advisory Board Member M100 Sanssouci Colloquium

Media diversity, freedom of the press and freedom of expression in Europe are currently under threat. Journalists and independent media companies are increasingly joining forces across borders to respond to such challenges as well as to be able to continue to offer independent quality journalism in the future. This session will identify learnings from new media partnerships such as the Leading European Newspaper Alliance (LENA) and the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) to identify how media can most effectively work together.

Democratizing Access to the next Generation of Technology and Innovation: Communities and Radical Transformation
Speaker
Gina Loften, Member of the Board of Trustees, TIAA
Luzius Meisser, Chairman, Bitcoin Suisse
Tycho Onnasch, General Manager, Trust Machines
Shuo Chen (Topic Leader), General Partner, IOVC

Technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship are key drivers of the modern economy and social mobility. Given their importance, we should strive to improve accessibility to tech, education and entrepreneurship across all backgrounds. Creating open and inclusive communities, especially with tech is important to accomplishing this goal, but it is easier said that done. Simultaneously, a third iteration of the internet – Web3 – has the potential to radically transform the internet of things and reduce barriers to access. How can these forces be effectively harnessed and directed for the benefit of all people and move the world forward?

Varieties of Tech Capitalism: Europe's Approach to Innovation and Regulation in a Global Context
Speaker
Julian Teicke, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, wefox
Lisa-Marie Fassl, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Female Founders
Christoph Keese (Topic Leader), Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer, hy

Over the past decades, the tech sector, especially the internet of things, has become a central component of modern economies. Trying to catch up with the exponential pace of technological development, the US, China, and Europe are crafting rules of the game on digital markets. What are the emerging characteristic differences between regulatory regimes of digital markets, in the US, Europe and beyond, and how do they balance innovation and regulation? In light of strategic competition over tech dominance between the US and China, what are the opportunities and challenges for Europe in particular?

Changed for Good? Engaging with the New World of Work
Speaker
Petra von Strombeck, Chief Executive Officer, New Work SE
Jean-Christophe Deslarzes, Chair of the Board, Adecco Group
Nat Ware, Founder & CEO Forte
Prof. Heike Bruch (Topic Leader), Director, Institute for Leadership and Human Resources Management, University of St. Gallen
Watch Here

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the world of work forever. The fast and widespread adoption of remote work and an ever-increasing concern of employees with purpose and meaning on their job have intensified the war for talents. Reaching out to and concurrently engaging employees is key for businesses across sectors and regions. What learnings can be drawn from the pandemic as regards our approach to work? Has the world of work changed for the better? And what role does leadership culture and a new approach to hiring play going forward?

Sign up for our Newsletter

Sign up for our Newsletter

Tomorrow’s Freedom Depends on Clean Energy

20th century conversations about sustainability were often framed as «economy versus the environment». Many people would have agreed, back then, that it was important to protect the environment, but when push came to shove, economic factors like jobs, profits and shareholder value were limiting decision makers’ green ambitions. In today’s business world, hanging on to this outdated worldview is a recipe for disaster. In this Topic Brief, Professor Rolf Wüstenhagen explains why.

For more than a century following the industrial revolution, we have created wealth by burning fossil fuels. In all these years, there was a positive correlation between economic success (measured, for example, in terms of GDP) and carbon dioxide emissions. When scientists started warning that emitting greenhouse gases causes global warming, policy makers and corporate decision-makers were reluctant to take ambitious steps, as this seemed to go hand-in-hand with lower profits, or, worse still, an outright recession. But now, two fundamental changes indicate a complete reversal in the GDP-CO2 relationship.

The atmosphere is no longer a free garbage can

First, it is becoming increasingly clear that the costs of climate change can no longer be considered to be somehow “external” to corporate balance sheets or national accounts. Extreme weather events like the Australian bushfires in early 2020 are an illustration of the very real costs of climate change. For successful climate change mitigation, more and more countries are therefore internalizing the cost of emissions, thereby moving closer to the polluter-pays-principle.

The atmosphere is no longer a free garbage can, and companies that fail to reduce their emissions will have to foot the bill. In some jurisdictions, policymakers are still reluctant to adjust prices to environmental realities. But even there, more and more companies are preparing themselves for a carbon-constrained world, knowing that not preparing for the inevitable would be imprudent.

This is now being acknowledged by high-profile figures in the investment world. Larry Fink, the founder and chief executive of Blackrock, the world’s largest asset management firm, recently wrote to investors: “The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance.” And Mark Carney, previously governor of the Bank of England and now UN special envoy on climate finance, put it even more bluntly: “Companies that fail to respond to climate change will go bankrupt.”

Solar and wind have rapidly become the world’s cheapest energy sources

The second aspect that has changed the equation is the fundamental shift in relative costs of renewable and non-renewable energies that occurred over the past decade. In the United States, wind and solar power are now 69% and 88% cheaper than a decade ago. Similar trends can be observed around the world. In contrast, the cost of fossil-fueled and nuclear power generation tends to be increasing and now exceeds the cost of renewables in many countries. The cost curves of different energy technologies have reached a tipping point, implying that while in the early 2000s, investors would still have had to choose between reducing emissions and making profits, the clean solution is now increasingly the competitive solution, too.

Source: https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-2017/

Some observers point out that while wind and solar have become cheaper, their production profile also fluctuates with the weather. So building up a reliable electricity system with high shares of renewables requires complementary investments in storage or other sources of flexibility. These solutions, similar to solar and wind a decade ago, are now also progressing on the technology learning curve. Battery storage, in particular, is benefiting from the convergence of the electricity system and the transport sector: With the rise of electric mobility, car companies have started ramping up battery manufacturing capacities. This will inherently lead to lower cost, which can also make stationary battery storage more affordable. Furthermore, the electric cars themselves can serve as sources of flexibility in the system. When people drive to work and their car is connected to the grid during the day, the car’s battery can absorb some of the excess production of solar power on their employer’s roof, giving them an emissions-free ride home.

The question is not if clean energy will shape our future, but how fast

Some observers point out that while wind and solar have become cheaper, their production profile also fluctuates with the weather. So building up a reliable electricity system with high shares of renewables requires complementary investments in storage or other sources of flexibility. These solutions, similar to solar and wind a decade ago, are now also progressing on the technology learning curve. Battery storage, in particular, is benefiting from the convergence of the electricity system and the transport sector: With the rise of electric mobility, car companies have started ramping up battery manufacturing capacities. This will inherently lead to lower cost, which can also make stationary battery storage more affordable. Furthermore, the electric cars themselves can serve as sources of flexibility in the system. When people drive to work and their car is connected to the grid during the day, the car’s battery can absorb some of the excess production of solar power on their employer’s roof, giving them an emissions-free ride home.

With all the new technological opportunities for decarbonization of the energy and transport sectors and their favorable economics, the question is no longer if clean energy will shape our future, but how fast. This, in fact, turns out to be no trivial question, as three main tasks remain to be addressed: cognitive inertia, social acceptance, and climate resilience.

The first task is rooted in the nature of human psychology. We are creatures of habit, and do not easily give up long-held beliefs. Overcoming cognitive inertia is therefore the prime task for any executive trying to take advantage of the opportunities of decarbonization. Accepting the new realities has turned out to be challenging for many incumbent firms in the electric utility sector as solar power occurred on the fringes of their radar screen, and their peers in the automotive sector seem to have had similar struggles with the rise of electric mobility. Even where forward-looking CEOs are now working hard to reposition their firms, they may still face pockets of resistance within their organization. Armadas of engineers have built their careers around fossil-fuel related technologies, and will not easily let go of the skills and manufacturing excellence that they are proud of, even if deep inside they realize the time has come to move to new pastures. As Peter Drucker once put it, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”, so the importance of changing people’s minds inside the company and among its external stakeholders can hardly be overestimated.

The second task is social acceptance. Companies will only succeed in growing the market share of innovative low-carbon solutions if they convince their customers to tag along, and the same is true for political leaders with regard to their voters. There are two common traps here – first, engineering-driven companies might lack awareness for changing customer needs, and then be caught by surprise if a shiny new technological solution fails to be picked up on the market. Second, customers are human beings, too, and as such they might be just as prone to inertia as the companies. So understanding customers’ needs, and helping them to walk the talk, is an important ingredient of any low-carbon strategy. Similarly, policymakers should not mistake public sentiment for addressing the climate challenge for a guarantee that those same voters will also enthusiastically support implementation of low-carbon solutions. The rich literature on social acceptance of wind energy is a case in point here – implementing such projects requires careful local leadership, and is supported by appropriate levels of procedural and distributional justice.

The third and final task is to build climate resilience. Building up a cleaner energy and transport infrastructure is essential if we want to limit the consequences of global climate change. Given the time lags in the climate system, though, there is a component of change that is already inevitable. Designing resilient infrastructures is key to manage the physical risks that emerge from climate change. Railways are good for low-carbon travel, but they are also exposed to extreme weather events such as landslides or flooding. And then there is the financial dimension of carbon risk, too. As Mark Carney and others have repeatedly warned, the stability of financial markets might be at risk because of a looming carbon asset bubble due to overvalued fossil fuel companies. If large investors do not act fast enough on reducing their exposure to carbon risk, the repercussions would not be limited to the fossil fuel sector, but felt across the entire economy.

Therefore, acting now on clean energy is the ultimate path towards securing tomorrow’s freedom. It makes good business sense to invest in renewables. It is the right thing to do for future generations. But above all, failing to do so in a timely manner will severely constrain our degrees of freedom in the years to come.

Author

Share the article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.