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If saving the world depends on contracts, is it time to give up?

May 26, 2021

At WorldCC’s recent Symposium, BioNtech CEO Ugur Sahin shared an uncomfortable truth. When the need is urgent, there’s no time for contracts. The alliance between BioNtech, Pfizer and Fosun Pharma was founded on ‘trust-based collaboration’ – a strong focus on shared governance and open, honest communication. When the world needs a vaccine, there’s no time for the traditional debates over contract terms.

Fast forward to today and a conversation with ESG guru, John Elkington. “The experts tell us that we have ten years to save the world”, said John, before musing over whether time would expire before the necessary contracts are in place.

Our environment, our social cohesion, our corporate governance all depend on shared commitments and resilient relationships. Contracts should be at the heart of building the networks and the ecosystems that we need to tackle the massive challenges that lie ahead. Yet, as John pointed out, the evolution and development of contract law and contracting practices move at a snail’s pace. So will an inability to design effective commercial mechanisms lead to the downfall of our world?

Commerce re-imagined

Ugur, John and a myriad of others are calling on the commercial community to respond. We must devise new ways to innovate and to accelerate the way that business relationships are formed and managed. As we discovered during the pandemic, it is essential to be flexible, adaptive and creative. Now, that spirit must not only live on, but it must move into overdrive.

That is what makes this year’s WorldCC Summit of such major importance and excitement. The nature and the quality of the speakers, the panels and the topics under debate are unparalleled. The diversity of those attending is precisely what our world needs right now – it is trust-based collaboration in action, as we rise to the shared challenge of making our world a better place.

If you are reading this, please join us, be part of this energized community as we discuss and develop the commercial frameworks, the contracting models and the collaborative relationships that are so critical to our future.

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