Last month in Davos, Switzerland, a record number of heads of state and leaders in business, civil society, and academia convened for the World Economic Forum’s 48th Annual Meeting. For decades, the World Economic Forum has been committed to facilitating public-private collaboration to address and solve some of the world’s most pressing environmental and social issues. Here, at Reynders, McVeigh, albeit on a smaller scale, we too seek to work with investors, non-profits, academics, and our portfolio companies to find long-term, sustainable solutions for our clients and the local, regional, and even global community.
Included on the agenda this year were the future of consumption and the circular economy; the future of education, gender, and work; the future of energy, infrastructure, and mobility; and the future of health and healthcare. All of these topics serve as core themes in our work.
In the context of an ever-increasing global population, growing restraints on natural resources, and the impacts of climate change, the discussion in Davos can bring both solutions and challenges. As investors, we have the opportunity to take an active role in addressing those challenges and ensuring that the solutions help to advance equality, sustainability, and prosperity.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing with it a host of new technologies. The Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are improving our lives in countless ways. They are making our cities smarter – cutting down on energy and water use, making agriculture more resource efficient, and helping doctors monitor the wellbeing of patients in real time. The benefits of these technological advances seem endless, but it is imperative that we also consider their long-term impact on all stakeholders. For example, in the case of AI and automation, what must we consider in terms of the workforce, jobs, and education?
New technologies applied within certain sectors of the economy can have wide-reaching impact and can potentially lead to long term, sustainable opportunities of value. However, we know it is critical to understand how these tools can be adopted and implemented in ways that create shared value. We believe that they must generate new opportunities for all and not just the few. Considering these externalities and their implications is what good investing is all about.
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