From 15-17 September 2023, the mountain air of the French Alps fuelled creative minds and change makers from around the world who gathered for this year’s Summit of Minds “Stretching Minds – Inspiring Change” in Chamonix. Two of these brilliant minds in attendance were The Bridge Tank’s very own Djellil Bouzidi, Economist & Founder, Emena Advisory, and Pranjal Sharma, Economic analyst & Author of “The Next New – Navigating the Fifth Industrial Revolution”. The Bridge Tank had already taken part in the Summit’s 2021 edition.
Addressing themes ranging across today’s most pressing economic, societal, environmental, technological and geopolitical issues, the Summit of Minds brought together experts, investors, and practitioners to share insights and to collectively explore creative ideas and new solutions.
Technological revolution in a changing world
During the Summit, our board member Pranjal Sharma explored themes of tech innovation and how to harness it, placing it in the context of changing geopolitical dynamics around the globe. These were topics Mr Sharma previously discussed during The Bridge Tank’s Davos Innovation Lunch 2022 and at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.
On geo-politics, Pranjal Sharma noted that what is incorrectly perceived by many as a global disorder is in fact a re-ordering of the world in which new geopolitical alignments are challenging the dominance of OECD countries. While legacy economies are struggling to adapt to this changing climate, emerging and developing economies are deepening South-South collaboration, something which will inevitably lead to the acceleration of regional currency (non-dollar) trade with the support of Saudi Arabia, UAE, India and Brazil. The global logistics map will undergo deep changes as new economic corridors like the IMEC were announced between India, Europe and the Middle East during the latest G20 Summit in India.
The technological revolution requires decisive action by governments in terms of control and regulation of technology, Mr Sharma argued. Protecting children and vulnerable communities in the digital world will be one of the – protection of society. But beyond these challenges, the technological revolution will offer a strong positive impact on the improvement of sustainability.
Drawing from his recently published book “The Next New – Navigating the Fifth Industrial Revolution,” Pranjal Sharma highlighted the transformation of business models resulting from the fifth industrial revolution. These are the result of three factors: emerging technologies; the urgency of sustainability; and the need for social equity. This emergence of new business models will generate new revenue streams worth $25 trillion, impacting all companies and industries.
The future of Sustainability-Linked Bonds
In Chamonix, Djellil Bouzidi, Economist, Founder, Emena Advisory and long-time board member of The Bridge Tank sat down with Eoin Murray, Head of Investments, Federated Hermes, UK to discuss sustainability-linked bonds (SLB). One of the first proponents of SLBs having laid out their premises in 2015 and a leading expert on the matter ever since, Mr Bouzidi shed light on these bonds, whose principal, unlike standard green bonds, vary according to the achievement of pre-determined sustainability targets. The discussion addressed SLBs growth in both private markets and from sovereign issuers, while also analysing their environmental effectiveness.
Having advised issuers worldwide and notably the Chilean government for the issuance of the world’s first sovereign SLB in March 2022, Mr Bouzidi has recently been raising the alarm on shortcomings and problematic approaches in the current SLB market threatening these sustainable finance tools’ future viability.
In 2020, Djellil Bouzidi published a seminal article on the matter for the Official Forum of Monetary and Financial Institutions, titled “How climate cuffs could save the planet”.