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First Move with Julia Chatterley
International Evacuation Operations Underway in Sudan; G7 Urges Extension, of Black Sea Grain Deal; Philanthropist Howard Buffett to Double Ukraine Giving; Customers Faced Harassment and Attacks by Local Officials; Renew Focuses on Global Energy Solutions; Bed Bath and Beyond Faces Liquidation after Chapter 11. Aired 9-10a ET
Aired April 24, 2023 - 09:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNNI HOST: A Warm welcome to "First Move", fantastic to have you with us as always in today's show coming to you live from London
just ahead on the program Desperate Hours governments from around the world evacuating citizens from Sudan for a second straight day.
More than 1000 EU nationals have been flown out already. Dozens of U.S. diplomats evacuated too amid fears that Sudan is sliding further into all
out Civil War. Also contentious powers disbelief, I think at the U.N. is Russia chairs a meeting of the Security Council the same body that has seen
members condemn the illegal invasion of Ukraine.
Ukraine for its part, calling it a mockery of the U.N. system all this as the world awaits the start of Ukraine's long awaited spring offensive. And
later on in the program, we'll speak to Howard Buffett, the son of famed investor Warren Buffett, whose foundation has pledged at $300 million in
humanitarian aid to Ukraine this year.
And Buffett's commitment and support to Ukraine has been immeasurable, helping Kyiv, cope with its food, energy and health emergencies and more.
Buffett says the motivation for his missions comes from his father, who taught him "always push outside your comfort zone" and from comfort zone to
the flat zone.
U.S. futures little changed as you can see ahead of key tech earnings, and a closely watched GDP report later on this week. Europe as you can see
mostly flat to tilted to the downside is major banks here begin reporting results. Also Credit Suisse rescued by one-time competitor UBS last month
saying customers withdrew some $75 billion worth of deposits in the first three months of this year.
And the company is still suffering from customer outflows even today. UBS also now saying the full merger of both banks will take up to four years to
complete also in Europe LVMH Investors sitting in the lap of luxury the French luxury goods maker becoming the first European firm to reach a
market cap of $500 billion equivalent.
A busy show as always, but we do begin with the latest from Sudan where desperate rescue missions continue underway governments from around the
world scrambling to get their citizens out of the country, as brutal fighting between two rival generals enters its 10th day.
This new video shows the Dutch Military evacuating its nationals. And here you can see people boarding Spain's Military plane. Stephanie Busari joins
us now with more. Stephanie, good to have you, multiple operations clearly carried out to evacuate both citizens and diplomats. Do we have any sense
of how many people now have been evacuated and how many remain that are still hoping to get away?
STEPHANIE BUSARI, CNN SENIOR EDITOR AT AFRICA: So, Julia, these evacuations are happening in a very volatile situation and against the backdrop of
shelling. We heard of a Turkish hospital just in the last hour that was hit by in a bombardment that happened earlier today and 50 people have died. So
it's an unclear picture right now these evacuations.
We know that, in the last hour, South Africa and Uganda have announced that they evacuated about 300 citizens and countries such as the U.K., U.S.,
Japan and Canada. So it's in the hundreds of people but thousands, hundreds of thousands still stuck, and more importantly, Sudanese citizens who are
feeling increasingly abandoned as countries scramble to get their citizens out.
They are asking who will come for us and many are taking to private bus hires to make a very tricky perilous journey to neighboring countries such
as Egypt. And these journeys are days long, about 1000 kilometers from Sudan to as one in Egypt, where many are headed. And again, many people
can't afford to leave the country.
Sudan is one of the poorest countries in the world and before this crisis; there was already a looming humanitarian crisis so all of these things are
really painting a very dire and desperate picture in the country.
And the International Red Cross is saying that they are looking for ways to get into the country, to get much needed medical supplies and food and
water which are dwindling into the country. So it's a very, very volatile situation and unclear picture out there in a country, Julia.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, evacuation of it's certainly, I'm sure will continue, but to your point as well humanitarian aid for those that remain vitally
important too. Stephanie Busari for now, thank you so much for that!
President Putin's top diplomat in New York Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is set to chair a U.N. Security Council meeting in around an hour's
time and later he is expected to meet with the U.N. Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez to discuss the fate of the Black Sea grain deal. Richard
Roth joins us now.
Richard, good to have you! Russia, of course has taken over the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council tough to know, for other nations
how to handle this. Ignore Russia allows them to spread their version of events, but debating with them also raises their profile too. It's a
difficult one. What do we expect?
RICHARD ROTH, CNN SENIOR U.N. CORRESPONDENT: Yes, for those who hate the U.N., this is the field day when the Russians chair the Security Council
meeting on Ukraine. Russia has been the President of the Security Council since April 1 for the whole month. So this is going to be a totally
But there will be a lot of barbs, insults, critiques by many members of the U.N. Security Council against Russia, but everybody will have their chance
to speak. I think this is almost like meeting 60 on Ukraine, maybe even more since the conflict broke out.
Expect it to be in the Security Council audience is Elizabeth Whelan, the sister of Paul Whelan, who has been jailed illegally in Russia. She will
probably make any attempt to speak with Lavrov about her brother. So that's what we're going to have at the U.N. today.
The Secretary General of the U.N. will talk with the Russian Foreign Minister about the Black Sea grain deal, a lot of angles to the story.
They're all in New York at the moment but despite all the talking at the Security Council, let's not ending the fighting.
CHATTERLEY: Now and what about the presence of Russian journalists to cover this too. Lavrov himself made some pointed comments on this. A country that
calls itself the strongest, smartest, freest and fairest chickened out? He was complaining about a lack of visas for Russian journalists, I believe.
ROTH: Well, this happens every time especially with Russia now and a war and a Wall Street Journal reporter being held the U.S. was never going to
try to get these pastors in. I don't know how many journalists were traveling with Mr. Lavrov. But at the moment, they're not here; Lavrov
chairs the Security Council meeting on the Middle East tomorrow. There's still some time unlikely we'll see them.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I think the message there is for the Foreign Minister to look at what's going on at home rather than criticizing the United States.
Richard Roth, thank you so much for your input there. We look forward to that. CNN will bring Lavrov's meeting with Gutierrez live when it takes
place later today.
In the meantime, Russia's oil and refined products is still finding ways to buyers around the world with the help of so called Grey Fleet of tankers.
Data and satellite imagery has revealed a record amount of it changing hands at sea and ship to ship cargo transfers. Clare Sebastian joins us
now. Clare, what more have you found and what kind of quantity are we talking about?
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so Julia, this Grey Fleet as its being called, not necessarily does anything illegal because as you know,
the sanctions on Russian energy the EU embargo, the G7 price cap, they are structured in such a way to keep Russian oil flowing onto the market.
So that of course the rest of us don't experience more inflation than we already have. But what that is leading to these new ships moving in,
changing ownership. This is what the Grey Fleet is and with that is coming new shipping patterns, new routes, new customers, and new risks. Take a
SEBASTIAN (voice over): This calm blue sea of southern Greece now a new hub for Russia's oil trade taken in mid-March. This satellite image shows oil
tankers arranged in pairs. Experts say most of them involved in a cargo transfer.
The data shows transactions like these have surged in recent months this year, on average five times more per month, gutting the picturesque waters
near Greece's Kalamata Port compared to 2021. According to cargo tracking firm Kpler.
MATTHEW WRIGHT, SENIOR FREIGHT ANALYST, KPLER: It is sort of become a ship hub, where smaller vessels come in from Russian ports. They transfer the
cargoes onto larger vessels, and then those larger vessels will head off through to Asia.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): Matthew Wright says the rise and ship to ship transfers is part of a big shift in shipping patterns. A European Union ban
on most seaborne Russian crude oil and refined products means Russian exports now travel much longer distances to reach Asian customers. And he
says while smaller vessels are better for docking at Russian ports, they're not ideal for long haul voyages.
WRIGHT: You can see the fact that it has loaded HSFO, which is fuel oil.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): Those sanctions have also given rise to what right calls the Grey Fleet. Tank has sold since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. And
his data shows exclusively now transporting Russian oil or refined products on some Western shippers started to avoid it.
SEBASTIAN (on camera): We're using tracking data and collaborating with experts, we were able to pinpoint one of those Grey Fleet ships in this
image here it is that larger vessel and we traced this apparent transaction back in time the smaller vessel docking in St. Petersburg, in late February
where according to Kpler, it picked up a cargo of fuel oil.
Then we tracked it all around Western Europe and back here to the Mediterranean, the Greek Coast at West Point Kpler data shows it unloaded
its cargo onto that larger grey tag ship.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): That ship then transited the Suez Canal, apparently en-route to Asia.
WRIGHT: It's not illegal, what they're doing. It's essentially a story of the transfer of ownership.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): Oil tanker sales have surged in the past year, and among them Kpler says that same tanker here it is again tracked to the
Russian port of Novorossiysk in December.
Think Tank vessels value estimates 105 tankers of a similar size changed hands in 2022, double the volume of the previous year. It also says around
a third of sales this year were to newly formed companies, or undisclosed buyers. At the International Maritime Organization in London that shifts in
ownership, reinforcing safety concerns around ship to ship transfers.
FREDERICK KENNEY, INTERNATIONAL MARITIME ORGANIZATION: We're unable to determine the level of compliance with the IMO safety and environmental
protection regime. The worst case scenario would be a casualty where a transfer line breaks and you have a major spill, or you have an explosion
and fire. There are myriad things that can go wrong in a ship to ship transfer.
SEBASTIAN (voice over): It's a situation that's not going away as Russia's war redraws the global energy map, creating a new logistics system
increasingly controlled by lesser known players and loaded with potential risks.
SEBASTIAN: Well, that's Grey Fleet, Julia, is not small. The estimate from Capital is that it's about 400 vessels at the moment. Now obviously, part
of that are those longer distances. One international ship broker told CNN that Russia needs four times the shipping capacity now than it did before
the war to take its oil to Asia.
So this isn't necessarily something that Russia has arranged. This is newer players coming in spying a commercial opportunity in a tighter market.
Right now, experts are telling us they're not seeing a lot of evidence of what is called dark activity, potential sanctions, busting ships, turning
off transponders and things like that.
But that may be because it for at least part of the last few months, Russian oil has been trading below the G7 price cap if oil prices go up of
course, that could change.
CHATTERLEY: What a great report, Clare, great to have you with us. Thank you so much for that. Clare Sebastian there! Alright, we're back after
this, plenty more "First Move" to come. Stay with us.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to "First Move", and to Ukraine now while Moscow is threatening to terminate the crucial Black Sea grain export deal with
the G7 bands exports to Russia. The G7 itself wants to see the deal extended and expanded. Well my next guest Howard Buffett, Business
Executive and major philanthropists knows full well the consequences of failure.
And he's promised to double his humanitarian support. Howard Buffett has just returned from his seventh trip to Ukraine since the Russian invasion.
As you can see here with Richard Branson since it started back in 1999. The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has focused on food security and conflict
mitigation to concerns that are vital for Ukraine and nations that rely on their food supplies.
Last year, the foundation devoted around half of its giving, that's around $150 million to humanitarian efforts in Ukraine helping with demining
repairing civil and infrastructure and assisting farmers. This year, the foundation expects to double its donations.
Howard Buffett believes the cost of not doing anything possible, everything possible, forgive me, to help end this war, and help Ukrainians is just too
high. And he joins us now from New York. Howard, fantastic to have you with us on the show! In many ways, your philanthropy targeted towards food
security and conflict mitigation.
And public safety was sort of the perfect foundation for the challenges that Ukraine felt immediately once the war began. And of course, that
scaled beyond Ukraine with their food supply as being prerequisite around the world. Just start with that realization moment when you recognized you
HOWARD BUFFET, CEO OF HOWARD G. BUFFET FOUNDATION: Well, when the war broke out, it was clear that it was going to have a global impact, and well
beyond Ukraine. And that was seen and proven out fairly quickly, when the Black Sea was shut down completely in the beginning. And you saw according
to the World Food Programme, you know, 70 to 100 million people pushed to the brink of starvation as a result.
And of course, it drove up food prices significantly. World Food Programme use example in Eastern Africa, of a family food basket going up 55 percent
and cost. So one of the challenges is not just the impact on commodity prices, and of course, the energy prices were affected.
But if you look at some of the countries that rely on not just Ukraine grain, but globally, as it affects global food security, you see that the
situation breeds conflict, it breeds instability. And a lot of these countries that rely on this food are already in situations where they're on
the brink of additional conflict or going into conflict. So it's a pretty significant impact.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I mean, you took half of the funds donations in 2022, as I mentioned, which is around $150 million, and said, OK, we have to target
that now towards helping Ukraine and I believe around $300 million will be spent this year. I mean, there's a world of competing priorities for the
foundation, whether that's outside of Ukraine or within.
I know, again, given your experience, you looked at the arable land in Ukraine; instead, what we have to do immediately is de-mine, and get as
much of that working again, as we can. Just explain how the foundation is operating and how you're providing funds for that?
BUFFET: Well, so when you look at de-mining, it's, you know, really, it's considered a war crime. It's considered the impact on civilians is
considered, you know, a crime against humanity and it has incredible, long lasting impact.
And so the faster you can clean up the minds, the better off everyone is, but one of the big things is to get agricultural land back into production.
And right now, it's estimated that something like 30 percent of Ukraine is possibly mine.
I mean, they don't know where all mines are so that's a significant area to cover I was in Kherson, a few months ago with the SCS who's the de-mining
arm of the government and they took me out. And they were showing me what they were doing. And they said that in two months, they had cleared 500
Well, there's tens of thousands of mines. So you can imagine how long it'll take. So we've got to step up the resources, we've got to coordinate all of
those organizations that can work on it, because we have to bring agricultural production back as fast as possible.
Not just from a safety standpoint of de-mining, but from the standpoint of increasing the GDP and agricultural production and exports for Ukraine,
it's a really important economic situation as well.
CHATTERLEY: I mean I want to talk a little bit more about that. But we were just showing a whole array of pictures there, Howard, and I believe they're
your pictures their pictures that you took over the period while you were in Ukraine. Can you just describe what it was like to be in, in Ukraine,
and in Kherson, as you mentioned, when you've been to the frontlines twice?
BUFFET: Well, one of the things is, for me, I'm a pretty hand on person. So it helps me to see as much activity and learn from the people on the
ground. And so you know, when we were in Kherson, we were right behind the bombing of a bus station, we were a few minutes behind that we got there,
there were three civilians killed.
One of the things that the Russians have started doing a new tactic is that they wait for the first responders to get there. And then they'll wait 10,
15 minutes, and they start to hit the same target, trying to take out the first responders. So we were there when a few of the shells hit.
It's a really difficult situation to work in for everyone. And at the end of the day, this is really a war on civilians. I mean, it's a war on
Ukraine's agriculture; it's a war on global security, food security. And at the end of the day, you know, Ukrainians are fighting for their freedom.
And I feel like if the United States can't stand up for those values and principles, which we claim our values and principles, and I don't know,
where we stand up, or what we stand up for.
CHATTERLEY: It's such an important message, I think, your personal experience and being able to show others these pictures and describe the
events that you saw, and were affected by why you there is also vitally important to helping people back home in America, and remind them why they
have to give money and why the support continues to be needed.
To what extent and what kind of feedback do you get when you come back to the United States and talk to people whether that's ordinary people or
politicians too because there is some debate about the ongoing support? And does it help with investors too because to your point about that the
landmines scale is required more money is required to do this quickly?
BUFFET: Well, you know, I have a lot of friends that asked me about it and question why we need to provide a level of support. And I think that, you
know, the primary thing to focus on is that, you know, back in 1994, we signed an agreement, the U.K. signed it.
Russia actually signed it as well, saying that we would provide security assurances if Ukraine gave up at the time, the third largest amount of
nuclear material and so there was a big debate in Ukraine at the time. They realized that if they agreed to this, that they would put themselves at a
certain amount of risk.
So you know I've heard people say, well, we gave assurances not guarantees, but that's really word smiting at this point, because if Ukraine does not
win this war, Russia and both Putin and the top generals have stated Russia will not stop at Ukraine. Then we're at the doorstep of NATO, and the
United States will be 100 percent in this war, including probably committing troops at some point.
So it's to our benefit, while Ukraine is willing to fight on their own territory in their own soil and lose their own people in this battle. It is
clearly to our benefit to support Ukraine and they have a victory. I mean, right now, we're providing Ukraine with enough to fight but not enough to
win. And what we need is a strategy to make sure that Ukraine can win this war and they have to win this war.
CHATTERLEY: How do your friends and acquaintances respond when you explain it like that? Do they understand better? And how confident are you that the
support particularly in the United States, which has been so vital will continue?
BUFFET: Well, there's so much politics involved and there's showmanship and some of that. And I think you just have to cut through all of that and
realize that it's in our best interest. It's in U.S. best interest to make sure Ukraine wins.
And you can just go down the line of what has happens if Ukraine doesn't win and that should be an easy way to look at it and you know United States
has made this commitment to keep the fighting going. But we've got to step it up, and Europe has to step it up.
And I've really been a little bit surprised that Europe hasn't stepped it up more, because they're the ones that have the higher risk physically in
terms of the proximity to Ukraine. So I think, you know, I learned a long time ago, it's hard to convince people to care about something when it
doesn't affect them personally.
And so, you know, part of the message has to be how it will affect them personally, and it will affect the United States and the United States of
sending billions of dollars, why not make that money, count the best that it can and implement a strategy of success and a strategy of victory?
CHATTERLEY: Yes, makes perfect sense to me. The good news is the philanthropy I believe will continue. And you're clearly part of that, too.
We were just showing video of you with Richard Branson as well, I know that you and he have been working together. I want to sort of end on something
that I think is vitally important.
And I know it's a clear passionate the foundations too which is nutrition too and you're working to provide better nutrition, and a network of
kitchens across Ukraine to provide that not just for school children, I know but for those on the frontlines as well just describe that work,
because this is clearly vital too.
BUFFET: So I've been to a number of villages that are within shelling distance of the Russians and one of the things you just can't forget,
people there become kind of numb to it, is this constant thundering as it just never stops? The shelling is just constant. And as you're, you know, I
handed out food boxes in a couple of different villages. And these people are people; this is a country that is used to contributing to feeding the
And here we are handing out food boxes to them so they can survive. I mean, if depending on how long the war goes, but right now, what our support is
projected to do is, which we've already fed, or provided over probably close to 100 meals will provide 135, 150 million meals. I mean, that's a
lot of people that need help.
And it's beyond just the people on the frontlines. You know, one in every three families in Ukraine is food insecure at this point. So you're taking
a country that used to have like 5 percent, poverty, and you've already pushed them up to the 25 percent level, and you have to think about long
term and recovery.
The recovery is going to be significant, the damage is amazing. It's really devastating. So the longer the war goes on, there's more people to feed
more people that are at risk, and more civilians that are being attack. So the faster we can work to end the war is exactly what our goal has to be.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I think many of our viewers listening will agree with you had I just been thinking back over our conversation. I suppose you're
interested in a career in politics one day. Are you?
BUFFET: I -- politics. You know, I had the greatest job in the world. I have a lot of resources, my dad, my mom, you know, gave the foundation a
lot of resources and they told us to go out and take risks. So for us, you know, our money is really I look at it as risk capital.
So when we go into Ukraine, and some people will say, well, you know, you're providing things up on along the front line, or providing things
that are very risky, you don't know what's going to happen to him. That's our job to do that. And I think our job is also to encourage other
foundations and other organizations to take that level of risk.
So I look at it, as I have the greatest job in the world right now. I can try to help people that need help. In Ukraine situation, we just need to
provide the support to get them through this war. And then we'll go into a different mode, I mean, will continue to support de-mining will continue
to, you know, support prosthetics for civilians and Veterans who need to get on with their life and will continue to support agriculture. But that's
post war and we need to get to where we are at post war.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I don't know. You'll continue to fight for that and the ultimate reward, I think in terms of taking risk is helping these people
that are in new through no fault of their own. Howard, fantastic to chat to you thank you so much!
BUFFET: Thank you very much.
CHATTERLEY: Great to chat to you, sir. Thank you, Howard Buffett there. Still to come, urgent please, as a banking crisis bruise in one area of
China now people have taken to the streets to demand their money back more, after the break.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to "First Move"! One year after banking scandals or their assets frozen thousands of customers in one lender in rural China
are still trying to get their money back. Some say they've been tracked, harassed or physically attacked by local officials. Selina Wang spoke to
some of the customers.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In China's Central Henan Province this month, demonstrators chant Give me my money back when poster
reads, America's Silicon Valley Bank customers got their money back in three days. But China's Henan village banks customers haven't been given a
cent in a year.
These protesters are victims of a banking scandal that started last April when several small banks in Henan froze depositor funds impacting an
estimated 400,000 customers according to a state run magazine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some depositors myself included can no longer survive, because all of our money is stored there. Some people may commit suicide,
some depositors may hurt others. Everyone has a tipping point.
WANG (voice over): This banking victim in Beijing is the lawyer who is gathering depositors to sue the local authorities. He says all they want is
their money back. But instead they're being tracked, harassed, or even worse. While the banks are now open for business and estimated several
thousand still cannot access their money.
The banks that authorities have ignored the victim's relentless efforts to get answers over the past year we're not revealing the identities of all
the victims who spoke to us in order to protect their safety. This couple in Shanghai says earlier this year, the government hired people to sneak
outside of their apartment for weeks.
On March 4, right before China's biggest annual political meeting in Beijing, they say their car was suddenly stopped on the streets of
Shanghai. They were driving to meet a relative and shot this encounter on a phone. Get in our car the man in the brown jacket demands. No, she replies.
So many people have surrounded us.
What are you trying to do, she asks? The couple says the men did black cloth bags over their heads and drove them to an island outside of
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were locked up for 11 days they illegally detained us and confiscated our bank cards, phones and wallets. I tried my best to
cooperate with them, still they beat me.
WANG (voice over): He says the authorities were paranoid they might travel to Beijing to demonstrate during the political meeting. The banks,
regulators and local authorities have not responded to CNNs multiple attempts to contact them about these serious allegations.
Last summer, police violently crushed peaceful demonstrators demanding their money back. Then, weeks later, authorities blamed the scandal on
financial fraud, arrested hundreds of alleged suspects and promised to start paying depositors back. Chinese media has reported that the
government has the crisis under control.
But as ignored the stories of these bank victims. Meanwhile, pro Communist Party social media influencers have been zeroing in on the bank failures in
the U.S. This one says explosive news; the U.S. is facing a catastrophe. Another says it might be the end of the U.S. if they fail to handle this
well. And state tabloid Global Times published this dramatic info graphic, but the U.S. government quickly stepped in to pay back the depositors in
WANG (on camera): Have you received any sympathy, any response from the authorities?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, I have not. The government's attitude is that as long as they've suppressed the people with problems, there is no need to
pay back the money is completely different from how Silicon Valley Bank was handled.
WANG (voice over): This depositor from Zhouzhuang Province went to the protests last summer and says he was beaten by the police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can't get the money soon, and then my children and I can only live on the streets.
WANG (on camera): Do you have hope that you're going to get your money back.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: People like us have been robbed of money, yet we are treated like criminals. If my money cannot be withdrawn, only one option is
left for me, which is death.
WANG (voice over): Experts say the crisis in Henan is just the tip of the iceberg as China's economy slows and debt balloons.
ANDREW COLLIER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ORIENT CAPITAL RESEARCH: What happened in Henan is likely to occur elsewhere in the country. They're willing to
oppress people using the police in order to get the message across to the banking system that they can't play fast and loose with money.
WANG (voice over): Back in Beijing, the lawyer says his relentless legal efforts may be their only hope.
WANG (on camera): If you do get the money back. What is your plan?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave the country with kids and parents because I want my children to grow up in a democratic and free and rule of law country.
WANG (voice over): Selina Wang, CNN, Beijing.
CHATTERLEY: OK, so let's come here on "First Move" I speak to the CEO of India's Energy Giant ReNew about their renewable energy goals. That's next.
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to "First Move"! UN figures show India was the world's third largest emitter of carbon dioxide in 2020. But that picture
is changing. It already has the means to generate over 40 percent of its power from renewable. And the government has now set an ambitious target of
taking that ratio to 50 percent by 2030.
Well, step forward Indian Renewable Energy Giant ReNew with a portfolio including more than 120 winds, solar and hydro projects across nine Indian
States. ReNew says part of its goal is helping India to reach net zero and it says the government and private sector working together is the key in
the fight against climate change.
Joining us now is Sumant Sinha. He's Founder and CEO of ReNew. Fantastic to have you on the show sir! I noticed a change. The last time we spoke you
were ReNew Power and now you're ReNew what's in the name change? And what does it mean for the company?
SUMANT SINHA, FOUNDER AND CEO, RENEW: Yes, thank you, Julia, so much for having me on the show again. Look, I think you've alluded to a very
important thing, why the change is small. But it's actually very important, simply because what it means is that we are trying to really become a much
broader decarburization partner, rather than a company that is focusing only on the power sector.
So certainly, we're going to continue doing that. But we also intend to look at corporate and help them try to decarbonize as they move forward on
their own journeys, and provide them a much broader set of solutions, which could be around green hydrogen, green fuels, carbon credits, digital
solutions, and so on.
So we're actually trying to become a broader company, which is really operating in the decarburization space more generally. And that is really
why we changed our name from ReNew Power to ReNew. It's subtle, but it's very important to us.
CHATTERLEY: I mean it's a huge opportunity. And I think the major point to make here is that if the nation isn't coordinating and organizing with the
private sector, then some of the lofty targets for the Indian government, like reaching that target of generating 50 percent of power from renewable
by 2030 simply isn't going to happen.
I mean, isn't it already a huge challenge? It's beyond ambitious to try and achieve this in the space of what seven years? What does it mean for you
specifically, in terms of opportunity, but also, I think challenges, what more do you need from the government to achieve it?
SINHA: Yes, you know, you're absolutely right that India has set a very ambitious target. But I think it's absolutely necessary that countries like
India do set such aspiration targets, because, frankly, as we all know, we really don't have a choice. And it's not just India, I think every other
country around the world has to take leadership in their own way, and set targets that they then have to strive to meet.
Now, India, as you know, as you said, is the third largest carbon emitting country, given the growth that we have in the country over the next several
years. If we continue to grow in the same way, which is really carbon intensive, then obviously that will not be good for the environment and for
the world as a whole.
And I think therefore, that the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has taken a very positive step in really setting targets that are really looking at
focusing on growing in a very different way. And decarburizing the economy as we grow, continue to grow as well.
What that means for us, essentially, is, obviously, we have to work very closely with the government, while the government is setting targets,
ultimately, it's up to the private sector, to actually, you know, continue to sort of do action on the ground and meet those targets.
And that's not just in India, but in every other country in the world, the same thing needs to happen. Now, what are the challenges? The challenges
are many Julia. I think just given the scale of what we're trying to achieve collectively, there are a number of things that we need to do.
I think number one, of course, is finding the appropriate amounts of land. Two is building the interconnect or the transmission networks. Three is
obviously we have to source equipment. Four we have to hire people and fight them we have to create all these assets on the ground.
And I think all of those areas, not just in India, but everywhere, globally are being constrained given the scale of growth that we require meeting the
challenge and so I think all of us have to collectively put our best foot forward to make this happen.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, people, infrastructure, never mind anything else, all of this needs scaling up yesterday. And the hope is that it can happen within
the space of a few years in order to be able to hit some of these targets that are expected in the next sort of 7 to 10.
Does India need the equivalent and I use the United States as the example simply because I think it's the biggest we've ever had the inappropriately
named Inflation Reduction Act, which seemed to be the most comprehensive climate bill that we've seen around the world that surely presents
opportunities for you internationally, perhaps, to invest in the United States.
But rather than decrying it in, for example, the EU is done and sort of suggesting that it's creating competition. Isn't this the kind of thing
that every nation needs to be announcing, and applying in order to create a global city solution to tackling climate change?
SINHA: No, you're absolutely right, Julia. And, of course, while countries may decry the industrial policy nature of the Inflation Reduction Act, the
reality is that it's in service of a good objective, which is to decarbonize and to move the world closer to net zero as fast as possible.
And so therefore, if it actually leads to a genuine race towards net zero, I think that's something that needs to happen. Now, obviously, the question
for all of us is as corporate is whether therefore, we all tend to look at the U.S. market, or whether we continue to focus on domestic markets or our
And I think we have to do a bit of both. We cannot ignore what's happening in the U.S. And so we do have to look at opportunities there. But at the
same time, we obviously cannot ignore what's happening in our home markets. And we have to continue to add capacity at home as well.
Now, of course, if India does come out with something similar, then of course, that would be a great positive, because it will bring down costs
for clean energy in general. Now, India has done something similar not of course of the same scale.
But for example, India has announced a national green hydrogen policy; we've come out with these very aggressive targets for renewable energy. We
are building out transmission systems across the country, and allowing renewable energy to tap into it without a charge.
So that's actually a very big benefit. So there are a number of things that India is doing as well, which hopefully will lead to the development of a
pretty large domestic market and will help us get closer to the targets that the Prime Minister has said, which are, as you said earlier, ambitious
CHATTERLEY: It's interesting on green hydrogen, I was in the Middle East last year, and obviously bearing in mind, the geography and the extent of
exporting of fossil fuels from that region.
There was a sort of reticence to discuss green hydrogen and concerns about still the risk reward. Are you saying, actually, based on the incentives
that India has provided, as far as you're concerned were sort of past that tipping point for green hydrogen, because that would be huge?
SINHA: I think Julia, not yet. Because ultimately, green hydrogen, keep in mind is competing with grey hydrogen, which is a lot cheaper today, given
where gas prices are in most geography. And we're also competing with blue hydrogen, which is, you know, also something that is currently cheaper.
And, and therefore, you know, I think green hydrogen still has a way to go before we can actually be super competitive with the other forms of
hydrogen. But that's really where government policy needs is important, because we need mandates for green hydrogen.
And just like in solar, where prices came down, I think, similarly, the same thing can happen for green hydrogen as well as the ecosystem builds
up. So I think we need an initial set of mandates across the world for users of gray hydrogen, to move towards green.
And I think you'll get them to get to the tipping point, then fairly quickly. But keep in mind also, that green hydrogen is the basis for a lot
of the green fields, which will go into things like shipping and into aviation.
And therefore, it's very important prerequisite green hydrogen, for really getting into the hard -- sector. So collectively, we have to push forward
and make green hydrogen competitive, because that's going to really take forward the decarburization into other areas of energy beyond just the
power sector, which is really something that is very important.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I couldn't agree more. I it's going to be truly transformative. We just have to get there and we need the investment to get
there. Great to chat to you sir! As always, 20 more questions for you, but we'll reconvene very soon I hope. Sumant Sinha there the Founder and CEO of
ReNew sir, great to have you on thank you! We're back after this stay with "First Move".
CHATTERLEY: Welcome back to "First Move" coming to you live from London. Forget about ChatGPT, it's all about ChatGMT here in the United Kingdom, a
nation gearing up for a royal coronation. After Sunday's London Marathon, it's all about sore muscles sensation.
As for UK weather, it's all about chilly spring resignation, what else did I expect, my teeth we've been chattering. And in business the FTSE up six
percent so far this year, not a bad valuation and costing your London eye to U.S. markets now.
A modestly higher formation ahead of this week's important tech earnings data continued signs of corporate resiliency despite the many economic
uncertainties including a solid start to earnings season with results coming in some 5 percent above expectations so far, that's modest
expectations, of course got to provide the context there.
For many U.S. consumers who still like to shop for household items at brick and mortar stores. This one hits pretty hard "Bed Bath and Beyond" a
beloved home goods retailer that was a true lifeline for consumers during the pandemic has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Thousands of employees
could lose their jobs.
Christine Romans joins us now. Christine and I feel like it's been battled now for many months, if not years, and even the pandemic couldn't save this
one. What can we expect? Can anyone write to the rescue at this late stage? Or is it pretty much all over?
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I mean, this is winding down operations and the company in its filing its bankruptcy filing says it
expects to be closing all of those doors by June 30th Julia. And you're so right to point out just like the cultural significance.
And I mean, in pop culture, there are always references to its 20 percent coupon. I mean, I don't think anybody in United States can say they don't
know somebody who decorated their dorm room hundred percent from the coupons at "Bed Bath and Beyond".
You know, no frills, just stuff piled up high, but they made a lot of mistakes recently, and for a company that was really iconic and a household
name and making money until 2019. It unraveled here pretty quickly. So those coupons by the way, a lot of people have been asking those coupons,
they will be honored, you know, through tomorrow, that Wednesday, they won't take him anymore.
If you have gift cards, those will be accepted till May 8th and then store returns until May 24th. But you know, people I know who popped in to see if
they could find any deals say that they're basically selling the shelves at this point in some so many of these stores.
We're talking about 360 "Bed, Bath and Beyond" stores and then "Bye-bye Baby" is also a brand that they own, you know goes without saying what they
sell "Bye-bye Baby" will be closing as well 120 stores with 14,000 workers here overall.
So they've secured financing from a lender to just work through these closures and have enough money for financing to get through getting rid all
the staff. It's just a giant going out of business sale at this moment.
CHATTERLEY: Yes, I read that actually this morning that they've already closed several 100 stores over the past year, but that those stores have
been snapped up by others. So what do we know in terms of job losses? If we know anything at this stage, and I guess the hope is perhaps those people
can find work elsewhere.
ROMANS: We hope so. And we do know that there's still aggressive hiring in the retail sector you know, overall that's an interesting part of -- it
tends to be a lower wage part of the food chain. But you know when you look at Target and you look at Costco.
And even Amazon warehouses, a lot of these places, there may be a place for these 14,000 workers to find a home here. It's just really kind of a sad
story from something in 1971 that was, you know, started in the New York City suburbs and really grew into a cultural phenomenon, referenced in
You know, and songs mute -- it was just something that was just around so ubiquitous, and it was part of the meme stock craze. Remember last year?
ROMANS: So it's just been part of the cultural mood for so long. And now, I mean, it's very likely someone will by the name, well, as we've seen happen
in other big retail closures. You know, they -- you've seen a lot of companies that have gone, you know, very prestigious companies that have
gone the way of the dodo bird, but then the name comes back up in some other way, shape or form so forth.
CHATTERLEY: So, yes, and absolutely. I think there are people out there that are not in the United States that may never have heard this if it
hadn't been for the mean moment. And I think that probably bought them time, actually, with the share price rise, but not enough. Christine
Romans, thank you so much for that.
ROMANS: You're welcome.
CHATTERLEY: That's it for the show. "Connect the World" is up next, and I'll see you tomorrow.