Top level speakers including Miele chief and former Greek finance minister headline at IFA+ Summit
Dr Reinhard Zinkann, executive director and co-proprietor of Miele Group, and former Greek finance minister Professor Dr Yanis Varoufakis spoke at the highly anticipated event.
On Monday afternoon, Dr Zinkann shared his views on deglobalisation under the motto the ‘next level of thinking.’ The Miele co-owner reflected on how the global industry has long benefited from globalised production, supply and sales structures which he believes, on balance, will continue. However, the strong focus on costs that has underpinned it to date will tend to diminish in the future, he added.
Commenting on one of the key topics of the summit – friend-shoring – Dr Zinkann speculated that protection against geopolitical risks is likely to become more important. The risks of deglobalisation, he believes, could come with the “unbundling of global supply chains” – a lengthy, laborious and costly process by nature, he said. The availability of raw materials is another factor but a process which Miele handles “with great care,” he added.
Despite the challenges, the Dr Zinkann said deglobalisation could also present opportunities, “especially if shorter distances can reduce complexity, logistics costs and CO2.” It would also offer production opportunities for high-wage countries such as Germany, he added.
Prof Varoufakis said globalisation is facing “a major challenge” and addressed the question of what needs to be done. “We are missing the point,” the former finance minister urged. Identifying globalisation together with trade is “a huge error,” he said, a point he stressed more than once during his speech. Prof Varoufakis also outlined the reasons why he believes reshoring is not in the interest of either nation states or developing countries, and instead advocated for the intensifying of trade and supply chains.