Davos Dissected

Collaboration is key. That was one of the main takeaways of the 53rd Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. 

Here were some of the event’s other core themes:

  • A New System for Dialogue and Cooperation in a Multipolar World: Last week’s discussions more than once promoted a stakeholder-oriented approach where collaboration plays a central role in coping with a multitude of significant crises. Companies are now recognizing that they can no longer prioritize profits over all other considerations.
  • A New System for Energy, Climate and Nature: Sustainability, energy resilience and achieving net-zero targets took center stage, with panel sessions covering topics like green investment, climate reporting and accounting, greenwashing and new climate projects. The need for a collective and collaborative approach—with strong emphasis on public-private partnerships and involving those most affected by climate change and migration—were underscored. But data reliability and mounting regulatory pressures around ESG remain headwinds.
  • A New System for Investment, Trade and Infrastructure: The global economy is in turmoil, with many experts, including Christine Lagarde, seeing no short-term end to the current inflationary environment and continued restrictive measures. With geopolitical tensions back at an all-time high and President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act a potential pathway to protectionism, “opening up to the world is a must, not an expediency”, said Liu He, Vice Premier of China.
  • A New System for Harnessing Frontier Technologies for Private Sector Innovation and Resilience: Discussions centered on how AI and machine learning, especially ChatGPT, can drive productivity gains; the importance of preparing companies against cyberattacks; what role cleantech (with a surprising focus on green hydrogen) and fertilizers play in fueling the transformation and how data processing and blockchain can aid companies in assessing, analyzing, and improving their environmental impact.

Despite ongoing criticism, the WEF is expected to again serve as the major corporate and political gathering in 2024.