The Boao Forum for Asia is necessary to bring all Asia together, as one cohesive unit for the betterment of humanity, Andrew Forrest, Chairman of Australia’s Iron Ore giant Fortescue Metals Group, has said.
Forrest, also a member of the BFA Council of Advisory, made the remarks in a recent interview with Xinhua before this year’s annual BFA conference, which will take place on April 18-21 in the coastal town of Boao in China’s southernmost Hainan Province and celebrate its 20th anniversary.
As one of the world’s largest iron ore producers, Fortescue witnessed the fast growth of China and the Asia-Pacific region, which prompted its 13-year cooperation with BFA. This year Fortescue became a strategic sponsor for the BFA.
“I believed over 30 years ago that China had an enormous future, that the era of China had begun. And so I’m really delighted now to have created a company, which was here to serve that new era of China,” Forrest said.
Founded in 2001, the BFA is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries closer to their development goals.
The BFA Conference this year will focus on global governance and the Belt & Road Initiative, and aims to build further consensus on and inject further impetus into global development and governance in the post-pandemic era.
With the company setting an ambitious plan to become carbon neutral by 2030, Forrest believes that “clean green energy” will be a keyword for future global development and bring more cooperation opportunities for Fortescue and China.
“We know that the world is warming, and we must stop it. So, we as a very large business, have decided to make our operations green, save operating costs, be more competitive, and set the example for all the other industrial platforms in the world to follow suit,” Forrest said.
“Clean green energy is the future of the world. We’d like to work with China to establish sources of pure renewable energy to create green hydrogen, green ammonia and green electricity.”
This year’s BFA annual conference will be held mainly in Boao, but some sections will be held online due to pandemic control and travel restrictions.
Forrest spoke highly of the anti-pandemic work done by China and Australia and expressed confidence in China’s recovery in the post-pandemic era.
“I think Australia and China have done really well with the coronavirus. Those who have got through first have an obligation to help others get out of it. And then, together, humanity will be able to grow and prosper,” he said.
“Globally important economies like China are able to lead the rest of the world out of the coronavirus pandemic. Then ourselves, as a major supporter, major supplier and a long-standing and loyal friend of China, we hope to be able to grow with you,” he said.