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  • Press Release

UL Participates in Forum to Discuss the Future of Global Cities

May 26, 2015

NORTHBROOK, Ill., May 26, 2015 — UL, a global safety science leader, will join the Chicago Forum on Global Cities this week to bring UL’s perspective to the future of global cities. Today’s cities face a number of security challenges, such as cybersecurity and energy grid stability, which leaders must solve to maintain and build safe and resilient communities. UL CEO Keith Williams will share the company’s safety perspective on these topics as part of the forum’s panel on “Safer Cities: Security and Vulnerability.”

The three-day forum, hosted by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Financial Times, will bring together leaders—business innovators, educational visionaries, cultural luminaries and civic pioneers—to discuss how they can collaborate to improve their cities. The “Safer Cities: Security and Vulnerability” panel will convene May 28 and will be live-streamed.

Moderated by Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of the Financial Times, the panel will also include Edward Davis, President and CEO, Edward Davis, LLC; Mark Filip, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis, and former deputy attorney general of the United States; Khoo Boon Hui, senior advisor, ministry of home affairs, Singapore, and former president of INTERPOL; and Wong Chun Kau, Jolly, adjunct professor, Institute of Smart City, Shanghai University and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

“Modern cities face a number of pressures in protecting their ecosystems – from job growth to environmental sustainability,” said Keith Williams, UL CEO. “Mutual dialogue between public and private sectors – from those who plan and build cities to the businesses that employ residents – is necessary in order to enable the optimal well-being of our future cities. While each representative in a city’s ecosystem brings varied perspectives to the conversation, safety is a critical component in that dialogue.”

Cities invest billions of dollars each year in safe and reliable infrastructure and systems in order to maintain their populations and attract new residents. However, a duality of benefits and risks from new technologies in areas such as data security and energy grid stability needs to be balanced continually.

Since its inception, UL has been dedicated to promoting safe living and working environments by understanding both the risks and opportunities as new innovations come to market. Today, UL’s safety science expertise guides the safe development of the fundamental aspects of global cities—energy efficiency, data security, and building and transportation safety. For example, UL works with public partners to evaluate the impact of energy technologies and better understand key considerations for the safe design of new products. Moreover, as the lines between physical and digital risks in “connected” cities continue to blur, UL is working with manufacturers to help ensure new technologies and platforms have security measures designed in to keep individuals and businesses safe.

As established and emerging cities consider how to compete for new investment and talent, many in government and the private sectors believe “connected” and “smart cities” are essential to differentiation as evidenced by projects such as India’s “smart cities” initiative and smart lighting implementations in France.

“In the global cities movement, each city is defined by its key strengths and attributes – from sustainability to efficient infrastructure, which helps attract more companies and people,” said Williams. “Whatever the city’s strengths may be, government and business sectors will reimagine how they collaborate to address the benefits and risks in building a safe, smart and resilient city.”

About UL

UL is a premier global independent safety science company that has championed progress for more than 120 years. Its nearly 11,000 professionals are guided by the UL mission to promote safe working and living environments for all people. UL uses research and standards to continually advance and meet ever-evolving safety needs. We partner with businesses, manufacturers, trade associations and international regulatory authorities to bring solutions to a more complex global supply chain. For more information about our certification, testing, inspection, advisory and education services, visit