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Tim Mohin: Davos Attempts to Rebuild Trust

Tim Mohin: Davos Attempts to Rebuild Trust

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Global elites and world leaders met in Davos for the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual event. The wintery conditions belied the largely snowless Alps and a worrying downward trend in snowfall across Europe.

“Rebuilding trust” is the theme of this year’s event just when trust in global institutions is at an all-time low, according to the controversial “trust barometer” from PR company Edelman.

One way the WEF hopes to rebuild trust is to focus more attention on climate change. Climate was first mentioned at Davos in 2014, and ten years later, it is a centerpiece of the event. “A Long-Term Strategy for Climate, Nature and Energy” is one of the primary four themes, and the survey of WEF’s 1,500 members revealed that climate-related extreme weather events were the most significant long-term risk.

Unsurprisingly, ESG has become passé – WEF executive chairman Klaus Schwab stated that political hostility is zapping “human energy that could otherwise be channeled into shaping a more optimistic future.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres put climate at the center of his speech, saying,Let me be very clear again: the phase-out of fossil fuels is essential and inevitable.” The International Monetary Fund leader, Kristalina Georgieva, followed that by urging countries to move away from fossil fuel subsidies, saying that reducing subsidies and putting a global price of carbon at $85 per ton by 2030 could contribute trillions of dollars to climate action.

Each year, the gathering of global elites in the Swiss Alps draws criticism, and this year was no different. Perhaps the most biting was from NYT reporter David Gelles who claimed that climate change has been pushed to the back burner by AI and the US election. Quoting Andrés Gluski, chief executive of AES: “I think there’s a little bit of climate catastrophe fatigue… people are like, ‘yeah, yeah, the world is going to end. But I’m still going to vacation on the Greek islands or the Bahamas.’”

This Smart Read article is contributed by Tim Mohin, Global Sustainability Leader, BCG. Every week ESG News delivers smart commentary from ESG practitioners and experts to unpack issues of the week. Submit your ESG Smart Read to [email protected]


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