Climate Crisis

Top impact stories from the World Economic Forum in 2023

From climate technologies to refugee employment, here's how the World Economic Forum and its partners have improved the state of the world this year.

From climate technologies to refugee employment, here's how the World Economic Forum and its partners have improved the state of the world this year. Image: Unsplash/Rahul S

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Climate Crisis

  • Impact stories outline some of the initiatives instigated by the World Economic Forum and its partners to improve the state of the world.
  • Impact initiatives range from the First Movers Coalition promoting emerging climate technologies to initiatives aimed at helping refugees fleeing war to find work.
  • This article showcases some of our leading impact stories of 2023.

2023 was a turbulent year for many people. Yet, despite conflict, the intensifying climate crisis and a challenging economic outlook,, a number of initiatives by the World Economic Forum and its partners helped create impact to improve the state of the world.

Here are some of this year’s leading impact stories.

Emerging climate technologies

The World Economic Forum’s First Movers Coalition (FMC) helps advance the most critical, emerging climate technologies required to decarbonize the world’s heavy-emitting sectors.

Today, the coalition is the world’s largest, private sector, clean demand signal for emerging climate technologies.

Since it was launched two years ago at COP26, FMC member companies have moved from commitments to action with 94 offtake agreements already signed to purchase emerging climate technologies.

Turning to AI to predict and prevent wildfires

AI could be a powerful tool to both predict and prevent wildfires, which globally cost more than $50 billion annually.

To address the increasing frequency of wildfires in Türkiye, the World Economic Forum Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Koç Holding, the Turkish Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry, and Deloitte launched the FireAId initiative in January 2022. This initiative uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to enhance wildfire prediction and prevention.

The first FireAId pilot in Türkiye has led to an 80% accuracy rate in predicting wildfires 24 hours before their outbreak, giving authorities valuable time to prepare and respond.

Fleeing war to find work

Refugees and forcibly displaced populations are often locked out of labour markets in their host countries.

To address this challenge, the World Economic Forum launched the Refugee Employment Alliance in May 2022.

At the end of 2023, partners of the Alliance have hired more than 54,000 refugees across the globe. And by December 2027, they expect to hire an additional 125,000 refugees and support 33,000 with mentoring, skills training, and access to digital devices.

Cleaning up global supply chains

The Alliance for Clean Air was launched to promote private sector efforts to improve air quality across their supply and value chains.

Influential multinational companies in the Alliance have committed to measuring air pollutants from their operations and reporting the results in their sustainability reports. They are also exploring the impact of their existing climate strategies and ways to go even further through specific air pollution mitigation measures.

The Alliance streamlining international trade

The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation supports trade reform in developing and least developed countries (LDCs). It brings public-private partnerships to make cross-border trade simpler, faster, and more cost-effective.

The Alliance has now successfully delivered 14 projects, supporting developing countries and LDCs in fulfilling their commitments under the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement.

By the end of 2022, Alliance initiatives had already achieved an initial 10-times return on investment, saving $60 million in seven project countries.

How gender parity accelerators help close the gender gap

State of the global gender gap.
It will take more than 130 years to close the global gender gap at current rates. Image: World Economic Forum

However, the World Economic Forum has supported 14 countries in convening Gender Parity Accelerators – national public-private collaboration platforms – that are designed to help close economic gender gaps.

The accelerators work with more than 80 public sector and 1,150 private sector partners across these countries to increase female labour force participation and advance equity in pay and leadership. They’ve reached nearly three-quarters of a million women to date.

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What's the World Economic Forum doing about the gender gap?

Unlocking clean energy in emerging markets

Developing clean, renewable energy in emerging economies could boost energy security, as well as reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and therefore helping them meet their sustainable economic development and climate targets.

Within the Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy in Emerging Economies initiative, the World Economic Forum is working to unlock renewable energy finance for some of the biggest emerging and developing economies: Brazil, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, and South Africa.

The Forum and its partners are developing bold proposals that can make a difference in many nations. This includes repurposing coal plants to become renewable assets and establishing the Cost of Capital Observatory for energy investments.

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More than 150 companies embrace sustainability reporting metrics

For the global private sector to drive progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, a common sustainability reporting system is essential.

Working with partners including Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC, the World Economic Forum has identified a set of universal metrics and disclosures, called the Stakeholder Metrics.

Ahead of the World Economic Forum Sustainable Development Impact Meetings 2023 in September, it was announced that 157 companies have already included the Stakeholder Metrics in their mainstream reporting materials, including annual reports and sustainability reports.

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

Related topics:
Climate CrisisArtificial IntelligenceGender InequalitySupply Chain and TransportTrade and InvestmentEnergy TransitionFuture of the Environment
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