Environment and Sustainability
The desire to strengthen economic and business resilience in the face of increasing environmental change, natural hazards and rising resource price volatility is a growing trend. The creation of multi-company partnerships and “coalitions of the willing” involving the public, private and civil society sectors across value chains and business systems is emerging as a dynamic response. Arguably, we are entering a period where new forms of partnership, social network and business models are being trialled, through various multi-stakeholder sustainability initiatives, in an effort.to break down traditional risk management silos in global, regional and industry environmental issues.
Given the urgency of the environmental challenge and the limitations many governments face in creating change at scale - either on their own or through agreeing multilateral action - various governments and international organisations are showing interest in this new partnership agenda. Can official engagement help these partnerships have an impact at scale?Smart financing is also key, especially given the fiscal constraints many countries face. Best-practice innovations from public finance institutions to help these partnerships trigger significant flows of private green investment are required. Who can provide the examples?
With momentum gained at the recent Rio+20 Sustainability Summit, this agenda for scaled partnerships is also influencing the wider development debate. In 2015 the Millennium Development Goals and the Hyogo Framework (a 10 year global UN initiative to make the world more resilient to natural hazards) are both due for review.
Is there an opportunity for scaled partnerships to help deliver post-2015 development targets in innovative, cost-effective ways that also “future proof” critical economic sectors and vulnerable social groups against a world of increasing environmental change?
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of 2013 will explore these various issues in over 25 public sessions open for all Davos participants and a series of private “by invitation” discussions. Anticipated outcomes will include new insight on:
2011 was the 35thconsecutive year since 1976 that the yearly global temperature was above the 1960-1990 average.
The US drought in 2012 was the worst since 1956; about 45% of the continent was in severe to extreme drought by November; the Midwest had the hottest, driest summer since 1936.
The deterioration of maize crop prospects in the US following extensive drought damage pushed prices up 20% by July 2012; international wheat quotations also rose 19% amid worsened production prospects in the Russian Federation and expectations of firm demand for wheat as feed because of tight maize supplies.
In the decade 2000-10, the price volatility of major commodities has increased by more than factor six.
In discussion with US Senators earlier in 2012, insurers including Swiss Re estimated that average weather-related insurance industry losses in the US were about US$ 3 billion a year in the 1980s compared to about US$ 20 billion annually by the end of the past decade.
If all nations implement their agreed emissions targets, median annual global emissions will be c. 57 billion tonnes (Gts) CO₂eq by 2020. But annual global emissions will need to be c. 44 GtsCO₂eq pa by 2020 to have a reasonable chance of limiting average temperature rise to 2°C by 2100. Under current targets the world is still on course for 4°C warming.
“A 4°C world would be “devastating” and so different from our current one that it comes with high uncertainty and new risks that threaten our very ability to anticipate and plan for future adaptation needs.”