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World Economic Forum asks all Davos participants to set a net-zero climate target

Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), addresses a news conference ahead of the Davos annual meeting in Cologny near Geneva, Switzerland, January 14, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse - RC2PFE9AI1JD

Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), addresses a news conference ahead of the Davos annual meeting in Cologny near Geneva, Switzerland, January 14, 2020. Image: REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

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SDG 13: Climate Action

This article is part of: Sustainable Development Impact Summit
  • Climate change a key topic at Davos 2020.
  • Leaders of some of the world's biggest companies will be there.
  • Summit host invites all of them to set 2050 net-zero emissions target.

All companies coming to Davos have been asked to commit to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 or earlier.

In a letter sent to company leaders on their way to the summit in Switzerland, Klaus Schwab, the Forum's Founder and Executive Chairman, and the heads of Bank of America and Royal DSM, say this year's meeting is a perfect opportunity to show leadership on climate change.

Have you read?

    While the world continues to heat up, greenhouse gas emissions have continued to increase at 1.5% per year, whereas they must fall by 3-6% per year between now and 2030 is needed to limit global warming to 1.5-2°C, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    Climate action will be a key theme of this year's meeting, with the title of one session putting the challenge bluntly: Averting a climate apocalypse.

    Global net CO2  emissions pathways
    Net zero - the path is clear, but not easy Image: World Economic Forum/Boston Consulting Group

    This is the full text of the letter sent to Davos attendees:

    Acting on Climate Change

    Dear Participant to the 2020 World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

    The opportunity and the need for companies and investors to show leadership on climate change is more eminent than ever before.

    Making a commitment to help tackle the urgent issue of climate change is also in line with the stakeholder imperative of the 2020 Davos Manifesto and the theme of the 50th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting: Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World.

    Consequently, as a leader of one of the world’s foremost global companies and a valued partner of the World Economic Forum, we encourage you to use the opportunity of your upcoming participation to make a commitment to act on climate change.

    If you have not done so already, we invite you to set a target to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner. A short accompanying note to this letter provides some options to help you in this regard.

    This initiative will be addressed at various Community Meetings taking place at the Annual Meeting.

    We look forward to the Annual Meeting 2020 being a breakthrough moment for business action on climate change and thank you in advance for your consideration and leadership in helping the world address this urgent global issue.


    Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO, Bank of America, Chair of World Economic Forum International Business Council 2019-2020

    Feike Sijbesma, CEO and Chairman of the Board, Royal DSM, Member of World Economic Forum Board of Trustees; Chairman of World Economic Forum Climate and Sustainability Initiatives

    Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum

    In an accompanying note, the authors of the letter recommend companies publicly report their greenhouse gas emissions and disclose their climate-related financial risks and impacts. They also suggest companies "consider including a 2030 milestone target".


    What’s the World Economic Forum doing about climate change?

    You can follow all the sessions from Davos here, and follow the meeting across social media using the hashtag #WEF20. Highlights about the environment will appear here. And you can submit your own ideas on how to save the planet - and six other ways to make the world a fairer place - here.

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    The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

    Related topics:
    Forum InstitutionalClimate ActionStakeholder Capitalism
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