The 1,700 senior executives who will begin arriving in Davos in the next few hours to participate in the World Economic Forum will be under unprecedented moral pressure because of their companies' role in climate change, increasing inequalities and environmental degradation, and his lack of accountability for it.
In Davos, a secluded town in the Swiss Alps known for its facilities and ski slopes, those responsible for the firms that generate 70% of the turnover of the 100 largest companies on the planet, and between they are the CEOs of eight of the ten multinationals with the highest market value.
This agglomeration of executives is unique and is repeated every beginning of the year at the annual meeting organized by the World Economic Forum (FEM), which this year has adapted its speech to the climatic and social urgency, criticizing the consequences of orthodox capitalism aimed only at profitability
"Many now realize that this form of capitalism is no longer sustainable," said the founder of the FEM and creator of the Davos Forum, Klaus Schwab, who has attributed to the "Greta Effect" that only now attitudes begin to change .
To show their sincerity and that they are prepared to fit harsher criticisms than usual, the organizers have chosen this year to invite social activists who even claim that this Davos Forum meeting is the last one because it is part of the system that perpetuates inequalities.
"The class of billionaires must be abolished. The economic elites do not have the solutions to the problems we face, because they are the cause of those problems," said Kenyan activist and feminist Njoki Njehu, who has been invited to participate in the Davos forum.
Njehu will try to "denounce hypocrisy from within the forum" and emphasize that "inequalities will not be resolved from the cold mountains of Davos, but from the streets of Santiago and Delhi, where people actively protest."
The Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg will also arrive with a message that will surely cause more than one grimace among the attendees, who will demand that the companies, banks, institutions and governments they represent stop "immediately" all their investments and any type of related contribution With fossil energies.
"This is the minimum effort that is needed to start a sustainable transition quickly," said the climate activist, who since Friday accompanies a youth march that should reach Davos on Tuesday, but has not received authorization for it and It will end in Klosters, a town 12 kilometers from the first.
Both Njehu and Thunberg are part of a category of social leaders with more critical positions than is usually seen in the Davos Forum, which this year has invited less than fifty representatives of civil society organizations, most of them from international reach
"We invite people who criticize the business sector because without criticism it would not be an important meeting. We need all parties around the table, this is vital to the success of the Forum," says the person in charge of the communication and member of the board of directors of the organization, Adrian Monck.
"Inviting those responsible for business to speak to themselves would not make sense," he adds.
For the FEM and its creator, Klaus Swchab, the actor capable of imposing changes is the private sector, which is the segment on which it depends and on which its reputation has grown, as shown by the constant requests of companies to become members .
This, first of all, represents a significant investment. The annual contribution for a "member" is $ 60,000, a figure that is multiplied by five for those who wish to be "partners" and ten for the "strategic partners."
Apart from that, each representative of a company present at the Davos 2020 Forum will have disbursed about 25,000 dollars, which will allow him to access the space where the world's most exclusive network of contacts is created for four days.
"There are many more companies interested in being part of the Forum than we can receive," says Monck.
All that, as well as the organization's revenues, which between mid-2018 and 2019 were about 340 million dollars, have made it identified with economic power.
However, Monck recalls that there are other similar organizations whose quotes are much higher and that, in this sense, the Forum "is positioned as an economic organization, which operates very efficiently and we have not changed the price in a long time."
He explains that these revenues "allow us to invite all other participants", since both government and civil society representatives participate by invitation, but without payment.
In addition there are the security costs caused by the event, which are partly covered by the Swiss Government.
By Isabel Saco