In January 2020, I had the honour of being invited to the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland as part of the Global Shapers Toronto Hub. The event hosts Heads of States, business leaders, artists, and change-makers from all over the globe and this whirlwind of a week was one to reminisce for a number of reasons
This year’s theme of “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World” calls out for leaders of all nations, businesses, and civil societies to integrate global efforts to tackle four main global issues:
- Climate and environmental challenges
- Sustaining long-lasting inclusive business models as global priorities change consumption patterns
- The governance of technologies moving the Fourth Industrial Revolution and minimizing its negative externalities
- The future of education, employment, and entrepreneurship
Serving as one of the 52 voices of youth in Davos, here is what I learned from Davos 2020.
The changing role of capitalism
The idea of Stakeholder Capitalism is not new. The theory states that the corporation exists to serve multiple stakeholders and not merely to generate profits. This includes shareholders, customers, communities, the environment, and its employees. The theme of Davos 2020 – “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World” hinges on the idea of Stakeholder Capitalism. This is an idea that more businesses should seek to adopt. The fourth industrial revolution adds challenges never before seen in previous revolutions. The adoption of this idea by more businesses might help in ensuring that the benefits of the fourth industrial revolution reach a greater number of citizens and not a select few.
Notable speaker Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, stood out in this area. He firmly believes that the purpose of a firm is to find profitable solutions to the challenges of the people and planet – business must partner with various stakeholders to find those solutions. However, he also acknowledges that businesses will have to find new business models in this endeavor.
Youth presence at Davos
The voice of youth was loud and clear at Davos 2020. From Global Shapers to young Changemakers, there was ample spotlight to showcase some of the world’s brightest. There were some notable trends in this year’s youth risks report. Youth in the global north found Climate Change and Equity and Inclusion to be some of the world’s most pressing issues. However, youth in the global south found Education and Employment as the most pressing issue.