Climate Change, International Cooperation and Business – What is the Path Forward?
March 4, 2021
On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order to have the U.S. rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement of 2015. President Biden also announced that he will reconvene the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, and in cooperation with members and other partners, pursue initiatives to advance the clean energy transition and sectoral decarbonization. He has set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. This will require steeper emissions cuts than the U.S. has ever achieved. As climate change intensiﬁes, it will become increasingly important to pursue all elements of an integrated climate response. In the U.S. and throughout the world, business leaders will play a crucial role to confront climate change and be required to identify opportunities for cleaner, more sustainable processes as disclosures on carbon emissions and other climate-related practices become increasingly important to customers, investors, regulators and the public at large. Under the general heading of how the U.S. can reassert a leadership role in developing programs to deal effectively with climate change there are a host of questions, including: What type of vehicles are suitable for effective collaborative action for dealing with climate change? Do we need large international agreements or can we achieve more through smaller ad hoc collaborations? Does the history of U.S. ambivalence on climate change, especially given its recent history and current volatile political environment, render it an unreliable partner and unsuitable for a leadership role? The Major Economies Forum has been used by Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush and did not achieve lasting results. Will it be different this time? What role can and should businesses play to help achieve these ambitious goals and drive our nation and the world toward a clean energy future?
The UCLA Anderson Center for Global Management and UCLA School of Law’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy hosted the winter global business policy, the second forum of the year, in a virtual presentation and interactive discussion format. Edward A. Parson, Dan and Rae Emmett Professor of Environmental Law and faculty co-director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment joined Charles Corbett, IBM Chair in Management, Professor of Operations Management and Sustainability to discuss the challenges ahead for the U.S. and the world in forging solutions to address the central issue of our time - the impact of fossil fuel related emissions on human economic activity and wellbeing, including the role that businesses may take to meet the ambitious goals to stave off this existential threat. Students from Anderson’s full-time, fully employed and executive MBA programs met and networked with JD and LLM students from the UCLA School of Law. In small groups, students discussed two hypotheticals and considered what top-level strategic principles or priorities should guide US climate action in international arenas? Should the U.S. mainly focus its efforts on working through the existing UN process (the Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Paris Agreement), or should it instead (or in addition) aim to empower some other forum for international action. Students also considered practical and legal challenges associated border carbon adjustments and opined on how they should (not) be designed. Groups then reconvened and shared their thoughts and deliberations on these difficult and complex issues. The Global Business and Policy Forum is a collaborative partnership between UCLA Anderson’s Center for Global Management and the UCLA School of Law's Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy.
Contract Law and the Challenge of COVID-19: A Global Perspective
November 2, 2020
The rules governing the formation, interpretation, and enforcement of contracts are generally well-settled in the U.S. and in many other jurisdictions that depend upon international commerce. However, like almost everything else, COVID-19 disrupted the rules and posed new challenges for parties trying to allocate risks and realize benefits through contracts. Although legal doctrines of force majeure, frustration and impracticability are well-established in doctrine, their applications in a specific context, such as Covid-19, are often uncertain. The UCLA Anderson Center for Global Management and UCLA School of Law’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy hosted their inaugural global and business policy forum of the academic year in a virtual interactive discussion format. Gonzalo Freixes, associate dean and adjunct professor of accounting, law and international business and Tim Malloy, professor of law and the Frank G. Wells Endowed Chair in Environmental Law addressed the business and legal issues facing parties to contracts in which COVID-19 has possibly affected the parties’ performance under the contract. They examined how different jurisdictions globally approach the problem and provided guidance on how contracting parties can try to protect the benefits of a contract or excuse performance in the face of a global pandemic. During his discussion that provided a more global perspective on force majeure and risk allocation, Freixes shared insights and reviewed French Law as well as specific measures taken by countries such as Singapore and Germany. Full-time, fully employed and executive MBA students met and networked with JD and LLM students from the UCLA School of Law. In small groups, students discussed two hypotheticals to review force majeure clauses in contracts and returned to the main session to share their thoughts and deliberations on the discussion questions. Joel Feuer, executive director for the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy and a professor from practice facilitated the student discussions. Gonzalo Freixes is a professor in the accounting area and serves as associate dean for the fully employed and executive MBA programs. He has been a practicing lawyer for over 40 years. In addition to his administrative duties, Freixes teaches business law, international business law, business ethics, corporate and individual taxation, and real estate law and taxation in the MBA program and in the undergraduate accounting minor. He has lectured in numerous countries in Europe, Latin America and Asia on international business and tax subjects as well as on corporate governance, business ethics, international business law and trial advocacy. Tim Malloy joined the UCLA Law faculty in 1998, after spending a combined 11 years in practice at private firms and at the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region III. He teaches contracts, environmental aspects of business transactions, regulatory lawyering, regulation of the business firm, environmental policy and politics. His research interests focus on environmental, chemical and nanotechnology policy, regulatory policy, and organizational theory and decision analysis, with particular emphasis on the relationship between regulatory design and implementation and the structure of business organizations. The Global Business and Policy Forum is a collaborative partnership between UCLA Anderson’s Center for Global Management and the UCLA School of Law's Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy.
Wealth Taxes: Good Idea or False Promise?
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have both proposed ambitious wealth taxes as part of a plan to reduce inequality in the United States. These taxes will take from the very rich and use the revenue to support government programs for those at the bottom and middle of the income distribution. While the U.S. is considering adopting wealth taxes, most of the rest of the world have repealed them. The UCLA Anderson Center for Global Management and UCLA School of Law’s Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy hosted its second global business and policy forum of the academic year with Eric Zolt, Michael H. Schill Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus. Zolt provided an examination of the arguments for and against a wealth tax, the likely revenue and economic consequences, and the administrative challenges of taxing the very wealthy. Following an extremely informative presentation on this very timely topic, Joel Feuer, executive director for the Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy and a professor from practice moderated a conversation with students from both schools. Over dinner, there were many interactive table conversations where specific questions were discussed among students, including: Should the U.S. adopt a wealth tax? Is the wealth tax the best way to tax the uber-wealthy? Students were also asked to comment on if the goal is to reduce income and wealth inequality, which would be more effective: to impose wealth taxes and use proceeds for social spending programs or adopt less progressive (or regressive) taxes and use proceeds to fund even larger social programs? Eric M. Zolt is the Michael H. Schill Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at the UCLA School of Law. He specializes in individual, corporate, and international tax law. Working with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, U.S. AID and the U.S. Treasury Department, Zolt has served as a consultant on tax policy matters in over 30 countries. The discussion which was held in the Grand Salon of the new Marion Anderson Hall engaged around 80 students and faculty from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA School of Law. The Global Business and Policy Forum is a collaborative partnership between UCLA Anderson’s Center for Global Management and the UCLA School of Law's Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy.
BREXIT: The Future of the City of London and Implications for the Global Economy
Great Britain is in crisis. Its government is divided over the nation’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU), known as Brexit, and has been unable to agree on an approach to the country’s biggest peacetime decision in decades. A fervent proponent of withdrawal, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson suspended parliament and critics have accused the Conservative leader of using the five-week suspension to avoid democratic scrutiny as he bids to deliver his pledge to bring the United Kingdom out of the European Union by October 31, with or without a deal. What ultimately emerges could determine the shape of Britain and its place in the world for decades. The Fed has explicitly mentioned Brexit uncertainty as one potential factor weighing on the U.S. outlook and a no-deal Brexit could cause a period of volatility in global financial markets. How did the UK get to this point? What is the future facing London, the UK and the EU? If the pound falls sharply in response to no-deal, what are the implications for the U.S., the U.K.’s largest single-country trading partner. The UCLA Anderson Center for Global Management and UCLA School of Law's Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy hosted its inaugural global business and policy forum of the academic year.
CGM founding board member, Toby Raymond (’86), managing director, Access Equity Management Ltd. who relocated to London in 1992 and has since worked in London’s global financial markets addressed these questions and more to provide insights and perspectives on the future of Europe and what Brexit means for the United States and the world. He provided an overview on the trajectory and timeline of EU treaties and events in Europe, including expansion of the EU in 2004, the global financial crisis in 2008 and the Greek sovereign debt crisis in 2011. He addressed EU-UK interactions, including the referendum to join the EEC in 1974 and the Maastricht treaty in 1992. Raymond also discussed pertinent events in the UK, such as the economic crisis in 1976, the big bang and deregulation of UK financial markets in 1986, the Good Friday Agreement in 1999 and then the UKIP, EU referendum in 2016. Then, during a moderated conversation with Sebastian Edwards, Henry Ford II Chair in International Management, Raymond touched on some of the key issues for Brexit and the EU, including voter grievances, the customs union, immigration and freedom of movement, sovereignty and political independence as well as the dissatisfaction with the EU bureaucracy. Over dinner, there were many interactive table conversations where specific questions were discussed among the students, including: What will the financial services industry looks like five years from now – in the UK and globally? How are the regulatory and political constraints impacting the financial services industry and what will be the impact of technology? Students were also asked to comment on how the issues and contexts that have emerged in the UK during the Brexit referendum and process are being reflected around the world and whether this is specific to the UK or similar in other countries? The discussion engaged 90 students and faculty from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA School of Law. The Global Business and Policy Forum is a collaborative partnership between UCLA Anderson’s Center for Global Management and the UCLA School of Law's Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy.
Artificial Intelligence: Key Opportunities and Challenges
Artificial intelligence will have a transformative societal impact in the coming years. While there is plenty that AI cannot do, it is perhaps the only technology in recent memory that, despite all the hype, will actually turn out to have been underhyped once its impacts are fully appreciated. The UCLA Anderson Center for Global Management and UCLA School of Law's Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy hosted John Villasenor, UCLA professor of public policy and management and member of the World Economic Forum's Global Agenda Council on Cybersecurity for a very engaging discussion on what AI actually is, why it has become such a focus of attention and investment, and the resulting opportunities and challenges in relation to ethics, geopolitics, the labor market, combating bias, and regulation. During his presentation, Villasenor also addressed the intersection of technology, policy, law and business and broader impacts of key technology trends. Villasenor is a professor of electrical engineering, public policy, and management, and a visiting professor of law. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford. His work considers the broader impacts of key technology trends, including advances in digital communications, the increasing complexity of today's networks and systems, and the growth of AI. Over dinner, there were many interactive table conversations where specific questions were discussed among the students, including whether it is acceptable to use AI-based systems to make sentencing or parole recommendations? Relatedly, whether people impacted by those decisions have the right to know the details of the underlying algorithms? Students were also asked to comment on the best way to maximize the likelihood that, when faced with decisions with ethical implications, AI systems will make the "right" choice? While some people believe that new AI regulation is necessary. Others argue that new AI regulation would have few benefits and would also stifle innovation. Students were asked to discuss their thoughts on his too. The discussion engaged around 70 students and faculty from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and the UCLA School of Law. The Global Business and Policy Forum is a collaborative partnership between UCLA Anderson's Center for Global Management and the UCLA School of Law's Lowell Milken Institute for Business Law and Policy.