Companies that adopt “smart growth” policies that are innovative and safeguard natural resources will benefit from competitive advantages in a growing world economy, Muhtar Kent, president and CEO of the Coca-Cola Co., says in a video broadcast from Davos, Switzerland.
Mr. Kent is attending the annual meeting that brings together top business, political and thought leaders from around the world to the Swiss ski resort. This year’s forum opened Wednesday, Jan. 26, with a keynote address by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Mr. Kent provides an optimistic economic overview saying that he expects the world economy to attain pre-September 2008 growth levels by the end of the year.
He is most optimistic about the growth prospects of developing countries that have been relatively untouched by the recession, primarily among these the BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
But he also said that smaller developing countries in Eurasia, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa had positive prospects.
He referred to Europe as “a tale of three cities,” with northwest Europe, Germany and France showing signs of growth; southern Europe lagging and eastern Europe and Russia making a “robust comeback.”
Mr. Kent is particularly buoyant about North America as long as the correct monetary and fiscal policies are in place. He based this view on the prospects that North America will benefit from an enterprising, young population.
In addition, he said that companies must interact with government and civil society to remain resilient in the face of a billion new entrants into middle classes around the world, increased urbanization and greater demand for fewer natural resources.
He also said that companies needed to invest now in preparation for future challenges and that they will need to be more sensitive to local cultures and values as the global economy becomes more intertwined.