Given the interruption caused to businesses by the social distancing measures and the closure of non-essential business premises, business owners and decision makers are having to…
Cornwall certainly did not disappoint as the perfect backdrop to the G7 summit, writes Richard Wadman. Having blogged about my hopes for the event, I thought I would follow up with my personal reflections on the gathering of world leaders at Carbis Bay and its ultimate legacy.
And since the organisers were determined to showcase the best of British (and Cornish), I’ve taken inspiration from Shakespeare.
- “Our revels now are ended…”
Air Force One has departed Newquay Airport, the media circus has packed up and gone home and life is returning to normal for those of us who live and work in Cornwall. It’s been pretty exciting to witness the spectacle during our week in the spotlight, but in terms of the global impact of the talks between the G7 leaders, will the summit prove to have been more than an insubstantial pageant?
Diplomacy is back. pic.twitter.com/27D316PAqB
— President Biden (@POTUS) June 11, 2021
- “This sceptered isle, This earth of majesty, …This other Eden, demi-paradise, This fortress built by Nature for herself”
Cornwall could not have looked more stunning as we basked in sunshine over the weekend. What a perfect backdrop to a summit that many of us hoped would have climate change, nature and biodiversity at its heart.
The summit certainly reinforced Cornwall’s strong position as a tourist destination and showcased some of the leading food and drink businesses and cultural highlights the county has to offer – not least the Eden Project, where the Queen and other members of the royal family hosted the G7 leaders for dinner on Friday.
🇬🇧 🇨🇦 🇫🇷 🇩🇪 🇮🇹 🇯🇵 🇺🇸 🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/MjcpdTkFIr
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) June 11, 2021
PODCAST: Eden Project CEO Dave Harland speaks about sustainability and going global in the latest episode of Business Noodles & Doodles.
- “To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”
One of the positives for me was the integrity of the “activists” who used the fact that the world’s attention was on Cornwall to shine a light on the pressing issues of our time – here I include Surfers Against Sewage and Extinction Rebellion but also Crowdfunder and Cornwall Chamber, who organised events that focused on sustainability.
Likewise, credit to Screen Cornwall for ‘Behind the Postcard’ (mentioned here as it touches on social inclusion in Cornwall – an issue which needs to be addressed – as well as showcasing the vibrant creative sector) and to artist Joe Rush and the commissioners of Mount Recyclemore – so impressive I visited it twice.
- “We know what we are, but know not what we may be.”
Another big positive for me was the way in which the Cornish business sector showcased itself – to show the world that Cornwall is much more than just a holiday destination.
It’s a place where traditional businesses exist alongside a burgeoning number representing and clustering around a range of sectors in which we can lead the way, including space, marine, agri-tech, digital, e-health and renewables.
Credit here to, among others, Cornwall Development, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, Cornwall Marine Network and Cornwall Chamber for initiatives such as Cornwall House.
- “Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?”
The World Health Organization, Oxfam, Greenpeace and others have criticised the communique agreed by the G7 for not going far enough in addressing the unequal access to vaccines or the climate emergency. I know there was some progress on the global vaccination front but personally I was hoping for something more radical here, and on the subject of climate change and nature loss I wanted more than rhetoric.
However, let’s not forget the G7 has made progress towards a global tax agreement to tackle profit shifting by multinational corporations – which my colleague Stuart Rogers has helpfully summarised here: G7 tax agreement – what has been agreed and what does it mean?
- “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
It’s hard not to feel this will be the conclusion of future generations when “protect our planet” ranks only fourth in the G7 communique.
Especially when they had Sir David Attenborough address them and spell out the importance of finding a “global will” to act and the UN Secretary General warning of “climate abyss” and the choice of a brown or green recovery.
Yes, we have seen some announcements. I am not convinced these are commensurate with the issues we face, but you can judge for yourselves:
- New G7 action to keep people safer from climate disasters
- Government sets out commitments to biodiversity and sustainability in G7 Nature Compact
Many of us will be hoping for more coordinated action when Glasgow hosts the COP26 climate change conference in November.
- “Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon ’em”
I note the COP26 President-Designate Alok Sharma has spoken on the vital need for businesses to sign up to ambitious climate plans “because to tackle the climate crisis, and reach net zero, we need the innovation, the influence and the energy of the private sector on our side.”
I hope that this is an area where Cornwall and Cornish businesses can again take a lead and, buoyed by the successes of hosting the G7, the county can become an exemplar in the Green Industrial Revolution. This was certainly the view I was left with following our recent webinar on ‘The Nature of Business and the Business of Nature’ – which you can watch here.
Beautiful and powerful program for G7 spouses today at the @MinackTheatre. Thank you to Carrie Johnson and all those who helped put it together—especially all the local children who performed for us! pic.twitter.com/uiveFdHOR4
— Jill Biden (@FLOTUS) June 12, 2021
PKF Francis Clark
I am proud to live and work in Cornwall – trust me, it is a great place to live and work – and that pride has been boosted by the county’s hosting of the G7.
I am also proud to work for a firm that acts for a number of businesses that featured as part of G7 Cornwall, be they producers of food and drink served to the delegates, businesses featuring in videos showing the dynamic business sector in the county or the aforementioned Eden Project hosting a G7 meeting with the Queen.
I am also proud to work for a firm that recognises and engages with “sustainability”, including by hosting webinars to disseminate information and share inspiration – the most recent of which was ‘Nature of Business… Business of Nature’, with more to follow.
And I am certainly looking forward to the firm playing its part, across the South/South West and beyond, in the Green Industrial Revolution.