With the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in full swing in the small Swiss town of Davos, world leaders from governments, technology and finance have gathered to discuss ways to make the world a better place.
They have a tough task right now, with geopolitical tensions spilling over into conflicts, so little wonder the theme of Davos this year is Rebuilding Trust.
The meeting opened with WEF founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab calling on delegates to “advance dialogue, strengthen cooperation and deepen partnerships on critical global challenges” in a “fractured world” with “growing societal divides”.
Some of the 2,800 attendees include 60 heads of state and government (from the US, China, France) as well as tech titans including OpenAI’s Sam Altman, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Google CFO Ruth Porat.
Unlike COP, which seems to be an endless flow of announcements, Davos is more likely to feature outcomes from meetings taking place in private or behind closed doors.
One thing is for sure, climate change will be top of the agenda. WEF’s Global Risks report published ahead of Davos says half of the most sever risks over the next decade are environmental – from extreme weather to ecosystem collapse.
The reason why so many tech leaders are in Davos is all down to AI – and growing concerns about the negative impacts this rapidly adopting technology could have on society.
Other sessions this week will tackle misinformation and disinformation.
ADNOC CSO hopes to build on COP28 progress
Having already spoken to leaders such as HCL Technologies’ Global Head of Sustainability Santhosh Jayaram and Miriam Wrobel, FTI Consulting ESG Lead, who are attending Davos, we spoke exclusively to Ibrahim Al-Zu’bi, the Chief Sustainability Officer for ADNOC (Abu Dhabi National Oil Company).
You will have heard ADNOC mentioned extensively at COP28, as the President Designate of that event in Dubai was ADNOC’s CEO Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber.
Following hot on the heels of COP28, which finished just over a month before Davos began, how much legacy does Al-Zu’bi think will be felt?
“We will be following the great success that the UAE had in COP28 and ensure alignment with the UAE Consensus and discuss collaboration to take this forward,” he says, taking time between sessions in Switzerland to speak to Sustainability magazine.
Al-Zu’bi is taking part in discussions about energy transition, sustainability and managing global risks with practical sustainability solutions.
“I am part of the global WEF CSO community and will be part of various meetings and discussions for the CSO community to plan for 2024,” he adds.
The pressure is on for those CSOs as they look to take the learnings from COP, add in the wider world problems beyond climate change, and try to navigate a constantly changing and uncertain landscape.
So what hopes does Al-Zu’bi have? What are his Davos dreams?
“Looking at sustainability from a triple bottom line approach is something very important for me and for my region, if not globally – ensuring balance for people, planet, and the economy must be at the heart of everything we do,” he states.
“Being part of the WEF CSO leaders community will ensure that I can help implement the global sustainability agenda from a regional perspective, aligned with the global sustainability community.”