The Agenda Podcast with Stephen Cole is a weekly podcast looking beyond the headlines and accepted wisdom to find the real story.Hosted by award-winning journalist and presenter Stephen Cole, the show quite simply sets the agenda. You won't find the same old talking heads recycling platitudes, instead, The Agenda Podcast brings you thought-provoking guests who debate and explore key issues in today's world.
Episode 61: The Beautiful Game
Over the next four weeks, 2 billion people are expected to tune in as Europe's top footballers battle it out to be crowned the champions of Europe. Euro 2020 is finally under way, after COVID-19 forced a 12-month delay and a major reorganization.
On this edition of The Agenda Podcast, Stephen Cole looks at the financial health of international football. Steven Zhang, Chairman of Inter Milan, discusses the challenges ahead for the club and for European football in general in the wake of the coronavirus [00:44].
Then Dan Jones, head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte, discusses where power sits in the world of football since the failure of the proposed European Super League - do club owners ignore fan power at their peril? [09:09].
Finally, Cole is joined by Laura McAllister, former Wales women's team captain and current deputy chair of UEFA's Women's Football Committee. She tells us why the future of football could be female and looks ahead to the logistical and political issues facing next year's World Cup in Qatar [16:23].
Episode 60: Costing the Earth
As governments around the world set increasingly tough environmental targets, it's becoming clear that investment from business is also going to increase. A new report from the UN Environment Programme, the World Economic Forum and the Economics of Land Degradation say that by 2030, investment in nature-based solutions are going to have to treble from the current level of $133 billion.
This week on The Agenda podcast, Stephen Cole looks at who is likely to foot the bill to reverse climate change.
Justin Adams, director of nature-based solutions at the WEF, discusses some of the key issues highlighted in the report [00:39].
With concerns over private companies' interest in such solutions rising, so is the demand for sustainability consultants. Armen Dallakyan is the director of sustainable finance consulting at KEN Associates, and he tells Stephen Cole about the growing demand for his services [10:22].
Finally, Richard Lancaster, CEO of electricity supply company CLP Holdings, explains how a company can ensure every part of its business is fully sustainable, and why managers and investors alike are finally starting to realise sustainability is no longer something which is done just for show [16:20].
Episode 59: The COVID-19 gender gap
The COVID-19 pandemic has, of course, had an extraordinary effect on all our lives. But for women, according to a new report, it's had a particularly devastating impact. The World Economic Forum's (WEF) annual Global Gender Gap Report shows the coronavirus has pushed back gender parity by an entire generation. In this episode of the Agenda podcast, Stephen Cole will look at when, if ever, we might finally reach true gender equality.
First on the podcast Cole talks to one of the people behind the WEF report, Till Leopold, who explains precisely how the report came to this rather shocking conclusion – and what can be done to address it [00:39].
According to the paper, the economic gender gap won't be closed for at least another 267 years. So why is it that in an apparently advanced society, women are still paid less than men for doing the same jobs?
To find out more Cole talks to Wanda Wyporska of The Equality Trust and Rachel Verdin, a former trade union representative and now academic at the University of Sussex Business school. They discuss some of the issues surrounding the gender pay gap and how it's been affected by COVID-19 [09:17].
Finally, Kate Maclean from the Centre for International Development at Northumbria University explains why female political leaders – such as New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – have come to the fore in this time of crisis [18:10].
Episode 58: The Road to Kunming
The world's largest biodiversity summit was due to take place in Kunming, China on March 16 but has been postponed once again due to the global pandemic.
In a year which has been dominated by COVID-19, Stephen Cole looks at the future of the world's flora and fauna and the fundamental connections between all life on Earth.
The pandemic has provided an opportunity to pause for reflection and shown that protecting nature's health is essential if we are also to protect our own.
First on the podcast Stephen talks to Executive Secretary for the UN's Convention on Biodiversity Elizabeth Maruma Mrema about how to ensure the targets for 2030 yield better results [01:30].
Next on the podcast Stephen talks to Dimitri De Boer from Client Earth in Beijing who explains the role China has to play in the biodiversity conversation as this year's host of the 15th Conference of Parties [10:11].
And finally - Stephen is joined by Frederick Kumah and Jia Qiao from the African Wildlife Foundation to understand why the continent is facing unprecedented levels of extinction despite being home to a third of the world's biodiversity [15:08].
Episode 57: Powering the future
Oil fueled the 20th century—its cars, its wars, its economy and its geopolitics. As the US returns to the Paris Climate accord and after President Biden pledged to halve carbon emissions by the end of 2030, the world is speeding up the shift to a new, greener order. But what does that really mean? Will we finally say goodbye to fossil fuels? This week, The Agenda Podcast with Stephen Cole talks to people in "power" to see what the future of energy may look like.
First on the podcast Stephen talks to Joseph McMonigle, Secretary-General of the International Energy Forum. He tells Stephen that limited fossil fuel use could continue even with net-zero emissions [00:40].
As the world looks to alternative sources of energy, oil and gas companies are facing more pressure to transition and survive. Stephen asks Ulrika Wising, Global Vice President of Customer Solutions and Renewable Energy Solutions at Shell about what they are doing to help customers to de-carbonize [07:02].
Nuclear is considered a clean energy - in relation to carbon - but many people are hesitant about nuclear power or rather nuclear power plants. Dr. Jonathan Cobb from the World Nuclear Association explains that it is an energy source that's providing an enormous benefit at the moment, supplying 10 percent of electricity without greenhouse gas emissions. [11:23].
Finally we talk to Francesco La Camera, the director general of IRENA. He explains that last year saw the biggest ever increase in renewable energy capacity[16:23].
Episode 56: Travel and Leisure
Before the pandemic, tourism was growing faster than the world's economy and traveling had never been easier. Then COVID-19 brought globetrotting to a halt and left the trillion-dollar industry in tatters.
But with rapid vaccination bringing optimism, can the sector now get back on the move? How different will the travel experience be? And which parts of the world are open for business?
First on the podcast we talk to Eduardo Santander, CEO of the European Travel Commission. He explains why his organization is optimistic about the European summer and why it could be make or break for the travel industry [00:36].
Next we talk to Angela Gerekou, president of the Greek National Tourism Organization. She tells Stephen Cole how every effort is being made to prepare and how she wants the country to be a global center of sustainable tourism by 2030 [06:50].
Another restless sector is the hotel industry. Travel restrictions wiped out more than $138bn in turnover, ending a decade of growth. Rocco Forte, chairman of the luxury chain Rocco Forte Hotels, explains how he plans to battle the ‘Zoom boom’ and bring back leisure and corporate customers [13:08].
The airline industry has far from escaped the turbulent times of the past 16 months, losing $126 billion in 2020, with a further $47 billion loss expected this year. Despite this, Bjorn Tore Larsen has founded a new airline, Norse Atlantic Airways, and explains why he's pinning his hopes and money on a great travel take-off by the end of 2021 [18:25].