Economic forum emphasizes ‘business for good’

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(PNC photo)

Guam – Business for good is good for business. This was the theme at Thursday’s Bank of Guam Economic Outlook Forum.

Global economic impacts on our island and sustainability practices were the two main topics of discussion at the Dusit Thani Guam Convention Center this morning. In attendance were representatives from the public and private sectors, including student youths and young entrepreneurs.

On our economy, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist and Business Continuity Officer, Joseph Bradley’s outlook presentation takes into consideration global economic activities and their impacts on Guam, like China’s Belt and Road Initiative, “Brexit”, escalating US-China tariff friction, and oil prices, which directly effect energy costs.

According to Bradley, our economy is flat and has been at a crawl since 1998, with only weak increases in our Gross Domestic Product. He says despite our tourism arrival numbers being at record highs, that is not nearly as important as how much they spend and how many jobs they create.

He added that the rate of jobs created fails to meet the needs of our rising population, citing the number of civil construction constrains the formation and expansion of new and existing business necessary for new opportunities – not to mention consumer prices rising faster than earnings and likely increases in energy costs.

But we can do our part to soften the blow by learning how to live more sustainably, which is what Bank of Guam, President and Chief Executive Officer, Joaquin Cook says was the focus of the panel discussion.

Cook pointed out the importance of leading sustainable lifestyles and supporting the efforts of young entrepreneurs helping to conserve our island’s environment.

“A great example of that is Dylan and Kylie Baker. They’re 12-year-olds and they started a foundation about installing water-refuel stations around the island. That was their idea that they came up with and now thy’re actually doing it so,” Cook said.

“One young lady said she closes her office every Wednesday and they all go and do a beach cleanup, you know that’s pretty impressive,” he added.

Cook said “The biggest take-away from that is education, being aware of the importance of sustainability, and also understanding that sustainability isn’t just environmental protection that’s a big thing because that’s what we hear about, but it’s what can we do to make sure as a community we’re taking care of each other.”