Science, Data, and Facts Should Unite Decision-Making, Says PMI CEO in Speech at Concordia Summit
André Calantzopoulos, CEO of Philip Morris International (PMI) (NYSE: PM), today delivered high-level remarks at the 2020 Concordia Annual Summit. Calantzopoulos discussed the impact that uncertainty, polarization, hyperpartisanship, and ideology are having on international efforts to overcome pressing global issues. He called for science to be protected from politicization and highlighted the importance of developing open dialogues based on factual scientific objectivity. Calantzopoulos shared PMI’s belief that with the right regulatory encouragement and support from civil society, cigarette sales can end within 10 to 15 years in many countries.
The Concordia Annual Summit, which coincides with the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting, convenes the world’s most prominent business, government, and nonprofit leaders to foster dialogue and enable effective partnerships for positive social impact.
Excerpts of the remarks by André Calantzopoulos follow:
“Reflecting on the state of our world today and the challenges ahead, four words come to mind: Uncertainty. Polarization. Hyperpartisanship. Ideology.
“These words are not new, but with the COVID crisis, they have gained prominence, moving beyond traditionally contentious sectors such as ours and into the mainstream.
“The lockdowns that sent us into our homes earlier this year, the continued uncertainty we all feel, and the immense socioeconomic pressure caused by the pandemic have increased tensions and reinforced the polarization of both private views and the public discourse.
“And while these past months have revealed how much can be accomplished when people work together, the tendency of individuals to put their self-centered impulses ahead of community wellness remains on display.
“Divisiveness—a binary choosing of sides—not only hinders progress but threatens to thwart it.
“Maybe there is no silver-bullet solution—but to focus on respect for and adherence to facts, dialogue, inclusion, and science could help immensely. It is not enough, however, to simply say ‘follow the facts and the science’ and expect progress to unfold. COVID-19 is just the latest example that proves a tragic truth: Science can be, and is being, weaponized to suit narrow agendas. Science and facts are being held hostage—and distorted—by politics, and people are suffering as a result.