Page 32 - London Business Matters May 2020
P. 32

 32 Your business   May 2020 WInsights into global mobility ith global travel almost at and stringent coronavirus lockdown us who have perhaps taken them for Visa waivers a standstill, the latest re- regulations imposed by governments granted in the past.” This is supported by emerging re- sults of the Henley Pass- worldwide. With 3.5 billion people, Commenting on the latest Hen- search and analysis commissioned port Index offer disturbing insight into the indiscriminate havoc caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Since its inception in 2006, the index has provided the authoritative annual ranking of global passport strength. Travel freedom has increased dra- matically over the period in 2006, a citizen could travel to 58 destina- tions on average without a visa from the host nation; 14 years later, this number has almost doubled to 107. The first ranking of the new decade published in January this year con- clusively confirmed that overall, peo- ple were the most globally mobile than we had ever been in the history of humankind, with the top-ranking passport (Japan) offering its holders access to a record-breaking 191 des- tinations without requiring a visa in advance. Just three months later, the picture looks very different indeed. Stringent Japan’s passport continues to hold the top spot on the index but the reality is that current stringent travel restric- tions mean that most non-essential travel for Japanese nationals is heav- ily curtailed. This is true for almost every country of course, as more travel bans have been implemented, nearly half the global population, liv- ing in voluntary or mandatory con- finement, the latest results from the index – which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Trans- port Association – raise challenging questions about what travel freedom and global mobility really mean, both currently and in a deeply uncertain post-pandemic future. Dr. Christian H. Kaelin, chairman of Henley & Partners and the inventor of the passport index concept, points out that in an unprecedented global health emergency such as this, relative passport strength becomes temporar- ily meaningless. “A Swiss citizen can, in theory, travel to 185 destinations around the world without needing a visa in advance, but the last few weeks have made it apparent that travel freedom is contingent on factors that occasionally can be utterly beyond our control. This is something that citizens of countries with weak pass- ports in the lower ranks of the index are all too familiar with. As public health concerns and security rightful- ly take precedence over all else now, even within the otherwise borderless EU, this is an opportunity to reflect on what freedom of movement and citi- zenship essentially mean for those of ley Passport Index, bestselling au- thor and the founder and managing partner of FutureMap, Dr. Parag Khanna, says the combined effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on pub- lic health, the global economy, and social behavior could lead to much deeper shifts in our human geogra- phy and future distribution around the world. “This may seem ironic given today’s widespread border closures and standstill in global transportation, but as the curtain lifts, people will seek to move from poorly governed and ill-prepared ‘red zones’ to ‘green zones’ or places with better medical care. Alterna- tively, people may relocate to plac- es where involuntary quarantine, whenever it strikes next, is less tor- turous. In the US, both domestic and international migration were surging before the pandemic, with Gen-Xers and millennials shifting to cheaper, second-tier cities in the Sun Belt or abroad to Latin America and Asia in search of an affordable life. Once quarantines lift and air- line prices stand at rock bottom, expect more people across the globe to gather their belongings and buy one-way tickets to countries af- fordable enough to start fresh.” by Henley & Partners, which suggests that despite freedom of movement currently being restricted as a tem- porary measure, there is a risk that this will negatively affect internation- al mobility in the long run. Political science researchers Uğur Altundal and Ömer Zarpli of Syracuse Uni- versity and the University of Pitts- burgh, respectively, note that public health concerns have historically been used to justify restricting mobility, but governments usually adopt travel restrictions temporarily, in response to short-term health needs. Until now, health security has not been a significant determinant or require- ment when negotiating visa waivers, but Altundal and Zarpli warn that “increasing public health concerns due to the outbreak of Covid-19 may change this the quality and level of health security of a country could be a significant consideration for visa waivers in future”. The unprecedented and overwhelming focus on health se- curity and pandemic preparedness we now see may change the face of global mobility forever. Prof. Simone Bertoli at CERDI, Université Clermont Auvergne in France, says that the necessity of in- ternational collaboration in fighting Carbon neutral v carbon negative:     By Valpy Fitzgerald As the conversation around sustainability develops past the point of the hypothetical, we now find ourselves at a decisive moment for the future of our planet. The government has legislated to become carbon neutral by 2050, and has already begun working on poli- cies that will enable that to happen – such as the proposed ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles. At the same time, businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the need to act now to reduce their to- tal carbon output. According to the Carbon Trust, companies with few- er than 250 employees account for almost 20 per cent of the UK’s total carbon emissions – meaning that their role in the fight against climate change is a vital one. But how, in a world full of con- flicting advice and misinformation, do small and medium business owners know where to turn to when setting their own sustainability tar- gets? With so many sustainability terms being used, it can be hard to know what’s relevant and what’s not. So, I’ve broken down the jargon around some of the most commonly used terms, and shared some ad- vice on how businesses can become more ambitious in their sustainabil- ity targets. Carbon neutral To achieve carbon neutrality means that your carbon emissions - that is, the carbon emitted by your day-to- day operations, such as manufactur- ing, travelling and so on - are effec- tively cancelled out. This is achieved by balancing your carbon emissions with techniques such as carbon offsetting – which involves calculating your carbon emissions and investing in schemes which are certified as removing a certain amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Depending on the partner you choose to work with, the schemes will vary, but tree planting is a common one. This is because trees naturally absorb car- bon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to reduce the volume of  

   30   31   32   33   34