Davos 2015: "my invite must have got lost in the post"

This week the World Economic Forum's annual gathering in the picturesque Swiss town of Davos brings together leaders from government, business, academia and even the music industry to discuss major global challenges.

But what relevance does this exclusive event have for social entrepreneurs and impact investors who don't quite have the $40,000 needed to head to the Alps?

From economic growth and cyber security to education equality and climate change – the vast agenda of the 44th annual World Economic Forum in the small Alpine town of Davos aims to cover it all.

Arguably, one of the less reported discussions occurring in the mountains is that around taking social and impact investment into the mainstream.

Pioneers Post spoke to director of development at New Philanthropy Capital (NPC) Tris Lumley about the prestigious global event and its relevance to the social economy sector.

“It’s great to see impact investing so clearly on the agenda at Davos, after a few years when it’s been growing in visibility within the mainstream," he said.

"But there’s a gaping chasm between the top-down discussions at Davos and the bottom-up reality for charities and social enterprises as they try to access the capital they need to deliver greater social impact. 

“NPC’s call to investors is that, as they embrace impact investing and remember what they’re in it for, to secure measurable social impact linked to financial returns. We have some way to go on this. 

“I wonder how much of the excitement at Davos around impact investing is about the social impact these models deliver. As far as I know, none of my friends across the social impact space has been flown in by private jet, and my invite must have got lost in the post. 

“And even if you’re not a social impact geek, are the real social entrepreneurs there to describe their models and how they deliver impact? I doubt it.”

NPC is a UK research body, training provider and consultant for the social sector and specialises in impact investment. 

To join in the discussion around ‘bringing social impact investment into the mainstream’ at events such as Davos 2015 and what this means for the global market, tweet us or get in touch via ellie@pioneerspost.com 


Five things you might not know about Davos past and present:

1. 17% of participants at the 2015 gathering are female. According to World Economic Forum statistics just 491 women have headed to the Alps this year, in comparison with 2,381 men. 

2. Beers in the sky. Davos is home to BierVision Monstein, the highest brewery in Europe.

3. Security shut-down. A $9m security programme has been implemented to protect the prestigious guests at this year’s conference. Davos will also be surrounded by 26 miles of fencing and guarded by 5,000 soldiers – two for each forum participant – and protected by a 25 mile-radius designated no-fly zone around the town until Sunday.

4. Sherlock Holmes-inspired slopes. In the late 19th century Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, alongside two local residents, Johann and Tobias Branger, explored unknown territory on skis around Davos, which contributed to the fast growing popularity of skiing as a sport in Europe – particularly among British tourists inspired by the author.

5. Royal cable cars. Since the 1950s Hollywood stars, including Paul Newman and Lauren Bacall, as well as royalty from around the world, have headed to Davos for a retreat in the mountains. In tribute to one of its most famous passengers, the Gotschna cable car booth has been baptised "the Prince of Wales”.


Photo credit: Johnnie Walker