Seven Davos headlines you may have missed

The annual gathering of the World Economic Forum took place last week in Davos, Switzerland. A few key leaders were noticeably absent, but the meeting – themed around the fourth industrial revolution – still prompted a flurry of headlines. Here are some of the stories you can expect to hear more of this year

1. Global inequality appears worse than ever.

To kick off the week, Oxfam International warned of a ‘broken’ economy, with hundreds of millions of people living in extreme poverty, and huge rewards going to those at the very top. In 2018, the 26 richest individuals owned as much as the poorest half of the entire world’s population, according to the international NGO. However, as in previous editions of the report, some questioned Oxfam’s methodology.

Read more from Oxfam here.


2. A 16-year-old scolded the rich and powerful on climate guilt.

Prince William interviewed Sir David Attenborough, but the climate star of the week was arguably 16-year-old Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg. It was Thunberg (pictured above) who stunned the room into awkward silence, according to Quartz, telling delegates: “If everyone is guilty, then no one is to blame, and someone is to blame… Some people, some companies, some decision makers in particular know exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money, and I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

Read more climate and environment headlines from the WEF here

3. New Zealand is to introduce a well-being budget.

Jacinda Ardern, the world’s youngest female head of state, unveiled a new approach to running New Zealand’s finances. From 2019, her government will present a ‘well-being budget’. Child poverty figures will be presented at every budget, and ministers will have to show how their spending proposals will benefit people.

Read more from the WEF here.

4. Disability inclusion became a “really big deal”.

Six global firms – Unilever, Microsoft, Barclays, Fujitsu, Cinepolis, and Accenture – signed up to The Valuable 500, a new initiative that aims to get 500 global businesses to commit to putting disability on their board agendas in 2019. Meanwhile, in a session on the business case for diversity inclusion, moderator Caroline Casey, the founder of Binc., said that having the topic on the main stage of “one of the most influential platforms in the world” was “a really big deal”.

5. Bono announced a new initiative to make impact investing less “fuzzy”.

Y Analytics aims to bridge the gap between researchers and investors “to help decision-makers evaluate impact,” Reuters reported. The venture is a new initiative from the Rise Fund (co-founded by Bono and other high-profile names), and US private equity company TPG.

Read more from the Rise Fund here.


6. $50m is on offer to leverage data for social impact.

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and The Rockefeller Foundation announced ‘Data Science for Social Impact’. It aims to “accelerate the use of data science by empowering non-profit, civic and government organisations with the tools, expertise and knowledge they need to help solve the world’s most pressing challenges,” according to a press release. The two organisations have committed to an initial $50 million over five years, and are inviting other companies and funders to join.

Read more from the Mastercard Center here.


7. The IKEA foundation backed a new social impact bond for refugee employment.

A new social impact bond for refugee employment was “tentatively” launched, according to Devex — with the IKEA Foundation promising the first US$7.7 million ($20 million more is needed). The impact bond aims to help up to 12,000 Syrian refugees and host populations in Jordan and Lebanon earn a living, and is being set up by KOIS, which also structured the world’s first Humanitarian Impact Bond for the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Header photo: Greta Thunberg takes to the stage. Copyright: World Economic Forum