The groundbreaking format of BIR’s signature series “The Challenge” with host Michael Lion (Chairman of the International Trade Council) and resident co-anchor contributors Mark Sellier and Murat Bayram (The Three Amigos) enthralled a packed audience edition of the TV chat show styled event on 23 May, which was also uniquely a Convention session simultaneously broadcast via the BIR website, thus connecting with travel bereft members, and with its free-to-air feature also reaching all tangential interested commodity, financial and recycling related stakeholders.
As host Lion noted at the outset, the edition’s title “Keeping Ahead of The Curve” underscored the show’s cutting edge and prescient content goal and reputation, having with its February edition previously addressed the looming spectre – now a reality – of the twin curses of energy related inflation and potential recession, the dreaded “stagflation”.
Consistent with the programme’s on-going commitment to topicality, the Three Amigos focused in their prequel to the star guest conversation segment on the twin current cross-commodity vexatious issues of continuing global supply chain and logistics disruptions and inflated costs, as outlined by Mark Sellier, and the other vastly troubling looming threat of regulatory and export controls, especially those related to the EU’s current reflections in the context of the Circular Economy, as depicted by Murat Bayram and expressed by him with his admired typical articulation, verve and passion so essential to emphasizing how dire the threats to global recycling may be going forward.
Turning to the introduction of the edition’s star guest, host Lion brought on bestselling business book author and renowned senior commodity journalist at Bloomberg, Jack Farchy.
As Lion noted, Farchy’s blockbuster tour de force work, entitled “The World for Sale” rips off the lid on the opaque and secretive story of the globe’s leading commodity characters and players – from its scrap-related origins early last century through to the behemoths that are only now so manifestly impacting every facet of our daily existence.
The ensuing wild ride conversation between Jack and The Three Amigos – ranging from larger-than-life cases with the book’s at times superbly engaging, almost Jason Bourne like narrative – addressed massive economic impact activities and sometime ethically challenging behavior. Even the current LME turbulence was vigorously analyzed in this wide-ranging and fascinating conversation, ultimately begging the question should greater regulatory oversight of this sector be imposed, with Farchy leaning in this direction while Lion, leading from the alternatively nuanced viewpoint, cited the past record of government interference being consistently historically both incompetent and damagingly incoherent, and at last begging the question, were the players ultimately heroes or villains? Both star guest Farchy and Lion agreed the often contradictory record left them conflicted in their judgment on this.
In the final segment, the now established show’s wrap via one-minute “hot seat” interviews by host Lion with a range of attending guests reflected the shows message of crucial industry concerns, as well as exuding the genuine thrill of this signal post-COVID convention, and most of all their tremendous admiration for the star guest conversation.
The show was indeed greeted with enormous excitement and enthusiasm by its spellbound audience, leaving no doubt that “The Challenge” has truly cemented its crucial role as the leading international messaging influencer for the global recycling industry and is indeed “Keeping Ahead of The Curve”!
"The Challenge" team:
President, Everwell Resources Ltd (CHN)
President, Global Metals Network Limited (CHN)
Managing Director Non-Ferrous Europe, European Metal Recycling Ltd (GBR)
With their invited guest:
Bloomberg News Senior Editor
co-author of “The World for Sale”
Jack Farchy is a senior reporter at Bloomberg News covering energy and commodities. He previously worked for the Financial Times, with stints as the paper’s correspondent in Moscow and as its metals reporter. He writes often about the metals and mining industry.
Jack co-authored the book “The World for Sale” with Javier Blas, a columnist at Bloomberg focusing on energy and commodities.
The World for Sale tells the story of the commodity trading industry, recounting how companies like Glencore, Trafigura, Vitol and Cargill got to where they are today. It's based on many years of reporting, encompassing more than 100 interviews with top traders as well as thousands of pages of unpublished financial documents. Javier and Jack have for a long time been surprised by how little has been written about the history of the industry, and with The World for Sale they've attempted to fill that gap.
The book explains not just the origins of these companies and how they make their money, but also the wider role they’ve played in shaping the global economy and in political events – tracing their involvement in everything from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the rise of China. And it argues that the commodity traders are too important for the world and its politicians and regulators to continue to ignore.
Bradley Hope, co-author of Billion Dollar Whale, called it "The definitive, eye-opening story of the most powerful and secretive traders in the world”. The Economist review described it as “gripping”, while the Financial Times said it was “educational and entertaining” and had “a thriller-like quality”. It was shortlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award, and was named as a book of the year by the FT and the Economist.