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Davos 2020 economic forum to focus on environmental risks

EPA-EFE/GIAN EHRENZELLER
Businessmen cast shadows during the 48th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, WEF, in Davos, Switzerland, 24 January 2018. The meeting brings together enterpreneurs, scientists, chief executive and political leaders in Davos January 23 to 26.

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Presidents, heads of state and global business leaders gathered in in the Alpine resort town of Davos, Switzerland, for the annual economic and political summit. The summit began as a business forum, but evolved in an event for policymakers and activists.
Among the attendees of the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) are EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, ECB president Christine Lagarde, German chancellor Angela Merkel, and Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The event is invitation-only. The attendees also include US president Donald Trump, climate activist Greta Thunberg, UN chief António Guterres, Director-General of the WTO, Roberto Azevêdo, and NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg.
WEF founder, professor Klaus Schwab, said 2020 is a year of vital importance, with the central teme being ‘Stakeholder Capitalism’.
Schwab explained the three models of capitalism: “shareholder capitalism,” that aims to maximize its profits, “state capitalism,” in which the government sets the direction of the economy, such as China, and “stakeholder capitalism”, which is quickly gaining ground, partially due to efforts of activists such as Greta Thunberg. He said that, with this kind of capitalism, business leaders have the opportunity to bring the world closer to achieving shared goals, such as those outlined in the Paris climate agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.
The WEF therefore launched a new Davos Manifesto for a better kind of capitalism, which includes environmental, social, and governance goals as a complement to standard financial metrics: “The World Economic Forum is releasing a new Davos Manifesto, which states that companies should pay their fair share of taxes, show zero tolerance for corruption, uphold human rights throughout their global supply chains, and advocate for a competitive level playing field”, Schwab said.
The WEF also published its Social Mobility Report 2020, which measures 82 economies in five categories: health, education, technology, work and social protection. It finds that in an era of technological change, inequality is likely to worsen, and suggests that businesses must take the lead by improving working conditions and paying fair wages.  In order to achieve successful stakeholder capitalism, the report calls for a new financial model for social mobility, lifelong learning, and a new kind of social protection, that will support job transitions.
Environmental concerns
Trump and Thunberg will both speak on the opening day. Schwab added that Trump is welcome because of his importance on the world stage, while Thunberg will keep the focus on the environment.
Last week, WEF said that environmental issues are among the top five long-term risks confronting the global economy. However, Trump’s administration disregards scientists’ concerns about man-made climate change.
Scwab, however, said that public awareness about climate change is rising: “The environment will play a particularly important role during this meeting”, he announced, adding that many companies are increasingly seeing the benefits of environmental, social and governance concerns in their business models.

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