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High-powered APEC CEO Summit will connect New Zealand businesses with the world – one month to go


12 October 2021

OPINION: APEC only comes to New Zealand once every 21 years, and with it comes one of the most high-powered business events ever hosted in New Zealand, the APEC CEO Summit 2021.

On November 11 and 12, Auckland’s Aotea Centre will stage the CEO Summit which, for the first time ever, will be a fully virtual event, engaging and connecting speakers, leaders and delegates in New Zealand, the Asia Pacific region and globally.

It’s going to be a world class production using innovative broadcast technology, satellite events and an impressive, interactive set and staging to produce an “as-live” experience for thousands of attendees across 21 APEC economies, and beyond.

Coverage of the Summit is being supported by our global media partners Time Magazine and CNBC.

There are five central themes which will be the focus of discussion at the CEO Summit this year. They are:

  • The state of the world with and post Covid. Economic recovery, trade and protectionism.
  • The Digital Disruption Opportunity -digital transformation, technology and innovation – the Summit will tap into the best of current global knowledge and insights on this subject.
  • The Primacy of Trust: how businesses can strengthen trust and be seen as a force for good in the communities in which they operate.
  • The Future of Energy: clean technology, renewable energy, and energy transition including hydrogen.
  • The Sustainability Imperative: sustainable growth, climate change, food sustainability and provenance.

Keynote speakers confirmed so far include internationally acclaimed human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, public relations trailblazer Richard Edelman, social psychologist and best-selling author Professor Jonathan Haidt, environmental champion Dr David Suzuki, digital media leader and expert Amber Mac and entrepreneurial business leader Tony Fernandes. Alongside these speakers are a number of APEC leaders who have been invited to present.

Among the questions the Summit speakers and panellists will be addressing are:

  • Can business become a force for good in the future?
  • Are businesses putting human rights at the core of the business decisions they make?
  • What part will digital innovation play in continuing to shape business?
  • What can we learn from economies around the world about a pathway forward for business in a Covid world, especially as it tries to reconnect?

When I see this unparalleled list of speakers who are participating, I know we are destined for a remarkable, thought-provoking Summit and one not to be missed. More speakers will be announced in the next couple of weeks.

Alongside the keynote addresses will be a series of panel discussions. Over 20 panellists will be participating. Their expertise covers trade, energy, trust in business, economics, technological innovation, global monetary policy, banking and the Māori economy.

Each panel will feature an international and a New Zealand perspective.

Given the many challenges that businesses in New Zealand and around the APEC economies are facing, it would be easy to dismiss this opportunity and focus on the day-to-day issues.

But given the critical need for international connections, trade pathways, and digital technology to revive and repair some of the COVID-damaged parts of our economies and our trading networks, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for New Zealand businesses, organisations and individuals to hear from the world’s leading thinkers and be part of these important conversations.

Delivering a Summit that impacts positively on the challenges we all face requires strong input from the broader New Zealand business community. To this end, it’s a pleasure to have the support of five APEC CEO Summit Premier Partners. They are PwC, Contact Energy, Fonterra, Microsoft and Westpac NZ.

I’m very grateful to our sponsors. Each of these partners has contributed significant knowledge, experience and support to help us build a truly world class agenda and event.

The APEC CEO Summit is a great opportunity for New Zealand to showcase how adaptable we are and for businesses to connect, and thought and political leaders across the Asia Pacific region to join with delegates from all of the APEC economies.

If you are interested in being part of the APEC CEO Summit 2021 you can register through the website.

Barbara Chapman

APEC CEO Summit 2021 Chair