(Reuters) – Reuters Next is hosting three days of interviews, panels and presentations with 150+ global leaders discussing the biggest business, social and environmental challenges for the year ahead.
Following are some notable quotes from the first day of the Dec. 1-3 conference.
To watch the Reuters ¯Next conference please register here https://reutersevents.com/events/next
NGOZI OKONJO-IWEALA, HEAD OF THE WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION
“I think it (WTO reform) will be very tough because of the lack of trust among members.
“It’s absolutely important that we support multilateral trade and we don’t take it for granted.”
VALDIS DOMBROVSKIS, EUROPEAN COMMISSION EXECUTIVE VICE-PRESIDENT
“One can say that this year was indeed a breakthrough year for EU-U.S. trade relations.
“There are clearly things to watch, but what I can say is that we are now engaging constructively so I am confident we are able to address any issues or concerns that are coming.”
THOMAS SCHMALL, VOLKSWAGEN BOARD MEMBER
On VW’s planned European battery cell plants: “We are talking about 25 to 30 billion (cost, in euros) … including the vertical chain of raw materials, not only the factories.”
On being carbon neutral by 2050: “And this altogether brings us in this closed loop and hopefully show you that we are taking care from the beginning on, from the first step, from the mining process, to be sustainable, until the last point of battery lives and car lives and recycling.”
YAT SIU, CHAIRMAN AND CO-FOUNDER OF ANIMOCA BRANDS
“One way to describe the growth of the metaverse is a little bit like the growth of China 30 years ago, in a more limited fashion.
“Maybe people didn’t understand it but you could see the growth factors that make China work: population growth, industry growth, all that kind of stuff. The metaverse is the equivalent.”
LORENZO BERTELLI, PRADA MARKETING CHIEF AND HEIR-DESIGNATE
“Second-hand (fashion) is a strategy we have been investigating for more than a year. I cannot disclose too much but for sure second-hand is there. We will take it as an opportunity.
“It can be a partnership with a player or it can be something more in-house, or both of them, a sort of hybrid solution like for e-commerce.”
FALGUNI NAYAR, FOUNDER AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF INDIAN COSMETICS-TO-FASHION RETAILER NYKAA
“The process of store expansion had slowed down due to (COVID-19) pandemic for a year or so. But this year we have revived our store rollout.
“(Many Indians are) yet to buy their first watch, first car, first home – I think India is in a very different place compared to other developed economies.”
ANDRE DE RUYTER, CEO OF SOUTH AFRICAN STATE POWER UTILITY ESKOM
On shifting away from coal: “Hopefully we can persuade people to come and set up factories here, to build components for renewable energy, that will create jobs that will create demand for electricity which will turn this challenge that we have got at the moment from a vicious downward cycle into a virtuous upward cycle.”
MEG TAYLOR, FORMER SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM
On U.S.-China rivalry in the Pacific: “Everybody comes with price tags. I can see this starting to emerge now with the bases – the U.S. is now going to establish bases throughout the region.”
On the COP26 climate talks: “I just expected countries to be much more progressive, especially with what the threats are to the Pacific.”
ANOTE TONG, FORMER PRESIDENT OF KIRIBATI
“I don’t think the global community has ever truly understood what it is that we face with the impacts of climate change. It is an existential threat.”
(Compiled by Catherine Evans; Editing by Alexander Smith)