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Our global problems demand radical collaboration

July 21, 2021, 10:04 AM UTC

Good morning.

“Radical collaboration” was the topic of yesterday’s Fortune Connect Summit—fitting for a world rattled by a raging variant of COVID-19 and extreme weather. As multiple speakers pointed out yesterday, neither the pandemic nor climate change can be addressed without collaboration among government, business and philanthropy. “We live in a world that is more complex than ever,” Ford Foundation President Darren Walker told the Connect fellows. “There is no major problem in the world that is going to be solved by any one sector.” And Ben & Jerry’s CEO Matthew McCarthy said: “If you want to do things that matter, you’ve got to do them together.”

Rockefeller Foundation President Rajiv Shah focused on the pandemic, noting the global problem continues to get worse, not better. “We have more viral replication, more cases, more spread of variants than we have ever had.” Historically, he said, the process of getting vaccines from the wealthier nations to less-wealthy nations has taken 18-20 years. Rockefeller is working to help make sure that process happens by the end of next year. But it is “a huge challenge,” he said—noting only 2% of Africans have been vaccinated.

On climate, Bank of America’s Anne Finucane said the big financial institutions are now playing a key role in driving progress. The banks’ commitment to reaching “net zero” by 2050 “not only means we become carbon neutral, but also that your entire supply chain is carbon neutral…You have to work with every single one of these clients and customers to get them to net zero for this to work. This is an enormous undertaking.” She said Bank of America has set aside $1 trillion to finance carbon reduction over the next decade, and “I think that’s conservative.”

Meanwhile, while I was at the Fortune Connect Summit, Elon Musk’s Tesla was busy losing all the money it famously made investing in Bitcoin. Shawn Tully does the math here. Other news below.

Alan Murray


Nord Stream 2

The Biden administration is reportedly set to drop the U.S.'s opposition to the contentious Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. Both the Obama and Trump administrations were against the project, but now it's nearly complete anyway, and Berlin and Washington will apparently work together to counter Russian influence, which has always been the central issue here. Wall Street Journal

Tom Barrack

Former Colony Capital CEO Tom Barrack has been arrested for allegedly acting as an agent of the United Arab Emirates. Barrack, an early Trump supporter, ended up advising senior U.S. officials on Middle East policy. According to a federal indictment, he was secretly coordinating with UAE officials. Financial Times

U.S. antitrust

Be very afraid, Big Tech: not only is Lina Khan heading up the FTC now, but Jonathan Kanter—a long-time advocate for antitrust reform—is now (pending Senate confirmation) going to be heading up the Justice Department's antitrust division. Fortune

Australian Olympics

Congratulations to Brisbane, Australia, for securing the 2032 Olympics under a new, so-called "bidding" format that boils down to no competition at all; the International Olympic Committee doesn't actually want rival bids for the Games anymore, and only allowed Brisbane to negotiate. CNBC


Extreme weather

China's central Henan province has become the latest part of the world to be hit with extreme weather: intense flooding in this case. Provincial capital Zhengzhou (a major base for iPhone manufacturing) has received nearly a year's worth of rain in three days. Authorities have relocated 100,000 people and are trying to stop dams collapsing. A dozen people died in a flooded subway. (Bonus read: Oregon's Bootleg Fire is so enormous that it generates weather.) Fortune

Fossil subsidies

In very-much-related news, a report shows the G20 countries have doled out over $3.3 trillion in subsidies for coal, oil and gas since the signing of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. The EU and U.K.'s subsidies for fossil fuels fell over that period, but they rose in Australia, Canada and the U.S. Guardian

Jeff Bezos

Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos yesterday gave $100 million each to activist Van Jones and chef Jose Andres, to be passed on (if they choose) to their non-profits—so, criminal justice reform, clean energy, tech equity, and emergency food relief. The "courage and civility" awards were announced on the same day Bezos visited the edge of space in a Blue Origin spacecraft, earning criticism from many who would prefer him to pay more in taxes. Insider

Buying reputation

Philip Morris International's entry into the inhalable-medicine space, by purchasing Vectura Group, may be an attempt for the cigarette-maker to burnish its public reputation in the fashion of companies that try to greenify their images via M&A. So writes former Green Marketing CEO Darrin Duber-Smith in this Fortune piece. Fortune 

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

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