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And that’s a wrap – The APEC CEO Summit finishes on a high

12 November 2021

Day two, the final day, of The APEC CEO Summit 2021 has come to an end and included a 19 year old White House advisor, a professor of social psychology, the head of Air Asia and a conversation between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

We call that finishing on a high!

The fully virtual Summit, Asia-Pacific’s largest conference of political and business leaders, has been hosted from the Aotea Centre in Auckland and been watched by thousands across the APEC region.

The day began with Richard Edelman, CEO of global communications firm Edelman, who spoke about the trust landscape, and how in recent years business has become the most trusted institution across the world.

“Business is the most trusted because it’s the only one seen as both ethical and competent. Historically it was competent but not ethical,” he said.

Air Asia CEO Tony Fernandes talked about his views on sustainability and said airline companies are not the only organisations that need to take action on climate change. He said the airline industry gets enormous amounts of press and negativity, “but actually our emissions are far, far less than say the car industry or the power industry.”

Jerome Foster II, who at 19 is the youngest ever White House advisor in US history, spoke about ending fossil fuel subsidies, which distort the market and make it more difficult for renewable energy providers to compete.

 New Zealander Sir Ian Taylor (Ngāti Kahungunu) started his company Animation Research in 1989, and found early success with computer graphics of America’s Cup races, which changed the way audiences off the water view the races. He said his Māori ancestors had to be more than sailors to get here. “They had to be astronomers, scientists, engineers and mathematicians. They had to be innovators. And the voyage they made as we are only just beginning to discover is arguably the greatest story of human migration in the history of mankind.”

President of Indonesia, His Excellency Joko Widodo, told the Summit that the pace of Indonesia’s digital acceleration during COVID 19 is estimated to equate to 10 year’s progress in normal times.

“However we need to narrow the digital divide between APEC economies and domestically. We need to pay special attention to capacity building and quality infrastructure, as well as accessibility and affordability of the digital economy.”

American social psychologist, Jonathan Haidt, told the APEC CEO Summit that the corporate world had moved from economist Milton Friedman’s model of shareholder primacy to a stakeholder model where executives were expected to balance the needs of many different groups, including customers, shareholders and their staff.

A conversation between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, which was moderated by Microsoft President and Vice Chair, Brad Smith was broadcast towards the end of the day’s session.

The next APEC CEO Summit will be hosted by Thailand in December 2022.