2019 Agenda Overview


Wednesday, September 4, 2019

2:30 PM
OPENING CEREMONIES AND YUNNAN OVERVIEW
3:30 PM
OPENING PLENARY SESSION

SETTING THE AGENDA

THE NEW ENVIRONMENTAL IMPERATIVE

SUSTAINABLE LEADERSHIP: CEO INTERVIEW

THE GEOPOLITICS OF ENERGY: PRESENTATION

TROUBLED WATERS: A CASE STUDY OF CHINA’S ICONIC YANGTZE RIVER
The Yangtze, originating on the Tibetan plateau and flowing 6,300 km to Shanghai, where it empties into the East China Sea, is China’s longest river. The river has played a major role in China’s history, cultural and economic development. Its drainage basin is home to nearly a third of China’s population and the world’s largest hydroelectric power station. But is also one of the world’s most polluted. The urgency of government efforts to save the Yangtze may catch foreign and domestic producers by surprise.

IN FOCUS: GREEN FINANCE
Over the past two decades, global investors have learned to weigh environmental costs and benefits carefully when allocating capital. Environmentally focused investing fell out of favor after the clean-tech boom of a decade ago in which many investors eager to save the planet instead wound up losing their shirts. But the idea of “green finance” has staged a comeback in recent years as investors of all types recognize the need to factor full environmental risks into their decisions.

ASSET SWAP: INVESTING AWAY FROM CLIMATE RISK
Institutional investors—including sovereign-wealth and pension funds as well as major asset managers—have long judged their portfolio managers on financial returns. Now some of these investors are also evaluating their managers on carbon-reduction targets. How is sustainable investing shifting from morality to reality?

FULL DISCLOSURE: ACCOUNTING FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
Companies have long claimed to be green. But there’s a difference between frothy public relations and hard-nosed corporate disclosure. From China to the United States to Europe, market regulators, persuaded that climate change presents material financial risk, are pushing companies to disclose that risk in a specific and structured way–and to ramp up a bevy of new investment mechanisms, including “green bonds.”

THE BELT, THE ROAD, AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Railroads in Ethiopia; dams in Indonesia; ports in Sri Lanka: the massive infrastructure projects funded by China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) could help decarbonize host nations’ economies–or it could lock in decades of newly polluting infrastructure. How do corporate stakeholders ensure that the BRI will fulfill its environmental promises?

6:00 PM
WELCOME RECEPTION AND DINNER

Hosted by FORTUNE

9:00 PM
ADJOURN

Hosted by FORTUNE

Thursday, September 5, 2019

8:30 AM
FUTURE FORUMS

Focused discussions to explore opportunities for innovation and growth in four key sectors (choose 1 of 4):

THE FUTURE OF ENERGY

Global energy is undergoing an epic transformation. In much of the world, economic forces are prompting a move from coal to natural gas and renewable energy. Electric cars, though still a tiny slice of the auto market, are starting to give internal combustion-powered autos a run for their money. A shift from centralized to decentralized energy sources is gathering steam. All these changes are creating new winners and losers–among countries, industries, companies, and investors. And yet, for all this change, global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise. What the global energy shift is and isn’t doing–and why.

THE FUTURE OF FOOD

The world’s population is expected to grow to almost 10 billion people by 2050. With billions more mouths to feed and a growing appetite for protein among those in developing countries, global food demand is taxing the environment. As the effects of climate change decimate crops, urgent and effective solutions are required to secure enough good food for the future and ensure it is distributed properly to the world’s most vulnerable people.

THE FUTURE OF WATER

Globally, more than a billion people lack access to safe and clean water. Trends in Asia highlight three fundamental challenges to water supplies: scarcity, pollution, and climate change. That’s a problem not just for the drinking water but also for the security of food and energy. How to rethink economic development through a “water-nomic” lens.

THE FUTURE OF CITIES
More than half the global population lives in urban areas. And the number of megacities–those with populations greater than 10 million–has risen from three in 1975 to around 30 today. These population hubs have become hotspots for smog-causing greenhouse gas emissions. And they’re straining natural resources and imperiling human health. Cities aren’t going to stop growing. A look at how to make them livable.

10:00 AM
COFFEE AND NETWORKING BREAK
10:30 AM
MORNING PLENARY SESSION

SUSTAINABLE LEADERSHIP: CEO INTERVIEW

IN FOCUS: RETHINKING THE PLASTIC ECONOMY
Single-use plastics are the bane of environmentalists everywhere. Growing public awareness of plastics’ hazards has spooked corporations and governments into banning plastic bottles, bags and straws. It’s a start, but a prohibition on production doesn’t address the piles of plastic waste still piled up in landfills or drifting out to sea. Is it time to rethink the economic models that led to the rise of single-use products and redesign how we manage waste?

Sessions to include:

A CRADLE-TO-CRADLE SOLUTION

DESIGNING IN CIRCLES

EXPERT DIALOGUE:
TRASHED
Last year China stopped importing nearly all forms of plastic waste, exposing the shortcomings of global “recycling” schemes. Now, with nowhere to ship their plastic trash, cities around the world are struggling to dispose of it themselves—often with environmentally disastrous results. A deep dive into the global garbage mess.

GRAPPLING WITH THE GREAT PACIFIC GARBAGE PATCH

12:45 PM
SWITCH BREAK
1:00 PM
LUNCH
2:00 PM
SWITCH BREAK
2:30 PM
CONCURRENT SESSIONS: BEHIND THE GREEN CURTAIN

Choose 1 of 4

GOING WILD
Consumers the world over are paying big sums to see and feel nature, an adventure that has its ups and downs. The future of eco-tourism, in China and beyond.

CLIMATE CAPITAL
What China’s push to green finance means for the companies that do business in the world’s biggest market.

PUMP TO PLUG
What’s the potential, and what are the pitfalls, on the road from the gasoline-powered present to an electric-car future? A discussion with executives trying to speed the transition.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND THE ENVIRONMENT
Can they co-exist? In China and globally, how do we boost rural economic development without harming the environment?

3:30 PM
NETWORKING BREAK
4:00 PM
AFTERNOON PLENARY SESSIONS

POLICY AND THE PLANET: PERSPECTIVES FROM CHINA AND USA

THE CLIMATE IMPERATIVE

THE GREAT EXTINCTION
One million plant and animal species are on the edge of extinction, putting the entire balance of the planet at risk. A recent U.N. report sounding the alarm draws a direct line to human activity. What can be done to avert the crisis?

IS GREEN THE NEW BLACK?
Chemical treatment, toxic dyes, and even the growth of raw materials conspire to make the fashion industry a minefield for sustainability. How can outfitters make environmental action fashionable? Do consumers care?

IN FOCUS: FOOD AND FARM
Sessions to include:

SUSTAINABLE LEADERSHIP: CEO INTERVIEW

THE END OF MEAT?
Meat substitutes are surging in popularity as an environmentalist backlash against meat intensifies and as the taste of meat substitutes improves. How will these new alternatives transform the way we feed the world? What are the implications for global land and water resources—and the meat industry? A discussion with the founder and chief executive of one of the world’s fastest-growing meat-substitute makers, which was founded in Silicon Valley and has high hopes for prospects in China.

FARMING FOR TOMORROW
Vertical farming, genetic engineering, precision agriculture—what are the tools that will feed a growing global population using less land, fewer resources, and all in the face of climate change?

6:00 PM
RECEPTION AND DINNER

Hosted by Government of Yunnan

9:00 PM
ADJOURN

Friday, September 6, 2019

8:30 AM
CONCURRENT SESSIONS

Choose one of four
SEEING THE FOREST
NASA satellite data shows the earth has become greener in the past two decades,
in part due to ambitious tree planting programs in China and India as well as intensive agriculture in both countries. How do we ensure the trend will continue in these lands?

CHAIN REACTION
Many companies’ environmental impact has more to do with their suppliers than with their own corporate policies. How big brands are squeezing their suppliers to get more sustainable, and how suppliers are responding.

WASTE NOT
Billions of people mean mountains of garbage. Despite recycling, these mountains are growing. What are some of the most innovative ways to dispose of the world’s refuse?

NEW CHARGE

9:30 AM
NETWORKING BREAK
10:00 AM
MORNING PLENARY SESSIONS

IN FOCUS: THE FUTURE IS ELECTRIC

Sessions to include:

BLOWING SMOKE
As the biggest coal-burning country in the world, China launched a nationwide program in 2015 to refit all coal-fired power plants with “ultra-low” emission technologies by 2020. The aim is to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides and improve air quality. How successful has it been? Is cleaner coal in the pipeline or is it a pipe dream? A reality check on the country’s attempt to change coal from dirty to clean.

NATURAL POWER
Renewable energy is plummeting in cost and surging in popularity. It’s no longer an environmental niche; now the world’s major multinationals are piling in and profiting big. Nowhere is the renewables revolution raging harder than in China; the country is the world’s biggest manufacturer and installer of wind turbines, solar panels, and ultra-high-voltage transmission lines to ferry the juice to market. How China’s renewable-energy shift is rocking the world.

INNOVATION NATION
Chinese innovation in low-carbon technologies is surging. What’s happening, who is leading it, and what does it mean for the rest of the world?

UNDER THE HOOD
Electric cars, though still a tiny slice of the global auto market, are surging as a business because of declining battery prices and juicy government support. Who, financially and geopolitically, is winning and losing from this transportation shift? What political, technological, and market potholes loom? And will electric cars really do much for the environment?

SUSTAINABLE BY DESIGN
A visionary young designer shares his unique perspective on the role of design in creating a more sustainable–and beautiful–planet.

12:15 PM
ADJOURN