The Law Society of Scotland will hold a workshop on how trade policy can respond to changing expectations of Millennials and Generation Z as consumers and clients in the international business environment. The event will take place during the WTO Public Forum 2019 in Geneva on 10 October. The Public Forum is a four-day event that includes workshops and working sessions organised by stakeholders from all WTO member countries, as well as from external organisations.


Generation Z and Millennials are increasingly globalist in outlook, and motivated and engaged by social and environmental responsibility in the wake of increasing concerns around climate change. Driven by incessant interconnectedness, they are used to a virtual digital world without borders where new income streams and business models, including social enterprises are the norm.

Increasingly Millennials and Generation Z base their purchasing decisions on ethical considerations and are also more likely to consider a potential employer’s ethical position. Business must adapt to meet these expectations if they are to succeed. Similarly, if the trade agenda is to remain relevant, it needs to look at the direction of travel to ensure that any new trade agreements, such as the recently commenced e-commerce negotiations, satisfy new types of businesses.

The session will look at the trends outlined above and see what impact they are likely to have on the current and future trade agenda. It will start by exploring what tech-savvy Millennials and Generation Z will look for from businesses as consumers, clients and employees in terms of environmental and social responsibility. It will then consider how businesses are adapting, including the impact of this shift on, and future opportunities for, developing countries. Finally, panellists will consider what this means for the trade policy agenda, and how we can incorporate ethical issues into trade policy discussions at the multilateral level to engage and serve next generation businesses. More specifically, it will examine what international legal and policy instruments address or could address the expectations of new generations, for example the future disciplines on e-commerce that are currently being negotiated within the WTO.

The event will be chaired by Carolyn Thurston Smith, trade policy lead for the Law Society of Scotland, the professional body for solicitors in Scotland. The panellists include:

- Faith Tigere, international trade and investment professional;

- George Riddell, Associate Director of International Trade Policy, Deloitte LLP;

- Anna Drozd, EU Policy Adviser, Brussels office of the UK Law Societies; and

- Anna Widegren, Secretary General of the European Youth Forum.