.
W

hile day one of the Davos Agenda highlighted the need for global cooperation and trust in order to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, restore the global economy, and address issues with inequality, day two of the forum saw world leaders emphasizing the critical importance of continued multilateralism beyond COVID-19 in order to address our world’s next biggest challenge: climate change.

Addressing Multiple Pandemics

In a special address by Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, he warns how “extreme poverty is expected to rise globally for the first time in twenty years as the disruption caused by the pandemic exacerbates the effects of conflict, climate change and underdevelopment,” and how our task therefore is “not to restore the world to where it was when the pandemic struck, but to forge a new path and a new design to a world that is just, peaceful, cohesive, resilient and sustainable.” He insists this can only be achieved through multilateral action, as “the pandemic has underscored the vital importance of multilateral institutions working together in facilitating coordination, cooperation and common responses to challenges.”

Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel also addresses the need for international cooperation, as “it’s a clear and present danger that we [may] all become inward-looking after this pandemic…and that we industrialized countries [may] concentrate on our own policies and not care for developing countries,” and how this must be avoided at all costs. She states how “the pandemic has made it very clear to all of us that discussing, debating and intellectual change are important, but the pandemic has also shown very clearly that now’s the time for action” not only in regards to COVID-19, but especially in regards to the climate crisis.

Indeed, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, also warns that if we don’t urgently act to protect nature and the human population, the next pandemic will be just around the corner—and for those who insist on a business case for protecting our environment, she states how “more than half of global GDP is dependent on high functioning biodiversity and ecosystems, [including everything] from food to tourism,” showing how a healthy planet, a healthy population and a healthy economy go hand-in-hand.

Emmanuel Macron, President of France, also underscored the human aspect of the economy, stating how “you cannot think about the economy without thinking first about human beings,” and how the COVID-19 pandemic did the unthinkable in demonstrating how countries did manage to “stop all economic activities to save lives.” He finally states that this demonstrates how “the economy is a moral science, and therefore the lives of people are more important than figures.”

Amongst the world leaders who made a special appearance on day two of the Davos agenda, all members insisted on the importance of equal distribution and universal access to the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, with President Ramaphosa warning against vaccine nationalism and insisting countries who have acquired vaccines in excess to release the vaccines. Similarly, many of the leaders echoed similar views that regulations regarding transformative technologies such as social media and artificial intelligence must come to the forefront of debate again. Lastly, in terms of the environment, a general consensus was also made that not only should the Paris Agreement be upheld by every country and continue forward at a more serious pace, but that actors from every sector focus on creating unique solutions to the climate crisis.

Stakeholder Capitalism & ESGs

Another highlight of day two of the Davos Agenda was the announcement of the commitment made by 61 business leaders from across industries to subscribe to the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, a set of environmental, social and governance (EGS) metrics that measure long-term value for all stakeholders. According to the report, with these metrics, companies can measure and report performance regarding non-financial aspects such as their impact on the environment, society and government, as well as a general pledge to take into account the wellbeing of all of their stakeholders as well as society as a whole.

Indeed, as Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, states in his book Stakeholder Capitalism, “stakeholder capitalism is needed to create a better world that serves people and planet.” In a panel on implementing stakeholder capitalism, Ilham Kadri, Chief Executive Officer of the Executive Committee at Solvay, states that having a common language surrounding these metrics will be a significant step forward, and further applauds the ESGs as “metrics [that] help encourage cooperation, restore trust and boost transparency…they will create a global baseline that all citizens can relate to.” Chairman of Mahindra Group Anand Mahindra also agrees how this stakeholder-centered philosophy is best for companies in the long run, as “the biggest growth opportunity for companies comes in serving the bottom of the pyramid,” and therefore the ESGs “[are] how we [can] serve the needs of a rising population.”

A similar panel highlighted how especially over the past year, “CEOs are more committed to running businesses for all stakeholders, not just shareholders,” says Marc Benioff, Chair and Chief Executive Officer at Salesforce, and how “in the pandemic, it was CEOs in many cases all over the world who were the heroes.” Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock Inc. similarly states how we can “see a widening gap between the best performing and worst [in 2020], much of the difference caused by stakeholder capitalism.”

With day two of Davos 2021 largely focusing on how it will take the effort of every country, society and business to overcome the challenge of climate change, it is clear it will take the same global effort being demonstrated in our battle against the COVID-19 pandemic—if not more—in order to save our planet.

About
Winona Roylance
:
Winona Roylance is Diplomatic Courier's senior correspondent in Asia and a senior contributing editor.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

a global affairs media network

www.diplomaticourier.com

Davos Agenda Day Two: Driving Responsible Industry Transformation and Growth

Photo by Karsten Wurth via Unsplash.

January 26, 2021

W

hile day one of the Davos Agenda highlighted the need for global cooperation and trust in order to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, restore the global economy, and address issues with inequality, day two of the forum saw world leaders emphasizing the critical importance of continued multilateralism beyond COVID-19 in order to address our world’s next biggest challenge: climate change.

Addressing Multiple Pandemics

In a special address by Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, he warns how “extreme poverty is expected to rise globally for the first time in twenty years as the disruption caused by the pandemic exacerbates the effects of conflict, climate change and underdevelopment,” and how our task therefore is “not to restore the world to where it was when the pandemic struck, but to forge a new path and a new design to a world that is just, peaceful, cohesive, resilient and sustainable.” He insists this can only be achieved through multilateral action, as “the pandemic has underscored the vital importance of multilateral institutions working together in facilitating coordination, cooperation and common responses to challenges.”

Federal Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel also addresses the need for international cooperation, as “it’s a clear and present danger that we [may] all become inward-looking after this pandemic…and that we industrialized countries [may] concentrate on our own policies and not care for developing countries,” and how this must be avoided at all costs. She states how “the pandemic has made it very clear to all of us that discussing, debating and intellectual change are important, but the pandemic has also shown very clearly that now’s the time for action” not only in regards to COVID-19, but especially in regards to the climate crisis.

Indeed, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, also warns that if we don’t urgently act to protect nature and the human population, the next pandemic will be just around the corner—and for those who insist on a business case for protecting our environment, she states how “more than half of global GDP is dependent on high functioning biodiversity and ecosystems, [including everything] from food to tourism,” showing how a healthy planet, a healthy population and a healthy economy go hand-in-hand.

Emmanuel Macron, President of France, also underscored the human aspect of the economy, stating how “you cannot think about the economy without thinking first about human beings,” and how the COVID-19 pandemic did the unthinkable in demonstrating how countries did manage to “stop all economic activities to save lives.” He finally states that this demonstrates how “the economy is a moral science, and therefore the lives of people are more important than figures.”

Amongst the world leaders who made a special appearance on day two of the Davos agenda, all members insisted on the importance of equal distribution and universal access to the COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, with President Ramaphosa warning against vaccine nationalism and insisting countries who have acquired vaccines in excess to release the vaccines. Similarly, many of the leaders echoed similar views that regulations regarding transformative technologies such as social media and artificial intelligence must come to the forefront of debate again. Lastly, in terms of the environment, a general consensus was also made that not only should the Paris Agreement be upheld by every country and continue forward at a more serious pace, but that actors from every sector focus on creating unique solutions to the climate crisis.

Stakeholder Capitalism & ESGs

Another highlight of day two of the Davos Agenda was the announcement of the commitment made by 61 business leaders from across industries to subscribe to the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, a set of environmental, social and governance (EGS) metrics that measure long-term value for all stakeholders. According to the report, with these metrics, companies can measure and report performance regarding non-financial aspects such as their impact on the environment, society and government, as well as a general pledge to take into account the wellbeing of all of their stakeholders as well as society as a whole.

Indeed, as Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, states in his book Stakeholder Capitalism, “stakeholder capitalism is needed to create a better world that serves people and planet.” In a panel on implementing stakeholder capitalism, Ilham Kadri, Chief Executive Officer of the Executive Committee at Solvay, states that having a common language surrounding these metrics will be a significant step forward, and further applauds the ESGs as “metrics [that] help encourage cooperation, restore trust and boost transparency…they will create a global baseline that all citizens can relate to.” Chairman of Mahindra Group Anand Mahindra also agrees how this stakeholder-centered philosophy is best for companies in the long run, as “the biggest growth opportunity for companies comes in serving the bottom of the pyramid,” and therefore the ESGs “[are] how we [can] serve the needs of a rising population.”

A similar panel highlighted how especially over the past year, “CEOs are more committed to running businesses for all stakeholders, not just shareholders,” says Marc Benioff, Chair and Chief Executive Officer at Salesforce, and how “in the pandemic, it was CEOs in many cases all over the world who were the heroes.” Laurence D. Fink, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BlackRock Inc. similarly states how we can “see a widening gap between the best performing and worst [in 2020], much of the difference caused by stakeholder capitalism.”

With day two of Davos 2021 largely focusing on how it will take the effort of every country, society and business to overcome the challenge of climate change, it is clear it will take the same global effort being demonstrated in our battle against the COVID-19 pandemic—if not more—in order to save our planet.

About
Winona Roylance
:
Winona Roylance is Diplomatic Courier's senior correspondent in Asia and a senior contributing editor.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.