By Chris Donkin

Industry chiefs unite in times of conflict

Industry bosses underlined the need for ethical leadership during periods of turmoil and the use of technology to advance society, as the ongoing war in Ukraine provided a sobering backdrop from MWC22 Barcelona’s opening keynote.

Vodafone Group CEO Nick Read, GSMA Director General Mats Granryd (pictured), and Telefonica Chairman and CEO Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete all commented on the Ukraine situation in the opening session of the event.

“With the backdrop of the Ukraine war it’s a conference like this that reminds me of the importance of global sectors and communities like ours working to advance society,” Read said.

Discussing the mobile industry’s role in using technology for good, he added: “The most pressing issue is clearly the war in Ukraine. It adds to the world facing political, economic, social and environmental turmoil all at the same time. We are all going to have to dig very deep to overcome these challenges. As an industry it is our obligation to do our part and through our technology we clearly have a lot to offer.”

The comments came after Granryd said event organiser GSMA “strongly condemns the Russian invasion of Ukraine” to applause in the hall. His comments followed a statement made on the issue by the association announcing there would be no Russian pavilion at MWC22. Alvarez-Pallete referenced the conflict while discussing the need for ethical use of technology. “

The link between material progress and ethical progress has been blurred” he said, noting “disconcerting events at the dawn of the 21st century such as what is happening right now in Ukraine have reminded us that technology lacks values.”

In his closing remarks discussing the general need for industry collaboration and a sustainable world, Alvarez-Pallete added “this is not a time for confrontation nor for conflict. This is not a time for war.”