The 2015 edition of the World Economic Forum convenes on Wednesday January 21, in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation. The WEF’s Annual Meeting convenes global leaders from
across business, government, international organizations, academia and
civil society to map the changes taking place in our world.
The Forum has evolved from an opportunity for European corporate stakeholders to discuss business strategies into an organization that today is widely regarded as the world’s foremost multistakeholder platform for public-private partnership.
Together with other stakeholders, the WEF works to define challenges, solutions and actions, always in the spirit of global citizenship. It both serves and builds sustained communities through an integrated concept of high-level meetings, research networks, task forces and digital collaboration.
The WEF was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit Foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests, although it works in close cooperation with all major international organizations. It strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.
German-born Klaus Schwab, then Professor of Business Policy at the University of Geneva, chaired the initial gathering, which took place in Davos, Switzerland. Professor Schwab’s inspiration for creating the Foundation was his book –Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau – in which the stakeholder principle was first defined. This concept states that the management of an enterprise is not only accountable to its shareholders but must also serve the interests of all stakeholders, including employees, customers, suppliers and, more broadly, government, civil society and any others who may be affected or concerned by its operations.
From the beginning, the Forum had considerable impact in improving political, economic and social awareness, acting as a catalyst for major bridge-building efforts. The Forum has provided a critical platform for furthering peace and reconciliation in many parts of the world, promoting understanding between East and West before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall, introducing emerging economies such as China and India to the international community, and bringing to the fore the latest trends and developments in many fields.
The Forum has also been the catalyst for a number of significant global initiatives, such as the Global Compact (developed jointly with the UN); the GAVI Alliance (initially the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization); the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; the expansion of the OECD; and the development of the G20 concept.
Over the last 20 years, the Forum has also evolved the stakeholder principle beyond the corporate level to a truly global sphere, stipulating that political, business and civil society leaders must work together to address the challenges of a globally interconnected world. This enhanced dimension has led to the notion of corporate global citizenship, as outlined by Professor Schwab in a Foreign Affairs article published in 2008.
Complexity, fragility and uncertainty are potentially ending an era of economic integration and international partnership that began in 1989. What is clear is that we are confronted by profound political, economic, social and, above all, technological transformations. They are altering long-standing assumptions about our prospects, resulting in an entirely “new global context” for decision-making.
WEF Summaries: Climate Change
Towards a Global Climate Agreement at COP21 (WEF Summaries)
Business Leadership on Climate Change (WEF Summaries)
Curbing Fossil Fuels – Carbon Pricing and an End to Subsidies (WEF Summaries)
The Value of Investing in Climate Mitigation (WEF Summaries)
Global Economies Feeling the Heat from Climate Change (WEF Summaries)
Collaboration and Cooperation are Imperitive (WEF Summaries)
Risks Associated with Environment, Climate, Water Crisis and Extreme Weather in the WEF Report