World Economic Forum Annual Meeting Davos 2016

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Article
8 February 2016

Urgency of climate risks lost for many participants at World Economic Forum

Author: Steve Zwick, Huffington Post

"In Davos, Big Business Sends Mixed Signals on Climate Amid Calls for Carbon Pricing", 25 Jan 2016

Feike Sijbesma, CEO of…Royal DSM, was…at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. "You must be really blind if you don't see that we are at a tipping point and into a transition," he said, referring to the shift from a fossil fuel economy to a renewable one…Few of the more than 300 discussions in Davos touched on climate risk…More than a thousand major companies and investors now advocate a price on carbon…For many delegates to the WEF, however, the urgency was lost…The oil and gas sector has taken…hits in the past two years - first, when…shareholders concluded that oil-and-gas companies would have to write off reserves…and then when prices plunged over the last year…Stuart Gulliver of HSBC warned that much of the developing world would remain dependent on coal for the near future, and urged companies to engineer a thoughtful transition…[Also refers to IKEA and Total.]

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Article
26 January 2016

Civil society forms alliance to tackle root causes of inequality

Author: ActionAid, ACT Alliance, Amnesty International, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), CIDSE, CIVICUS, Greenpeace, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Oxfam

"Inequality Alliance Joint Public Statement", 20 Jan 2016

Struggles for a better world are all threatened by the inequality crisis...at the time when the international community has agreed a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (Agenda 2030), and has come together to discuss financing development and crucially the Climate Change Accord in Paris where every country agreed to work together to combat climate change...We know that existing commitments, and much more beyond that must be done, will not be realised without a fight. That is why today we are coming together as the beginnings of a global alliance to fight inequality...

We will work together with others to tackle the root causes of inequality, whether they be economic, political, social or cultural. We will press governments to meet their obligations to ensure people can enjoy their rights to health, education and other essential public services through tackling tax dodging and ensuring progressive tax and spend policies. We will support workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and narrow the gap between rich and poor. We will fight for the redistribution of women’s unequal share of unpaid care work, and the tackling of violence against women brought on by state repression and rising fundamentalism. We will advocate for universal social protection floors. We will fight for land reform. We will work together to challenge the disproportionate power and practices of the corporate sector that is undermining so many struggles, contributing to human rights violations and increasing inequality across the globe. We will work together with others to secure climate justice. We will take on the power of corporations, including fossil fuel companies who are undermining efforts which respond to science and protect people and planet. We will together champion international cooperation so every country plays its part and we avoid a race to the bottom...

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Article
25 January 2016

CEOs at World Economic Forum still do not see climate change as a major threat to growth

Author: Tom Levitt, Guardian (UK)

"Climate change fails to top list of threats for business leaders at Davos", 20 Jan 2016

The high profile UN summit on climate change in Paris appears to have had little impact on the decision making and worries of global business leaders…[C]limate change failed to register near the top of the list of business threats, according to a survey of 1,400 CEOs from around the world compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)…[C]limate change and environmental damage was mentioned as a threat to business growth by just 50% of CEOs…[A] separate survey of 13,000 business leaders produced by the World Economic Forum (WEF)…also found a relative absence of concern about climate change and environmental risk amongst business leaders…“No executive considers failure of climate mitigation and adaptation as the number one risk for doing business in his/her country,” states the report. By contrast, a wider survey of economists, academics and civil society also produced by the WEF listed climate change as the biggest potential threat to the global economy in 2016…

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Article
25 January 2016

Tesco campaign to minimise global food waste launched at World Economic Forum

Author: Terry Slavin, Guardian (UK)

"Tesco CEO heads up global food waste campaign launched at Davos", 21 Jan 2016

…At the World Economic Forum…Tesco CEO Dave Lewis is chair of a coalition of 30 leaders…who want to prompt action to reduce the third of all food produced which is never consumed. Such volumes result from…overproduction and wastage in the west and spoilage in developing countries. Craig Hanson…at the World Resources Institute (WRI), says the aim of the campaign, Champions 12.3, is to build political momentum towards sustainable development goal 12.3 to halve per capita global food waste levels by 2030...Mamadou Biteye, head of the [Rockefeller] Foundation’s work in Africa, says hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers in Africa lose 15-42% of their fruit and vegetable crops due to…inability to link to sustainable markets…Tesco…has moved forward with initiatives such as committing to use the entire crop of its banana suppliers…At a recent conference, WRI president Andrew Steer also highlighted the significant contribution food waste makes to greenhouse gas emissions. “If food loss and waste was a country, it would be the third worst polluting country in the world, behind China and the US,” he said...Tesco’s decision to stock Kenyan beans that haven’t been chopped down to size…saved one supplier €70,000 (£50,000) a year in extra income…[Also refers to Morrisons.]

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Article
25 January 2016

Walmart & HSBC discuss why responding to climate change responsibly is profitable at World Economic Forum

Author: Saabira Chaudhuri, NASDAQ

"Wal-Mart CEO: Responding to Climate Issues Boosts Profitability", 20 Jan 2016

Wal-Mart Stores Inc…Chief Executive Doug McMillon said being responsive to the issues linked to climate change makes for a more profitable business. Speaking at a panel discussion on the responsibility of business leaders regarding climate-change issues…as part of the World Economic Forum…Mr. McMillon…said Wal-Mart can make any number of decisions to reduce its environmental footprint…Wal-Mart in 2010 set environmental targets around using renewable energy, eliminating waste, and making product packaging more sustainable…Speaking as part of the same panel, Stuart Gulliver, the CEO of HSBC Holdings PLC (HSBC), said it is important for banks to work with fossil-fuel companies. Mining and oil-and-gas companies are major tax contributors to developing nations, while also contributing to employment and pensions, he said…He said green projects have a "vast" financing requirement in which banks can participate, and as the area develops, costs will inevitably fall. [Also refers to Johnson & Johnson.]

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Article
25 January 2016

World Economic Forum challenged to improve its own gender balance in order to tackle global digital gender divide

Author: Henrietta Moore, Guardian (UK)

"Davos: how can an event that's 82% male solve the digital gender divide?", 19 Jan 2016

…[T]he World Economic Forum’s annual meeting…this year focuses on the transforming power of technology…Last year’s delegate list was 83% male…And this year the female quotient has only increased by 1%. So while transforming the…future…through technology is a worthy topic for debate…[t]oo many women are being excluded from the technological revolution…It’s vital that this industrial revolution doesn’t entrench gender divides. The digital exclusion of women is primarily a product of social inequalities…This…digital exclusion…can restrict women’s ability to gain employment and use digital health and education services…Extra income derived from digital access for women is often invested back into families and communities…[B]usiness in general has been slow to help break down the digital divide…The WEF claims gender parity is one of its key global issues…But a group that is so male…needs to be more representative if it is to fulfil its remit as the “World” Economic Forum…[Also refers to Google and Intel.]

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Article
22 January 2016

Discussion of LGBT issues at World Economic Forum is important to address ongoing discrimination, says Dan Bross of Microsoft

Author: Dan Bross, Microsoft, on Huffington Post (USA)

"Homophobia to Hope: My 30 Years of Being Out and Proud In the Corporate World", 13 Jan 2016

…[W]hen I was living in Houston, Texas…[t]he mayor…drove a progressive policy agenda…including an ordinance to end discrimination in the hiring of…employees based on their sexual orientation…However…a number of…business leaders came together to…overturn the Council's vote…At the time I was gay by night but straight by day…So…I nodded quiet approval…[to] the financial support the company would provide to the repeal effort…That evening I called the equality campaign and began raising money…Sadly…the non-discrimination ordinance was repealed…I left the company…In a number of countries, homosexual relationships and expression is still considered a crime…This is why the discussions we will be having on LGBT issues in Davos later this month are so important. Thought-leading companies working in partnership with civil society organizations…have the opportunity…to shine a bright light on the business and social value of diversity and inclusion… At Microsoft, we believe diversity…helps drive our business and our bottom line…

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Article
22 January 2016

Public Eye Awards stops "most irresponsible company" vote as advocates say World Economic Forum is losing legitimacy

Author: Samuel Oakford, Vice News

"This Year in Davos, Opponents Aren't Even Bothering to Protest", 20 Jan 2016

…[T]his week on the World Economic Forum…one group is notably absent: protesters…For the first time in a decade…the Public Eye Awards will not hold voting to determine "the most irresponsible company of the year." …[T]he awards…offer what its organizers considered a needed check on the CEOs and bankers…"We ended the Public Eye…because…[the WEF] doesn't warrant that level of counter-activity because it's losing legitimacy," said Daniel Mittler, political director for Greenpeace International…[M]any activists still see the WEF meeting…as a problem…saying that the annual Davos event…has no regulatory power…[T]he forum…is still funded by huge multinational corporations, many of which continue to be cited for their labor and environmental practices, or for not paying…their fair share of taxes…As for Oxfam, the group's executive director Winnie Byanyima said…the business community at Davos was at least now willing to engage on inequality…[Also refers to Blackrock, Chevron, Citi, Disney, Dow Chemical, Facebook, Glencore, Goldman Sachs, KPMG International, Novartis, Royal Dutch Shell, Volkswagen, and Wal-Mart.]

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Article
19 January 2016

8 themes to be discussed at the World Economic Forum include migration, climate change, inequality & privacy rights

Author: Graeme Wearden, Guardian (UK)

"Davos 2016: eight key themes for the World Economic Forum", 19 Jan 2016

…[T]he World Economic Forum’s annual conference begins on Tuesday evening. The…debate will focus on the following themes…The…rise of automation and ever more intelligent machines…[T]he growing migration crisis…The stock market rout of 2016 has already made a small dent in the large fortunes of the Davos elite. So there will be plenty of nervous chatter…The WEF hopes to build on the Paris climate deal…by examining how governments and businesses can work together to cut carbon emissions…Turmoil in the Middle East and in the markets has pushed the eurozone debt problems down the agenda…This annual gathering of the global elite is a perfect opportunity to remind them about wealth inequality…Last week, Biden said “cancer politics” were holding back progress…Davos is an opportunity to push that message. Davos will see a clash between the authorities, which want closer control of our digital communications, and campaigners, who fear privacy is being eroded…[Also refers to Alibaba, BAE Systems, Facebook, Merck, and Microsoft.]

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Article
19 January 2016

Commentary: The potential impact of the "fourth industrial revolution" on inequality, security, freedom of expression

Author: Nicholas Davis, World Economic Forum

"What is the fourth industrial revolution?", 19 Jan 2016

…[W]e are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new era that builds and extends the impact of digitization in new and unanticipated ways…[T]here are three big areas of concern:…

1. Inequality

The richest 1% of the population now owns half of all household wealth…[G]lobally connected digital platforms tend to grant outsized rewards to a small number of star products and services…Perhaps the most discussed driver of inequality is the potential for the Fourth Industrial Revolution to increase unemployment…Shifts in employment and skills may also increase gender inequality…

2. Security

Increasing inequality…creates security concerns for both citizens and states…[A] hyper-connected world, when combined with rising inequality, could lead to…social unrest…

3. Identity, voice and community

…Already, digital media is increasingly…connecting people to individuals and groups in new ways…[C]ontroversial or anti-establishment views can be further undermined by states and other actors willing to use new technologies and platforms to restrict speech and harass citizens…

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