The Forum brings together leaders of society to address the world’s most pressing challenges. This has an impact on the environment. It is our responsibility to mitigate these impacts, another way of fulfilling our mission to improve the state of the world.
The Forum aims to ensure the highest level of sustainability for its offices, improving the sustainability performance of its events, and integrating sustainability practices in its business and global operations.
The Forum brings together stakeholders to help address the greatest ecological crisis of our time at the Annual Meeting in Davos. We recognise that in offering these platforms, we consume finite resources and cause emissions. We take the utmost care to mitigate our environmental impact and we were awarded the ISO 20121 certification for sustainable event management.
While aiming to make its summits more sustainable, the Forum is also working to improve the sustainability of its offices, global operations and business processes. This is how:
The Forum’s sustainability strategy 2021 requires new Forum offices to be LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and to integrate the highest standards of sustainability in the way they are built and designed. The Forum offices in New York and Beijing, and San Francisco, are respectively platinum- and gold-LEED certified.
Green spaces play a crucial role in advancing sustainability in urban areas. The Forum objective is to increase the biodiversity of the green spaces in the Geneva offices, removing the use of chemicals and optimizing the water resources needed to maintain it. A project planned for 2020 will introduce diverse flowering lawns, larger indigenous hedges and wildlife shelters such as birdhouses and insect houses at the heart of the Forum headquarters.
The Forum provides food and drink daily to its employees in Geneva, as well as to its visitors and meeting participants. To ensure this reflects our commitment to sustainability, we have developed institutional catering guidelines. They aim to reinforce environmental sustainability and nutritious value of the product served, produce adequate quantities of food while minimizing loss and waste, creating positive value for local communities through engagement with producers or local suppliers and supporting fair working conditions and employee well-being along the value chain. For instance, red meat should represent no more than 10% of protein sources, and Forum office restaurants offer vegetarian options exclusively once a week. A strong emphasis is on sourcing fresh, local and organic produce.
The Forum aims to limit its use of printed material. For special occasions, institutional publications are cradle-to-cradle certified. This principle ensures that all substances used to produce these publications can safely return to the biological cycle without harming the natural environment.
The Forum is moving away from single-use plastic in its operations. Beverages in single-use plastic containers will no longer be served at the Annual Meeting or at its offices in Geneva. In addition, the Forum works with its events production company to find alternatives to single-use plastic for wrapping (blankets were introduced at the Annual Meeting 2019 to protect stored furniture), for protection and for branding (for example, with modular, reusable backdrops).
Like other organizations, the Forum must reduce its energy consumption. At the Forum’s offices in Geneva in 2018, energy consumption was reduced by 23% on 2015 levels through careful monitoring and investment in energy-efficiency equipment – and this despite an increase in employee numbers.
Promoting soft mobility solutions such as walking and biking, as well as sustainable transport for commuting are key elements of the Forum’s sustainability strategy. Additional bicycle parking spaces have been installed at the Geneva headquarters, employees have participated in the Swiss Bike to Work challenge, saving 1.8 tons of CO2 in one month, and electric bicycles have been introduced for employee use. Public transport is subsidised and on-site parking for individual cars comes at a cost for employees.
The Forum is committed to using 100% renewable energy at its offices in Geneva: 100% of the electricity used in the building is procured from renewable sources, 100% of air heating and cooling of the main building is provided through geothermal energy (drilling at a depth of 150 meters) and heat pumps, 100% of domestic hot water is provided through heat recovery from kitchen equipment.
In 2017, the Forum adopted it Sustainable Procurement Policy. Specifically, the Forum wants to conduct business with responsible suppliers – companies that respect the rule of law and human rights, understand the nature of the products and materials they are supplying, and recognize their responsibility to protect the environment.
To foster recycling at Forum offices in Geneva, New York and San Francisco, all individual desk bins have been removed and replaced with shared waste-sorting stations. This fosters employee awareness on waste and improves the quality of the waste sorting, which, in turn, fosters higher recycling rates.