Michael Izza, Chairman of Chartered Accountants Worldwide & CEO of ICAEW, reflects on the upcoming 2020 World Economic Forum
This week I’ll be in Davos for the 2020 World Economic Forum. I’ll be attending debates and speaking on a panel about how businesses can understand and harness the value of natural capital.
The theme for this year’s Forum is ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World’. This builds on the original Code of Ethics on which the World Economic Forum was founded in 1973 – emphasising that as well as serving clients, shareholders and employees, businesses must also serve wider society, assuming the role of a ‘trustee of the material universe’.
4IR and the universal purpose of a company
Last year’s manifesto identified the evolving Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) as a time of fundamental transformation and called for a redesign of the processes and institutions which have until now served us well, maintained peace and delivered progress.
Having established 4IR as the context within which businesses are now operating, this year’s manifesto examines the modern-day role and purpose of companies – including how they meet their customers’ needs, how they treat their workers, how they serve wider society and create true value.
Two important new initiatives will be launched in Davos this year; the ‘Reskilling Revolution Platform’, which seeks to provide better education and relevant skills to one billion people by 2030, in line with the changes brought on by 4IR; and the ‘Champions for a Trillion Trees Platform’, seeking to accelerate global reforestation by planting one trillion trees over the next decade.