The first virtual Davos Agenda closed Friday following calls from more than 24 heads of state and government and over 1,700 participants from business and civil society to address the crucial challenges facing us all.
Setting the tone for the meeting were discussions about stakeholder capitalism, in which companies seek long-term value creation by taking into account the needs of all their stakeholders including society at large. This fed into more than 140 sessions, which considered the need for greater collaboration, placing sustainability and a green agenda at the heart of economic recoveries, and how to use technology to help achieve this.
“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,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. He added that “we are witnessing a mindset shift from short-term profit maximization, to “a world that is much more characterized by stakeholder responsibility”.
Schwab said 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, he also called for a much wider definition of capital, one that includes “human, social and natural capital” because all those aspects combined to create wealth and prosperity.
Sustainability and support for the vulnerable were emphasized. Special addresses and active participation from heads of state, government and international organizations discussed the importance of containing COVID-19 and 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.
World Economic Forum President Børge Brende said: “Recovering from the pandemic and shaping our future in a more equitable, sustainable and resilient manner can only happen if stakeholders work together.” He noted that “The most pressing issues we are facing do not recognize borders. But deep and meaningful global cooperation is not always a given. It requires deliberate action, one that focuses on people, the planet and prosperity, and where collaboration will be the defining element.”