On Monday 23rd June I went to the launch of the Kay Review of UK Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision Making and I have to admit that I came away feeling a little anti-climactic. John Kay has long been a writer I’ve admired both for his style and intellect. This is also a subject close to my heart. So I perhaps let a little too much optimism creep in as I cycled over to the headquarters of the Royal Society of Arts on the first sunny and hot day in London I can remember.
To Oxford’s Examination Schools last week for a much more inspiring, less harrowing experience than my last visit 20 years ago when I was sitting my finals. And this time I didn’t have to wear ‘sub fusc’. I was there as a participant in ‘Resource 2012’ a collaboration between Sir David King’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment and the Rothschild Foundation, and featured a very high profile line-up of politicians, academics, business leaders and investors for a two day conference focused on managing natural resources, longer term thinking and aligning people and profit. Speakers included Hans Rosling (founder of Gapminder.org), Professor Amartya Sen (Harvard), Jeremy Grantham (founder of GMO) and Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), alongside politicians including David Miliband, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda and President Bill Clinton, together with broadcasters and journalists such as James Harding (Editor of the Times), John Micklethwait (Editor of the Economist), John Landau (Producer of Avatar) and Sir David Attenborough (no introduction required…) Business leaders included Sir Terry Leahy (former CEO of Tesco), Jean-Marc Huet (CFO of Unilever) and Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (Chairman of Nestlé).
I have been bombarded with the word “obesity” recently. The BBC recently broadcast an intriguing programme called “The Men Who Made Us Fat” which sought to establish why obesity levels are rising around the world. It concluded that sugar is one of the major contributors to obesity. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first prescription diet pill in 13 years to combat the obesity problem and Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently published an excellent piece of research on obesity. With 300 million people in the world now obese, the author argues that obesity is nothing less than a global sustainability mega-trend.