Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 15 July 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Davos leaders launch plan that could reshape capitalism after coronavirus

World Economic Forum’s The Great Reset would put climate change at heart of rebuilding businesses

Climate change protesters in Berlin. EPA
Climate change protesters in Berlin. EPA

Business leaders have been urged to join an ambitious initiative to tackle the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic and change the face of capitalism.

The World Economic Forum is promoting the plan and its leaders cited the international co-operation shown during the coronavirus pandemic as proof a new collaborative approach could successfully draw global support.

The plan, called The Great Reset, would put long-term problems such as climate charge at the heart of policy-making and business decisions.

“We only have one planet and we know that climate change could be the next global disaster with even more dramatic consequences for humankind,” Klaus Schwab, the WEF executive chairman, said.

“We have to decarbonise the economy in the short window still remaining and bring our thinking and behaviour once more into harmony with nature.”

António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General, said: “The Great Reset is a welcome recognition that this human tragedy must be a wake-up call. We must build more equal, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies that are more resilient in the face of pandemics, climate change and the many other global changes we face.”

Britain’s Prince Charles helped launch The Great Reset project online on Wednesday as part of the build-up to the Davos 2021 forum, which could be a “unique opportunity” to focus on the future of society.

“We need to restore the balance with the natural world,” Prince Charles said on Wednesday.

The Great Reset manifesto calls for unprecedented international co-operation involving every industry, country and sector of society. The ideas would commit people to building a fairer economic and social system, with a new social contract centred on human dignity, social justice and where societal progress does not fall behind economic development.

Major global government and business leaders at the annual Davos summit will meet, virtually or in person, young leaders from 400 cities around the world.

All attendees will be asked for consensus on three unifying principles:

  • steer markets towards fairer outcomes with particular attention to fossil-fuel taxes and wealth taxes
  • ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability
  • harness tech innovations to support the public good, in areas such as health and social challenges.

“These are unprecedented times. Every person on the planet has been impacted by coronavirus," Prince Charles said at the launch.

“The world came to a standstill and it became clear we did not have the answers to this threat.

“The threat of climate change is more gradual but still devastating. It’s ability to disrupt is greater than coronavirus."

Mr Schwab added: "We are in the middle of the most severe crisis. Now is a historic moment to shape the system if the post-Covid era.

“We have a chance … we can build a new social contract patricularly integrating the next generations.

“We can change to build in harmony with the natural world.”

He added that if world leaders decided not to adopt major changes, then there would be more polarisation and unrest.

Updated: June 3, 2020 07:37 PM

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