Leaders act to drive recovery in 2021

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

The event was held under the theme ‘A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust’ and covered the need for greater collaboration, placing a green agenda at the heart of economic recoveries and the use of technology to help achieve this. PHOTO: Supplied

Heads of state, chief executives, society leaders and media participated in 140 sessions at the first virtual Davos Agenda dedicated to helping leaders choose solutions to end the pandemic and drive recovery over the next year. The event, held from 25 to 29 January under the theme ‘A Crucial Year to Rebuild Trust’, considered the need for greater collaboration, placing sustainability and a green agenda at the heart of economic recoveries and the use of technology to help achieve this.

Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum says we need to move from a world which is just based on material objectives, to one that is much more conscious of the wellbeing of people. He says we are witnessing a mindset shift from short-term profit maximization, to a world that is much more characterized by stakeholder responsibility.

“The pandemic has shown that companies committing to stakeholder capitalism perform much better because they invest in the long-term viability of the company. In Stakeholder Capitalism, there needs to be a much wider definition of capital, one that includes human, social and natural capital because all those aspects combined to create wealth and prosperity,” says Schwab.

Special addresses and active participation from heads of state, government and international organizations emphasized sustainability and support for the vulnerable, as well as the importance of containing COVID-19, working quickly to mitigate further fractures in society. Business leaders echoed these calls and urged cooperation and innovation to address crucial economic, social and environmental challenges in the year ahead.

Børge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, says recovering from the pandemic and shaping our future in a more equitable, sustainable and resilient manner can only happen if stakeholders work together. He says the most pressing issues we are facing do not recognize borders, but deep, meaningful global cooperation is not always a given and needs deliberate action that focuses on people, the planet, prosperity, where collaboration will be the defining element.

Below is some of the outcomes of the Davos Agenda week:

Designing cohesive, sustainable, resilient economic systems

· A global coalition of 54 organizations representing 13 industries and 6.5 million employees committed to building more equitable and just workplaces.

· At the end of its first year, the Reskilling Revolution initiative announced more than 50 million people overall have received support for developing new skills. ·

· The Closing the Skills Gap country accelerators are developing and implementing national strategies for reskilling and upskilling reaching up to 47 million individuals in 10 countries and a further six accelerators under discussion for 2021.

· The Preparing for the Future of Work industry accelerators are estimated to have reached nearly 8 million employees to prepare them with future-oriented skills.

· The Valuable 500, a global chief executive officer community transforming disability inclusion through business leadership, announced that more than 400 businesses have joined the initiative and commit to one tangible action for inclusion and one board discussion for longer-term reforms.

· A new Global Taxonomy for skills was released in partnership with the Skills Consortium representing more than 200 million online learners.

· Upskilling for Shared Prosperity reveals that upskilling has the potential to boost GDP by $6.5 trillion and create 5.3 million jobs by 2030 and must be a core part of the next wave of fiscal stimulus from governments to combat negative effects of the pandemic.

· The Lighthouse Projects on Social Justice and Sustainability Initiative will bring together leaders integrating social justice into their sustainability strategies.

Driving responsible industry transformation and growth

· More than 60 business leaders have committed to a set of Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics, universal, comparable disclosures focused on people, planet, prosperity and governance that companies can report on regardless of industry or region.

· The WEF COVID Action Platform now has more than 40 projects in the works and 1 800 members from business, government and civil society.

· Sessions during the Davos Agenda brought together key leaders to discuss vaccine roll-outs and mitigating the secondary impact of the global pandemic.

· The Davos Alzheimer’s Collaborative is a first-of-its-kind, global multistakeholder effort to accelerate the discovery, testing and delivery of precision interventions for Alzheimer’s.

· Experts are calling for public-private collaboration to reduce preventable lung cancer deaths releasing recommendations on how to improve the short and long-term resilience of lung cancer services.

· Data scientists in the WEF Young Global Leaders continue to drive #Mask4All, a global movement calling on people and governments to follow overwhelming scientific evidence that wearing masks can help stop the spread of COVID-19.

· Global Shapers have implemented grassroots projects in 150 cities around the world to amplify trusted public health information, support public health systems, protect livelihoods and build more inclusive community responses for vulnerable groups to the COVID-19 pandemic.

· Incubated by our Global Future Council on Advanced Manufacturing and Production, the ‘Make At Home’ initiative was launched to accelerate more inclusive, resilient and sustainable business models.

· Global shipping, airlines and logistics leaders from the WEF Supply Chain and Transport Industry Action Group together with UNICEF, signed a charter supporting inclusive vaccine delivery in low and middle income countries to support COVAX’s goals of supplying 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

· The United Kingdom announced it would work with the WEF’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow Initiative to develop new policy tools to drive the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels.

· The COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs supports 90 000 social entrepreneurs in over 190 countries, reaching almost 2 billion people. It has raised $500 million in support of #socents and vulnerable populations, as well as launched 10 Action Clusters to advance crucial project work.

· The WEF launched a high-level task force of health and healthcare experts as well as influencers to scale-up and accelerate the most rigorous and sustainable public-private partnership efforts to strengthen epidemic anticipation, preparedness and response. Enhancing stewardship of the global commons

· A network of Food Innovation Hubs has been launched by the WEF and partners around the world to accelerate how we produce consumer food in different ways in different countries to feed 10 billion people sustainably by 2050.

· A new report, Nature and Net Zero, highlights the potential of natural climate solutions to deliver one-third of the carbon emissions reductions needed by 2030 estimating $10 billion a year could become available to accelerate actions.

· President Iván Duque of Colombia, together with the InterAmerican Development Bank and the WEF, launched the BiodiverCities by 2030 initiative, which will harness the potential of cities to cut emissions and protect biodiversity while encouraging sustainable urban development.

· The Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders welcomed a new report identifying how eight supply chains account for more than 50% of global emissions and fully decarbonizing these would add just 1% to 4% to end-consumer costs.

· The Mission Possible Partnership is a new coalition bringing together more than 400 companies to forge net-zero pathways and the actions necessary to achieve them.

· The Global Plastic Action Partnership welcomed the inclusion of the government of Nigeria to advance national efforts to fight plastic pollution alongside existing members Ghana, Nigeria and Viet Nam. They also announced an inaugural cohort of eight youth champions who will serve as project advisers.

· Global Shapers in Navi, Mumbai, are partnering with Forest Creators, Art of Living and Frugal Labs to plant 1 million trees using Miyawaki Afforestation and internet of things technology.

· More than 400 organizations and companies launched the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change to facilitate a resolution of the ongoing crisis facing more than 1 million seafarers.

· The WEF and partners launched a new Climate Trade Zero initiative to work towards securing improved trade rules for climate-friendly production and consumption.

· Nine cities and more than 70 organizations are working to reach a net-zero carbon future launching a framework to help cities rethink urban ecosystems to ensure they are more efficient, resilient and equitable.

· For the first time, analysis has quantified the key economic benefits and billion-dollar opportunity that Earth Observation data could bring to the African continent.

· The 2030 Vision report ‘Harnessing Technology for the Global Goals’ details ways to help governments and public-sector bodies engage in critical conversations needed to deliver progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

· At The Davos Agenda, presidents of COP25 and COP26, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and business leaders came together to announce the mobilization of public-private action on climate change, the Race to Net Zero for COP26.

Harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

· The EDISON Alliance will accelerate digital inclusion, address inequality and connect critical sectors of the economy online to participate in the digital economy.

· Some 900 entrepreneurial solutions to protect our oceans, tackle COVID-19 and support our’s Trillion Trees initiative have been submitted to UpLink, WEF’s digital platform to crowdsource innovation.

· The Global AI Action Alliance brings together more than 100 companies, governments, civil society organizations and academic institutions to accelerate the responsible adoption of AI in the global public interest.

· The WEF’s Future of Cities Initiative will provide a new platform for business leaders to commit expertise and resources to support cities on the road to recovery.

· Business leaders have called for more global action on the responsible development of artificial intelligence, citing new potential risks as cities and authorities embrace these tools to fight the spread of COVID-19.

· The WEF’s Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in India is spearheading a new collaboration with the public and private sectors to forge an AI Strategy Framework for cities.

· The Coalition for Trustworthy Internet of Things aims to increase public understanding and awareness of connected devices such as security cameras, wearables and voice assistants while also ensured that trust and security are incorporated into their designs.

· The G20 has made technology a key component of its goal to close a $15 trillion global gap in infrastructure investment.

· The WEF’s Future of Real Estate initiative launched a new task force to shape the way we work towards more flexible, technology-enabled spaces that enhance well-being and productivity.

Advancing global and regional cooperation

· The Principles for Strengthening Global Cooperation call for peace and security, equity, gender equality and sustainability is intended to serve as a compass for global relations.

· The Regional Action Group for Africa released its first insights on how policy-makers can accelerate free trade following the ambitious Africa Continental Free Trade Area.

· The CEO Action Group for the European Green Deal has set out to tackle emissions throughout the value chain to create a greener and more resilient economy.

· The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation increased the number of projects on practical border reforms to make it easier to move goods across borders.

· More than 30 members of the Regional Action Group for the Middle East and North Africa, a high-level community consisting of ministers, chief executives and civil society leaders, have endorsed the Principles of Stakeholder Capitalism.

· The World Economic Forum’s new report, Indian Cities in the Post-Pandemic World, provides insights for translating the lessons learned from the pandemic into an urban reform agenda.

· Global Shapers will lead a youth-driven recovery plan, aggregating the ideas and concerns of citizens in 150 countries and territories to help shape 10 big recovery efforts for the current decade.