Three Questions to Dr. Heraeus
Why does the G20 matter for business?
Together, G20 members generate around 85 percent of global gross domestic product. In addition, they account for more than three quarters of world trade. As a consequence, this cooperation offers the outstanding opportunity to shape global economic governance. Our global economy is changing rapidly. We are facing a multitude of risks: climate change, political conflicts, terrorism to name just a few. The decisions the G20 take are not legally binding. They are not international law. The G20 is not an organization such as the World Trade Organization or the International Monetary Fund. However, it can serve as agenda setter. It has proven repeatedly that it can provide important impetus. It can build trust between our governments and ensures international cooperation.
What is your vision for the B20 and what is your role as B20 President?
As B20 President my principal role is to represent the positions of the B20 during Germany’s G20 presidency. The B20 is one of the official engagement groups of the G20. Our job is to assist the head of states in setting the framework for future-oriented, sustainable economic growth. The B20 is member-driven. We agree on our positions by consensus. Over the coming year, hundreds of companies – big and small ones – and business associations will work together in taskforces and working groups on a wide range of issues. Representing all regions of the world and all business sectors, I am proud to say that we can provide the necessary expertise to find answers for today’s global economic challenges. I am honored and humbled to be chosen to steer this process.
B20 Germany introduces several new issues, including resource efficiency. What will be the top priorities for the German B20?
The B20 is an established process. It has proven its relevance over the years. Our predecessors have done a marvelous job. We will therefore continue working on many issues which have been dealt with before: trade and investment, financing growth and infrastructure, employment and education, as well as small medium enterprises. However, it is also high time that we deal with new issues. One of our top priorities will be digitalization. The fourth industrial revolution is changing the way we produce, we trade, and how we work. To fully harvest the fruits of digitalization, we need to adapt global rules, for example on digital trade. Another priority will be climate change, energy, and resource efficiency. The earth’s resources are exploited in a manner never seen in history before. A practical solution to the planets resource problems is the circular economy. While many countries have already embraced this concept, we need to think globally, not just nationally or regionally.
Resilience, responsibility, responsiveness – if we want to ensure future-oriented, sustainable economic growth, business has an important role to play. We are ready to do so. And I am looking forward to a productive B20 Germany.