Return to Transcripts main page

Quest Means Business

President Biden Delivers His First Foreign Policy Address; Democrats Ask Trump to Testify under Oath at Impeachment Trial; Conservation Of Rare Cranes Takes Flight In Rwanda; Yellen Calls For Understanding Of GameStop Phenomenon; Companies See Their Future With Major Investments In Technology And Digitization. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired February 04, 2021 - 15:00   ET



JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: ... started in day one with daily briefings with the press from the White House. We`ve reinstituted

regular briefings here at state at the Pentagon.

We believe a free press isn`t an adversary, rather, it`s essential. A free press is essential to the health of a democracy.

We`ve restored our commitment to science and to create policies grounded in facts and evidence. I suspect Ben Franklin would approve.

We`ve taken steps to acknowledge and address systemic racism, and the scourge of white supremacy in our own country. Racial equity will not just

be an issue for one department in our administration, it has to be the business of the whole of government, and all our Federal policies and


All this matters to foreign policy because when we host the Summit of Democracies early in my administration, to rally the nations of the world

to defend democracy globally, to push back the authoritarianism`s advance, we will be a much more credible partner because of these efforts to sure up

our own foundations.

There`s no longer a bright line between foreign and domestic policy. Every action we take and our conduct abroad, we must take with American working

families in mind.

Advancing a foreign policy for the middle class demands urgent focus on our domestic economic and economic renewal, and that`s why I immediately put

forth the American Rescue Plan to pull us out of this economic crisis.

That`s why I signed an Executive Order strengthening our Buy American policies last week. That`s also why I work with Congress to make far

reaching investments in research and development of transformative technologies.

These investments can create jobs, maintain America`s competitive edge globally and ensure all Americans share in the dividends.

If we invest in ourselves and our people, if we fight to ensure that American businesses are positioned to compete and win on a global stage, if

the rules of international trade aren`t stacked against us, if our workers and intellectual property are protected, then there`s no country on Earth,

not China or any other country on Earth that can match us.

Investing in our diplomacy isn`t something we do just because it`s the right thing to do for the world. We do it in order to live in peace,

security and prosperity. We do it because it`s in our own naked self- interest.

When we strengthen our alliances or amplify our power, as well as our ability to disrupt threats before they can reach our shores, when we invest

in economic development of countries, we create new markets for our products and reduce the likelihood of instability, violence and mass


When we strengthen health systems, and far reaches the world, we reduce the risk of future pandemics that can threaten our people and our economy.

When we defend equal rights of people the world over, of women and girls, LGBTQ individuals, indigenous communities, and people with disabilities,

the people of every ethnic background and religion, we also ensure that those rights are protected for our own children here in America.

America cannot afford to be absent any longer on the world stage. I come today to the State Department, an agency that is old and as storied as the

nation itself because diplomacy has always been essential to America write its own destiny.

For the diplomacy of Ben Franklin, up to this year, the success of our revolution, the vision of the Marshall Plan helped prevent the world from

foundering on the wreckage of war, and the passions of Eleanor Roosevelt declared the audacious idea of universal rights that belong to all, the

leadership of diplomats of every stripe, doing their daily work and engagement created the very idea of a free and interconnected world.

We`re a country that does big things. American diplomacy makes it happen, and our administration is ready to take up the mantle and lead once again.

Thank you all. May God bless you and protect our troops, our diplomats and our development experts and all Americans serving in harm`s way.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS HOST: Well, if you ever wanted to see a difference between that that was and that that is, there you have it with

tonight`s first major policy speech on foreign affairs by President Biden.

He said, America is back. This has been the U.S. President speaking at the State Department in Washington. It was the first major address -- foreign

policy address -- since taking office.

The choice of the State Department is significant. He is aiming to underscore his commitment to U.S. allies and to U.S. diplomacy in sharp

contrast to Donald Trump`s.

In fact, although Donald Trump wasn`t mentioned, what he talked about today, was course correct, badly damaged, time for change, and these are

some of the foreign policy announcements.

Firstly, ending U.S. support for offensive operations in Yemen, admitting more refugees, a freeze on redeployments from Germany as The Pentagon

undergoes a global review of the military to make sure it is aligned with foreign policy.

The Secretaries Austin and Blinken will hold that, and there will be no troop withdrawals in the meanwhile.

And a memorandum protecting LGBTQ rights worldwide, something that was, of course missing from the last administration.

Our reporters are around the globe. They cover this meat and veg day in, day out. Nic Robertson is in London, our international diplomatic editor;

Ivan Watson is in Hong Kong, and Fred Pleitgen is in Moscow.

Let`s just start. We will start with you, Nic, for a brief overview of the significance of the day, of what, of that speech, and then we can drill

down with Asia and Russia. Nic, to you briefly first.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: It`s a repudiation of the position President Trump had put the United States and the fact that

President Biden had to say America needs to earn its leadership back is a recognition, as you have said that the trust has been damaged to the

international community, the allies of the past have been bruised and abused.

I think there was one sentence here, that, in essence was the appeal to Americans and to the world as well that explains why his thinking is so

radically and 180-degrees different from President Trump and is the rationale of his position going forward.

And it was this that he said, "An explanation, we invest our diplomacy, not just for the -- not for the rest of the world, but in our own naked self-

interest." President Trump had cast everything as a transactional issue that if you weren`t getting back what you were immediately putting in, then

it wasn`t worth it and the United States was only spending money to make other countries, better no advantage to the United States.

This is Joe Biden saying that diplomacy matters to the people of the United States, that by strengthened diplomacy, the United States can be strong.

That`s his pitch to the Americans, that`s his pitch to the international community.

QUEST: To Fred in Moscow, he was much more blunt when it came to President Putin and Alexei Navalny. As for Putin, he said, he made it clear to

President Putin, the manner that he will be treated, it was, " ... very different to my predecessor. Those days are over. We are not afraid to

raise the costs and we will work in coalition."

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and I think those were the most important things, and in general, you can tell from the

Biden administration that unlike previous administrations, not just the Trump administration, but also the Obama administration and the George W.

Bush administration before it, the thing that you don`t hear from the Biden administration is that there`s going to be something like a reset or some

sort of attempt to try and mend relations between the U.S. and Russia.

Essentially, what we`re seeing from President Biden, what we saw in some of the remarks that he made today, and in general, also over the actions over

the past couple of weeks is that they are going to be very tough on Russia.

And you`re absolutely right, one of the things he said that was also one of the quotes that stood out to me where he said the days of the United States

rolling over in the face of Russia`s aggressive actions, interfering in our elections, cyberattacks, poisoning its citizens are over.

And that`s certainly something that we`ve seen from the administration already in the past couple of weeks, as we`ve had these demonstrations that

have been happening in Moscow, and of course, across this country, the U.S. was one of the first countries pretty much on every day to condemn harsh

tactics by Russian police, by Russian security forces, very unlike we saw, for instance, from the Trump administration before.

However, Richard, what we`re also seeing is a pragmatic administration. One of the first things that the Biden administration did is they renewed the

New START Treaty on nuclear issues and that of course, is something where you heard President Biden say that they are going to be tough on countries

like Russia, specifically Russia, but at the same time, will also work with adversaries where it is to the benefit of the U.S. and its allies.


PLEITGEN: And of course, one thing that European allies will have really liked to hear is the fact that he said that he will work with allies to

confront Russia as well. That was very, very important, I think, to a lot of people on the European continent -- Richard.

QUEST: To Ivan in Hong Kong. Now, here, it is a little tricky, in a sense, because there is existing trade tariffs. The relationship is bad. And yet,

China is now the second most -- second largest economy in the world. But there is the issue of Hong Kong.

Listening to President Biden, what did you take from it?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, he reiterated what he has said in the past that China is America`s most serious

competitor and made the statement that the U.S. would continue to challenge China, but also work with Beijing where it serves U.S. interests.

We did not see here, any specific policies laid out and we haven`t seen any signs yet in the new Biden administration of moves to strip away any of the

tariffs that were imposed by the Trump administration. We haven`t heard of any change so far in U.S. policy.

And perhaps to underscore that, today, we saw a U.S.-guided missile destroyer steam through the Taiwan Straits. That`s one of a number of

potential flashpoints on China`s periphery where the U.S. and Chinese militaries are sometimes in close contact with the Chinese Foreign Ministry

announcing today that it had monitored the U.S. Naval vessel closely.

But also, the Chinese government withholding some of the harsh rhetoric that it had just been using weeks ago against the Trump administration with

a Foreign Ministry spokesperson, saying that quote, "We hope that the U.S. side will play a constructive role for regional peace and stability instead

of the other way around."

So, at this stage, we`re still hearing the new Biden administration and Beijing kind of feeling each other out, but also reiterating that there is

great power competition between the U.S. and China, a rising superpower.

We also heard Biden bring up the case of Monday`s military coup in Myanmar, and that both underscores, as Nic pointed out, he is not going to be a

transactional President and that he is concerned about human rights.

He is talking about the possibility of consequences for the new military junta in Myanmar, but it also stresses limits of U.S. power around the

world where the discussion of potential sanctions against Burmese generals, many of them already face U.S. sanctions going back several years, and they

were in power in that country, when it was one of the most isolated countries in the world, isolated by U.S. sanctions. And that is one of the

challenges that Biden will face going forward.

I thought another interesting point, Richard, was that he underscored the need to rebuild at home to project a strong front around the world. And

clearly, the Biden administration has its work cut out for itself on the domestic front.

QUEST: So, we take that, stay with us all three. Listen to what Joe Biden said on the overarching message. When we come back to you, I want you to

think about: would anybody believe him? They may be nuanced, and the game may be -- the game of diplomacy may be being played by rules that everybody

now understands.

But listen to what Biden says.


BIDEN: America is back. America is back. Diplomacy is back at the center of our foreign policy. As I said in my Inaugural Address, we will repair our

alliances and engage with the world once again, not to meet yesterday`s challenges, but today`s and tomorrow`s.


QUEST: Now, you said, Ivan, you said that, you know the Chinese were taking a more measured response. But if we now look at our allies, U.S. allies in

each of your regions, and Nic, you`ll have the last word, but I`ll start with you, Ivan. U.S. allies in each of your region that has been badly

bruised by four years of the Trump administration, how easily will they sign on to America is back?

WATSON: Here in Asia, Richard, there are a number of Treaty Allies here: Australia, Japan, South Korea, The Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand and

this is a region that we`ve seen countries throughout the four years of the Trump administration, watching China get more and more aggressive.


WATSON: Recall, there have been deadly skirmishes on the borders between China and India. We`ve had China`s moves to claim virtually all of the

South China Sea through which an enormous amount of the world`s shipping moves. We`ve seen China cracking down not only at home in places like

Xinjiang on Uighur Muslims and other minorities there.

But here in Hong Kong, with rights and freedoms being stripped away and political opposition being virtually crushed. So, there have been moves

that have greatly concerned U.S. allies in the region. Political scientists describe the U.S. presence around the world since World War II, as an

empire of alliances.

Many of these allies are concerned about China`s rise and aggressive posture. They have been responding in kind over the last four years,

shoring up their relationships, their security relationships with each other, and I think there will be countries and governments here welcoming a

U.S. muscular presence in the region that is also not as erratic and difficult to deal with as the Trump administration was.

QUEST: Okay, so they`ll welcome it. But Fred, with your European hat now, away from Moscow, you know, Germany -- well, France, I mean -- well,

France, I mean, Macron and the bromance of Macron and Trump, and Johnson, they`ve all said -- Merkel said, it won`t be back to us it was. So, what

will it be back to bearing in mind, quote, "diplomacy is back"?

PLEITGEN: Well, I think that a lot of the European allies, especially immediately believe that things are going to get a lot better than they

were because I mean, one of the things, one of the alliances that was most under threat over the past couple of years during the Trump administration

was, of course, NATO.

President Trump openly questioned whether the NATO Alliance was still something that needed to be there, and President Trump was seen as a threat

to the NATO alliance by a lot of the European allies, especially.

So, they -- when President Biden was elected, certainly all breathed a sigh of relief, and they will all have been listening to the speech as well. And

I think that they took a lot of positives away from it.

The fact that the administration wants to work with allies again. The fact for instance that the withdrawal from troops -- of troops from Germany,

that there is going to be a freeze on that. The Germans are certainly going to want to hear that as well.

Also, though, the Germans, as you rightly pointed out and other NATO allies have said, it can`t go back to the way it was.

There certainly are things and criticisms that were brought up in the Trump administration that other administrations had brought up before as well.

The fact that many European countries first and foremost, Germany are not paying as much for defense, for their defense, as the U.S. for instance

thinks that they should.

It`s a very difficult and touchy subject in Germany, but it is certainly something where for instance, Angela Merkel has said and the German Defense

Minister has said that they believe that the Germans certainly need to be doing more there as well.

There are other things where there could be some troubles between the Biden administration and for instance, European allies. If we look, for instance,

going back to Russia and Europe, the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, where we are seeing the Biden administration also take a very, very tough stance on that

as well, and that certainly seems like something that isn`t necessarily going to go away, that certainly is going to continue to be difficult.

But I do think that the European allies, the NATO allies of the United States, from what they heard today that was exactly what they wanted to

hear, I think, for many of them exactly what they needed to hear. And it certainly is something that will almost immediately strengthen that

alliance a great deal once again -- Richard.

QUEST: Fred, thank you. Nic, how long before the Biden administration has to show some teeth to allies as well and says, all right, you know, what,

we are sorry for what you went through for the last four years. But as he said, we`re not rolling over you. We`re not -- yes, there are some things

we still want. And that is for you to pay your proper share of NATO to do this and to do that.

It`s not -- from the U.S. point of view, it is not all the way back to normal.

ROBERTSON: It`s not. I mean, look, let`s take -- let`s step out of Europe for a moment and go to the Middle East and look at Saudi Arabia and that

decision that we heard from President Biden not to support the war in Yemen. We didn`t say Saudi`s war on Yemen, but everyone knows they are

leading the main coalition there, of course, and are responsible for dropping the largest amount of munitions from aircraft on that country.

So, you know, this was a very clear message to Saudi Arabia. And we know that Biden has human rights concerns with Saudi Arabia as well. I think you

know, his message to Saudi Arabia that is an ally and that was a strong partner of President Trump is a calibrated one because he also said, we

recognize that you`re under threat from terrorists in the region, either Houthis firing -- Houthis backed by Iranians firing missiles at you, or

from other parts, other regions in the Gulf --meaning Iran -- that you are under threat, and we will support you on that.


ROBERTSON: And I think that is a message also to Iran that the United States while it may be stopping down its backing of Saudi in one arena, it

is not stopping backing down from Saudi in one of its principal -- other principal roles in the region.

So, I think the bottom line here is, it`s a calibrated message, Richard to everyone, and we`re going to hear more of it.

The Biden administration is going through reviews of all of Trump`s relationships, with Russia bit, with the Taliban bit, with the Saudis, and

they haven`t announced their conclusions on those reviews yet, although, I think what we heard on Saudi today is part of that.

QUEST: Gentlemen, thank you. Fred is in Moscow where it looks atrocious tonight. Ivan is in Hong Kong where it is 3:20 in the morning, if I`m not

mistaken. So, we thank you for staying up late. Sorry, it`s 4:20 and Nic Robertson is in London, where he has probably broken into his dinner, to

stay and to come and talk to us. We`re grateful to all three.

Now, it is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS. When we return, days before Donald Trump`s impeachment trial is set to begin, and U.S. Democrats are making a surprise

request. They want to hear from the former President under oath.


QUEST: U.S. Democrats are asking Donald Trump to testify under oath at his impeachment trial next week. A dramatic attempt to get the former President

on the record about his behavior back on January the 6th with the Capitol Hill riots. The Democrats have given the former President until Friday to


Ryan Nobles joins us from Capitol Hill. Ryan, well, before we all get terribly excited at the prospect of quote, "the star witness." Firstly, A,

is it likely he would come and testify; and B, can they force him to?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: So, to answer your first question, question A, at this point, it seems unlikely that the former

President would come and testify on his own behalf. He has not responded directly to this request from House Democratic Impeachment Managers to

appear at his trial.

But one of his closest advisers, Jason Miller was on another network this morning before all of this took place and said that that was unlikely that

the former President would appear.


NOBLES: Now, he was asked that in the context of, would the President`s legal team ask him to testify? Maybe it`s a little bit different, because

it`s the opposition asking him to testify. But at this point, it doesn`t seem like he wants to testify.

Now, to answer your second question, does he have to come? He doesn`t have to come just based on this request by the House Impeachment Managers. What

could happen is that the Senate could subpoena him and force him to come testify. All that would take would be a simple majority vote in the Senate,

and of course, Senate Democrats do control that process.

So, there is the possibility out there that they could force the former President to appear next week.

QUEST: Now, are you getting any whiff of movement that that could happen? I mean, is this request showmanship and PR? Or is there -- are you hearing

murmurs? No, we`re really going to force him to come if he won`t come voluntarily.

NOBLES: You know, at this point, it seems as though it is showmanship as you said, you know, perhaps almost baiting the former President to come and

testify on his own behalf because as we know, he is someone that can`t seem to resist the spotlight, and this, of course, would be an enormous


But the other part of that that we have to kind of use as a calculation here is that we know that Speaker Pelosi and the Senate Majority Leader

Chuck Schumer work hand in hand on just about everything.

So, if they want this to happen, this is something that they can make happen, and it certainly seems as though they`re laying the groundwork for


At this point, Democrats have not told us how they feel about this request from the House Impeachment Managers. You know, their response is at this

point, they are still working out the finer details of how this trial is going to play itself out.

The possibility still exists, but at this point, it seems as though it`s still pretty unlikely that we will see the former President.

QUEST: Ryan, thank you. You`ll have a busy week ahead next week. Thank you, sir.

It may be game over for many investors in GameStop. They lost a lot of money. The long-term consequences of the feeding frenzy are still taking --

it is down. I mean, come on. Sorry. I mean, we don`t comment, but just look at it. It`s $57. It was at $500 to $600 down 38 percent.

Don`t anybody please try to tell me there is a rationality that needs to be protected by these retail investors.



QUEST: Hello, I`m Richard Quest. A lot more QUEST MEANS BUSINESS as we continue.

The global chair and CEO of the EY joins me as hundreds of thousands more Americans are filing for jobless claims. What`s the outlook likely to be?

And there are no black executives at the top of Britain`s 100 biggest companies, and just three in the Fortune 500. So why? Really, that`s as

simple as that. Why are corporations failing to address racial inequalities at the highest levels?

As we continue tonight, you`re watching CNN, and here on this network, the news always comes first.

Late this afternoon the U.S. House will vote on stripping the embattled congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments.

Greene seemed to back pedal on her speech on the house floor a few hours ago after vigorously previously embracing conspiracy theories and casting

doubt on the veracity of school shootings and 9/11 attacks.

Norway`s the latest European country to say AstraZeneca`s COVID vaccine should not be given to people over 65 years old. Its health authorities are

citing the lack of data for that age group.

Similar decisions were reached in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, France and Austria. But surprisingly, not by the E.U. itself.

Just four days before the Australian Open is set to begin more than 500 players and staff were forced to go into quarantine and get COVID tests

after a worker at the hotel they were staying in has become infected.

The top tennis championship is expected to go on as scheduled.

The U.S. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen says regulators need to better understand the volatility and retail frenzy in stocks like GameStop.

Shares in the company plunged again today. You saw the numbers. It was at $483 a share last week, now it`s at 57.

Secretary Yellen called a meeting today with the heads of the sec, the Federal Reserve Board and others. In an interview before the meeting, she

didn`t rule out taking some kind of response.


JANET YELLEN, U.S. TREASURE SECRETARY: We really need to make sure that our financial markets are functioning properly, efficiently, and that investors

are protected.

And we`re going to discuss these recent events and discuss whether or not the recent events warrant further action.


QUEST: U.S. markets are continuing their strong week today. The index has posted gains every day this week -- look at that, one percent. The Nasdaq

and the S&P 500 are also up today.

And the index -- there you have the triple stack. (Inaudible) strategic markets -- 31,000 on the Dow is entirely possible.

They`ve posted gains every day this week alongside progress on a COVID relief bill despite Republicans like the minority leader, Mitch McConnell,

calling the price tag unnecessarily high.

On the jobs market in the United States things do look to be getting better, but it`s a long road to recovery; 779,000, three-quarters of a

million Americans, filed new jobless claims last week. Third week in a row.

High number but it is falling. You can see it on the screen there.

The CEO of EY, Carmine Di Sibio, is with me now.

Good to have you, sir, I appreciate it.

So, it is interesting because we`re at this juncture where vaccines are -- will start making things look better but the underlying economics are still

very difficult. What are you hearing from your clients?

CARMINE DI SIBIO, GLOBAL CHAIRMAN & CEO, EY: Richard, it`s great to be here.

What we`re hearing is really all our clients are getting poised for a very substantial recovery, but the recovery really won`t happen until the second

half of the year.

As vaccines are rolled out, we`re really going to be into the May-June timeframe where we really see things changing. And there is a lot of hope

for the second half of the year. There`s some concerns around a K-shaped recovery.

But if you look at interest rates, if you look at liquidity in the markets -- and frankly, we just did our capital conference barometer where we

interview over 2,400 C-suite CEOs and C-suite executives and they`re very bullish on the second half of the year.

Fifty percent of the people said they`re going to do an acquisition this year --


DI SIBIO: -- which is high considering where we`ve been. And 65 percent said that they will make major investments in technology and digitization

of their entire organization.


So, I think everyone is poised for the second half of the year. But to your point it is slow in terms of the vaccine roll outs --

QUEST: So --

DI SIBIO: -- in many of the countries.

QUEST: So how do you prepare for it? To many of our viewers around the world SMEs, senior management, C-suites watching now they say oh, well,

that EY chap was rather good, he said things are going to get better. But he didn`t tell us what we`d have to do to prepare for it. So, tell them

that bit.

DI SIBIO: Yes, so that piece, Richard, I think right now any company`s really relooking at their strategy. What do they need to do, what do they

invest in organic, inorganic, going forward? And so many of them are looking, as I said before, at technology.

Only 25 percent of companies worldwide had really a digitized supply chain and now they all realize --

QUEST: Right.

DI SIBIO: -- that their supply chains have to much more digitized. So, they`re looking at that.

They`re looking at their talent. And this goes all across a long-term value strategy in terms of their clients, their people and society in general.

But when you look at talent are, they attracting the best talent, and how are they going to attract the best talent?

QUEST: Right.

DI SIBIO: Are they attracting a diverse set of talent? And that`s incredibly important. So right now, companies are really looking at their

longer-term strategy and where they need to be.

QUEST: Taxation is going up probably in the United States at some point -- whether Joe Biden gets his full amount that he wishes -- but taxation is

going up. Should we be concerned about corporate taxation rising?

It arguably came down too much -- Joe Stiglitz on this program yesterday was making the point that it`s still very low compared to international


DI SIBIO: Yes. So, I think -- our belief on taxation in the United States is that it will go onto the table on the agenda but not right now.

Right now, the Biden Administration is very focused on COVID, as you have seen, and we think probably later in the year or potentially next year it

would go onto the agenda.

But it`ll go onto the agenda really looking for any kind of tax increase to pay for something like infrastructure. So, there would be a deal to be


I don`t -- President Biden has said 28 percent corporate tax rate. I think it might be something lower than that but with a deal to pay for something

like infrastructure, would be our view.

But it would be at the earliest in the second part of this year, early part of next year.

QUEST: The president gave a speech -- I`m not sure whether you were able to hear it this morning, this afternoon, on foreign policy. The idea of

America is back. He then went on to talk about diplomacy is back -- but this this concept of America is back.

Do your international clients, looking back at the United States, do they still sort of say to you what were you doing, and well, we still don`t

trust you or we`re not sure?

DI SIBIO: No, our clients are happy in terms of what President Biden has been saying. They want the United States back into all the trade


Obviously, he`s announced that the U.S. will join the Paris Accord again. And that`s one area, Richard, climate is something that is top of the

agenda for the Biden Administration and frankly, is at the top of the agenda for our clients as well.

We just finished a week in virtual Davos and that was by far what was talked about the most in terms of just what companies are thinking about, a

sustainable future.

We at EY actually came out with an announcement a couple weeks ago or last week that we are going to be net zero by 2025 and we`re actually going to

be carbon negative from 2021, from now. We were carbon neutral last year.

QUEST: Can I --

DI SIBIO: That`s one of the most aggressive net zero --

QUEST: Can I just interrupt you -- can I just interrupt you on that?


QUEST: Because -- and I`m not denying or decrying what you say, but every company now is telling us, the world, we`re going to be carbon neutral by

"X" date in the future, zero carbon this, carbon that.

I have difficulty understanding A, what it means, B, is it worth it, and C, am I just being flimflammed by gobbledygook?

DI SIBIO: Yes. That`s fair enough. And I`m sure I`ll be on long enough to explain it all.

But net zero really what people should be striving for because that doesn`t just mean you`re buying offsets to offset your carbon, that means that

you`re actually reducing your carbon emissions.

QUEST: Right.

DI SIBIO: And that`s right out of the Paris accord. And so, we -- our announcement is we`re going to be net zero by 2025.

For us, our carbon emissions are mostly air travel. And to get there we`re going to reduce our air travel by 35 percent by 2025.


Now, you might say how do you do that? And being very practical we obviously have learned through the pandemic --


DI SIBIO: -- and we`ve learned how to operate virtually. So, for us, we`re expecting our client travel to not -- to maybe be down five, ten percent

but our internal travel to be down as high as 50 percent. And so --

QUEST: I can hear your colleagues kissing good-bye to their elite status, all in the best interests of the environment.

Good to see you, sir. Thank you.

DI SIBIO: Great to see you, Richard.

QUEST: And we`ll talk again soon. Hopefully, we`ll talk before we get together in Singapore, which of course is now in August not May.

Good to see you, sir. You`re watching QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

After ten years, the head of Merck is stepping down, Kenneth Frazier. He`s one of the only CEO`s of a Fortune 500 company. A closer look at his legacy

comes up next.


QUEST: Well, this week on "Call to Earth," we`re looking at endangered species. As we`re sharing solutions on the critical issues such as

endangered species, deforestation and the like.

So today, and all this week, it`s the people working to protect them.

And we are in Rwanda today where a dwindling population of gray-crowned crane are making a miraculous recovery. Thank goodness.

And it`s all due to the conservationist, Olivia Nsengima.


NARRATOR: This is not your typical love story but in the lush grasses of this Rwandan nature reserve, romance is in the air.

OLIVIER NSENGIMANA, FOUNDER, THE RWANDAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION ASSOCIATION: Finding a partner is a process like humans do. They will date, dance for

each other, and if they like each other, they will stay together. Sometimes for life.

NARRATOR: Gray-crowned cranes are an endangered species. Facing threats from an illegal pet trade and the destruction of their wetland habitat for



To help protect these birds, in 2014 the Rwandan government set up an amnesty program for pet cranes kept in captivity with the help of this man,

Oliver Nsengimana.

NSENGIMANA: We`ve lost about 80 percent of the population and in 2012, we were estimating the population to be around 300 living in the wild. I told

myself someone has got to do something about it.

Listen to the breathing and the --

NARRATOR: Trained as a vet, Nsengimana is the founder of the Rwandan Wildlife Conservation Association.

NSENGIMANA: Hello, birdy. Looks like he has a little injury on the toenail.

NARRATOR: His organization has rescued over 200 cranes from captivity and more are bred in their facilities. Like this juvenile.

NSENGIMANA: These are flight feathers. They are really in good shape.

NARRATOR: But many kept as pets have had their wings broken to prevent their escape and are unable to survive in the wild finding sanctuary at the

organization`s nature reserve at Umusamii Village.

NSENGIMANA: Cranes in Rwanda, ,they are seen as a symbol of wealth and longevity.

So, what we`ve done is really to educate people, tell them hey, actually you can still love but have them in their natural environment. But if we

keep taking them, our kids or grandkids might not be able to see them.

NARRATOR: Nsengimana remembers his own childhood in a rural village was filled with cranes.

NSENGIMANA: We didn`t have TV. We didn`t have like toys. So everywhere we went, you would see like animals. And one of the biggest was a crane. We

really took time to watch them, wanting to fly like them. Growing up as a young boy I had that love for nature.

NARRATOR: A love he has shared through his work with schools and local community groups since 2014.

Educating and inspiring others to protect their environment, he wants Rwandans to feel like the country`s wildlife belongs to them.

NSENGIMANA: We come from these communities. We have that kind of power to really connect with them and recreate that kind of love and ownership and

pride that people have in the animals.

NARRATOR: That love has taken flight. Nsengimana says there are now over 800 cranes estimated to be in the wild in Rwanda. Putting the country`s

most romantic bird on the path to recovery.

NSENGIMANA: This is really a huge success story that we share with all Rwandans. That if we can work together, if we can bring everyone on board,

we can achieve the unachievable.


QUEST: Oh, and guess what? I`m going on assignment to Rwanda next week.

By the way, if you see me on the way, of course, do stop and say hello. I`ll be looking forward to seeing some of those sorts of things. Can`t

wait, never been to Rwanda. First time for that country.

Right. We will continue showcasing magnificent stories like that as part of the initiative of "Call to Earth". And you and I can join in on this with

our own hashtags, #calltoearth.



QUEST: One of the first -- one of the few black CEOs in corporate America is stepping down this summer.

Kenneth Frazier. He`s been head of Merck since 2011. Now he`s going to stay on as executive chairman. Right now -- I know this is extraordinary -- he`s

the only black CEO in the Dow 30. And his successor at Merck is a white man.

Frazier`s departure will bring the number of black CEOs in Fortune 500 -- 500 companies that -- three.

Now looking at London, it`s even worse on the London stock exchange. For the first time in six years there are zero, none, black CEOs or CFOs in a

FTSE 100 company, according to a new study by Green Park.

The percentages of black executive directors and non-directors also dropped.

Trevor Phillips is the chair of Green Park. Trevor joins me now.

OK. How have we got to this rather dreadful situation?

TREVOR PHILLIPS, CHAIR, GREEN PARK: Greetings from London, Richard. Well, I think it`s taken some time and -- to be absolutely frank, it feels like an

act of maligned genius to get to this place.

Because you`re probably better at math than I am but the odds of this happening are really tiny; one in several million.

How did we get there? Well, I think the reason we`ve got to this is because technically a couple of companies dropped out of the index but, more

importantly, I think what has happened is that talented young Black people have joined big companies, they have looked up to the top of the pyramid,

and they have worked out that that is not where they`re going.

And what they`ve done, from our side of the pond, is that they have simply walked out and come to America where I think in spite of the --

QUEST: No --

PHILLIPS: -- number that you`ve given, is better --

QUEST: All right. But, OK, Trevor --

PHILLIPS: Or they`ve set up in business themselves (ph).

QUEST: Trevor, when you say they look up and they see sort of just a white mountain ahead, is that because of institutionalized racism, is that

structural problems?

It`s a similar sort of issue in terms of -- for women. If you don`t give the breaks further down, if you don`t sort of create the environment. But

when it comes to color, we`re talking about something different, it`s not like everybody`s taking six months off from maternity or whatever.

So what is the reason why they -- the Black people do not rise up the ranks?

PHILLIPS: Well, I think to be absolutely straightforward about it -- I`ve got a lot of heat in here for the last 48 hours because I referred -- when

we launched this to the vanilla boy`s club in the boardroom.

What I meant by that is not some sort of piece of race abuse but simply that a lot of the top companies` boardrooms are full of people who know

each other, (inaudible) together, operate in the same way, speak the same language.

They are uncomfortable with anybody who comes from a different background - - and you know what that means in this country, Richard, it`s a very small ruling elite. And anybody who comes from outside who doesn`t automatically

feel like he belongs will have a tough time.

QUEST: Right. Tell me --

PHILLIPS: And I think what happens is a lot of these young executives say I`m just not going to fit, I`m not going to make it.

QUEST: OK. So --

PHILLIPS: So why bother to be the best?

QUEST: -- what`s the answer? What`s the answer --

PHILLIPS: But I think that --

QUEST: Is the answer quotas, is it quotas?

PHILLIPS: No. I think that the first and most important thing is that the chairs of the board and the chair of the nominations committee have to

break up the boys club.

They have to say, look, next time we have a vacancy we`re genuinely going to look for talent, whatever shape and whatever package it comes in. We`re

not going to just look for the kind of guy that we recognize because he`s a bit like us.

Secondly, they need to think about how they behave.

QUEST: Right.

PHILLIPS: Do they behave in a way this different kind of person would feel comfortable at the board table?

QUEST: Right.


PHILLIPS: So those are the first two things that have got to happen.

QUEST: Trevor, we`ll talk more. We`ll review this every so often during the course of this year to make sure.

PHILLIPS: (Inaudible)

QUEST: Thank you.

PHILLIPS: I look forward to it, Richard. Thank you.

QUEST: Quick look at the markets, how they`ve traded during the course of what`s been an interesting day. The markets are up -- we`re up one percent.

Best of the day.

Over 31,000. Yes, go markets. It`s the fourth straight day of gains.

The triple stack shows a similar sort of gain across the market.

And we will take a "Profitable Moment" after the break.


QUEST: Tonight`s "Profitable Moment".

Trevor Phillips in our last interview just then raised some very, very serious and disturbing points.

When you look at the number of black CEOs or CFOs across the FTSE, the Dow, the Fortune five -- the S&P 500 and you realize -- we`re talking about the

number of the fingers on one hand. And you ask yourself why?

Then you`re bunging (ph) up against questions of, say, for example is it institutional racism, is it structural issues? But as Trevor Phillips said

no, it`s not really those things, because boards of people go for whom they like the look of, those who look like themselves.

And if that`s a sort of inverse racism, well, that`s what it is. We`re all very familiar with it, inadvertently -- and we`ve all practiced it in some

shape or form.

If it doesn`t look like me, doesn`t sound like me, if it doesn`t behave like me, well, I`m not sure I want anything to do with it. And that`s what

we have to work against to beat in the future.

Look, I came from Northern England, am well familiar with the elitism of Southern England going -- but I still managed to get to the Bar and work my

way up that way. But the chip on the shoulder, the not fitting in, all of those sorts of things I can well understand.

How you end up with a situation where you have these appalling numbers in relation to number of Black people on boards at the top levels that`s what

we need to address.

And that`s what we`ll be talking about more, on QUEST MEANS BUSINESS.

And that is QUEST MEANS BUSINESS for tonight. I`m Richard Quest in New York. Whatever you`re up to in the hours ahead I hope it`s profitable.

I`m off to Rwanda. If you see me on the way, give me a wave. Back in a week.