Past 2021 events

March 17 Webinar: Navigating the Transition to Energy’s New World Order

In ‘Navigating the Transition to Energy’s New World Order,’ our Energy Conference, Dr. Fariborz Ghadar spoke with Samer Al Hokail, President and CEO of Saudi Petroleum International Inc., and Sarah Ladislaw, Senior VP and Director and Senior Fellow of the Energy Security and Climate Change Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. They discussed the response of the oil and natural gas industry to contemporary calls for more renewable forms of energy, including wind, solar and lithium-ion batteries. Key drivers of this energy transition include an increasing penetration of renewable energy into the energy supply mix, the onset of electrification and improvements in energy storage. But despite the mounting importance of the energy transition and an increasing awareness among investors about environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, regulation and commitment to decarbonization has been mixed. This raises the questions: What is the role of oil and natural gas companies during this transition period? What challenges must they navigate? How will they change their strategies, and what will be the future environment?

In response, Mr. Hokail remarked on Saudi Aramco’s efforts in the direction of global decarbonization. The corporate is a Founding Member of Oil & Gas Climate Initiative and a member of the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Commitment Association (IPIECA), as part of their goal to achieve zero routine flaring by 2030, apart from general progress in their low-carbon initiatives. Ms. Ladislaw concurred in recognizing the different approaches of companies across the board, noting that it is hard to view the industry as a monolith. While some companies have tried to be good stewards of the environment over the years, many have not. The Conference highlighted the role of Electric Vehicles (EVs) in this transition. Mr. Hokail confirmed Saudi Aramco’s interest in this sector, while reiterating the strong demand for petroleum in the near future as EVs are projected to make up only 3 to 4 percent of vehicles until 2025. He also recommended a more holistic well-to-wheel approach of analyzing the overall impact of the EV industry as a greener alternative that in fact curbs emissions. Ultimately, as Ms. Ladislaw remarked, companies in the oil and natural gas industry face the challenge of realistically balancing a transition into clean energy and gaining confidence among their investors that this could be a profitable decision.

January 29 Webinar: Corporate Strategy in a Multipolar World

A recording of the webinar is available here.

The Center hosted a webinar to discuss the future of international business and its implications for multinational companies as they compete in a multipolar world. The session was hosted by Dr. Fariborz Ghadar, Director of the Center for Global Business Studies and moderated by Mr. Robert Joyce, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Kemper Corporation. Our Featured Speaker was Mr. Richard Vose, Management Consultant and the Panel Members included Dr. Terrence Guay, Clinical Professor of International Business and Research Director - Center for Global Business Studies at the Smeal College of Business, Mr. Erik Peterson, Managing Director of the Global Business Policy Council at A.T. Kearney and Mr. Robert Svensk, CEO of Trade Credit Underwriters. This webinar was the third in a series of webinars exploring the evolution of trends in corporate strategy. Mr. Richard Vose analyzed disruptive forces at the geopolitical, political, economic and societal level to reveal their convergence that creates turbulence in the international order. Further, we explored the U.S.-China rivalry reminiscent of a ‘Thucydides’ Trap’ as Mr. Vose examined China’s growing power and rejection of the U.S.-led order – economically, ideologically and in terms of defense – an added layer of complexity on top of the underlying currents discussed previously. Mr. Vose also pointed out the recent trend of the logic of globalization that drove economic opportunities in the 20th century being called into question, reflecting that the world is no longer as interested in growing the overall size of the “pie”, as it is in their own relative gains. He concluded the presentation by presenting his series of recommendations for multinational firms, their managers and executives. The discussion then opened up to the Panel Members and attendees. Panel Members engaged our Featured Speaker to analyze relevant points, including what the U.S.-China rivalry meant for other regions and countries of the world, China’s prospects at succeeding in its transition to the “next economy”, what the rise of the latter country could mean for less-developed democratic countries that may succumb to China’s economic prowess, and more.