Green Cities

Why The World Economic Forum is Turning to Sustainable Business

Our Economic Climate This morning Al Gore and Pharrell Williams kicked off the 45th annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos with a rousing panel on the need for environmental action. For the next few days business leaders, officials, and public figures from around the world will come together to discuss the latest developments in the global community. This year, to reflect to a more balanced and modern outlook, the World Economic Forum announced a shift of focus for their 2015 platform: At long last, alongside their surveys of public trust and the newest earnings predictions, the elites at Davos are taking a serious look at climate change.   Green: A Global Business “If China’s growth slows down a bit but the economy becomes more sustainable, that’s good news.” In his panel, the governor of the People’s Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, addressed China’s slowing economic growth with a tone of optimism. Why? Because a slower growth rate would help ensure a more sustainable, more stable Chinese economy in the coming years. With the Eurozone’s outlook unsteady as ever, this swing away from forceful expansion toward sustainability is extremely welcome news. A relaxed growth target also provides China with the necessary opportunity for structural reform in the government. According to Zhou, these reforms include a new emphasis on renewable energy sources to meet the growing needs of the Chinese population.   Sustainable Trust Today, Davos sounded out with calls for environmentally educated action. But there were also cries of confusion, as PR group Edelman released its newest survey showing that public trust in corporations and governments is at its lowest since 2008. Edelman observes that the recent trend of distrust extends from businesses to media outlets to NGOs, with levels of public trust below 50% in two thirds of the surveyed countries including the United States and Germany. Following the survey, Edelman provided a list of attributes that it believed would help increase trust. On this list were qualities including transparency, contribution to social welfare, and dedication to environmental protection.   What Lies Ahead is in Our Hands The global community has been long ready for green change, but time and time again concerns about the future of climate change are ignored in favor of continuing corporate and political interests. Now, more than ever, we must emphasize the critical importance of 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris and renew calls for climate awareness in our corporations and institutions. And looking at the proceedings in Davos, we can tell that corporations and institutions are finally geared to listen.     Julie Hu, Intern