Davos, Switzerland – January 2019: The Conversation in Switzerland Ripples Out to The Rest of the World – News, Commentaries, Reports, Initiatives, For Your Consideration
by Hank Boerner – Chair and Chief Strategist, G&A Institute
The world leadership gathering in Switzerland in winter every year – we see this in the “Davos meetings” in the news report datelines – are part of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) broad thought leadership activities. This gathering is the WEF’s annual meeting (there are regional meetings as well).
Heads of state, CEOs, invited societal thought leaders, leading academics and journalists, politicians of all persuasions, NGOs, heads of multilateral heads (Christina Lagarde, International Monetary Fund)…they were all gathered there again this year.
WEF bills itself as “the international organization for public-private cooperation”; it was created in 1971 as a not-for-profit, to operate in a non-partisan, independent forum for leaders of society. The annual meeting provides the opportunity for sharing ideas on a wide range of issues and topics. And then the broadcast of these out to the world.
This year, the broad themes of discussion included “4th Industrial Revolution”, “Geostrategy”, “Environment”, and “Economics”.
“Shaping” (taking actions as private-public partnerships) was the theme of numerous initiatives such as “Shaping The Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security”.
A slew of reports are typically issued each year; in 2019 one was “Seeking a Return on ESG: Advancing the Reporting Ecosystem to Unlock Impact for Business and Society”.
These reports and other information are available for you on-line at: https://www.weforum.org/agenda
Naturally, with the wise men and women of our global society gathered in the snowy reaches of Davos and presenting their views over several days, there was the usual flow of headlines and news stories out to the rest of the world.
Our team, led by Editor-in-Chief Ken Cynar closely monitors the Davos and other WEF meetings (the annual and regionals) to bring you relevant highlights. This week after the conference wrapped up, Ken Cynar selected this week’s Top Story pick.
That selection presents the comments of Hans Vestburg, CEO, Verizon Communications, on the theme of The Fourth Industrial Revolution and a Sustainable Earth. CEO Vestburg (he’s originally from “high latitudes” Sweden and became CEO in August 2018) is strategically positioning his giant telecomm enterprise to balance market leadership, promising advances in technology (such as 5G networks) and challenges presented by climate change, population growth — and helping society achieve a sustainable and equitable future.
Hans Vestburg said at Davos: “Perhaps it because of my roots in a land so beautiful (Sweden) and yet so vulnerable…I’ve long had an interest in the potential link between technological advancement and environmental sustainability.” CEO Vestberg helped to lead the U.N. Sustainable Development Solutions Network, as example.
He sees the coming generation of high speed, highly-interactive technologies as a possible resource to help society buy time against catastrophic worldwide climate change (think of 3D printing, 5G networks, the Internet of Things, 4IR networks, autonomous devices).
Consider this, said the CEO of Verizon to the Davos leadership gathering: “If we and our partners throughout industry, government and academia can collaborate imaginatively on way to maximize the sustainability benefits of these emergent technologies from the very start, the next few crucial decades could see cascading gains in momentum against both materials wastage and emissions.”
We think you’ll find his comments intriguing – and most welcome from the CEO of a prominent U.S. corporation with commitment to address critical issues related to climate change, and willing to speak up!
This Week’s Top Story
Want a Sustainable Earth? Bring on the Fourth Industrial Revolution
(Wednesday – January 23, 2019) Source: World Economic Forum – When I became CEO of Verizon back in August, one of my commitments was to accelerate our company’s progress in Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technologies, drawing upon our longstanding role as a world leading…