What the Leaders at Davos Were Saying About the Environment

Jennifer Leakos
Image of Davos covered in snow
Courtesy of CNBC

Every year, the World Economic Forum hosts their annual meeting in Davos, a ski resort town in Switzerland that has reputation of being, as Fergie would say, G-L-A-M-O-R-O-U-S.

Background: Casually referred to as “Davos”, the goal of the conference is to bring business leaders and government leaders together to address the state of the world. 

  • Getting an invite is notoriously difficult and pricey – an attendance ticket reportedly costs $250,000 (inflation, amirite?). Even hot dogs are being sold for $43 (and no Costco in sight).

Climate is a hot topic: Less than a decade ago, there was no emphasis on climate. But in recent years, there has been a shift to focus more on climate and sustainability.

  • In 2010, there were no environmental issues that made it into the top 5 global risks. But since 2017, three of the top five issues have been all climate related.

At this year’s event, over a quarter of the panel discussions were related to climate issues. 

Top 10 global risks over the next 10 years as perceived by leaders

Top 10 global risks over the next 10 years as perceived by leaders
Courtesy of the World Economic Forum

Key consensus: While there were many differing opinions from CEOs, government officials, and climate activists, everyone agreed that governments and companies needed to increase investments in green technologies.

  • The Inflation Reduction Act received significant praise despite receiving some backlash from Europe for being too generous.

Zoom out: This event has historically been criticized for the irony of the rich taking private jets to discuss climate issues. But the fact that climate loomed large in an event of this scale projects how important the issue is and will remain on the forefront of businesses and governments for years to come.