Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
Excerpt from remarks to Boston College Chief Executives Club
September 20, 2017
TAKEAWAY: Global Alliance
How would you say the forum can really help—we have some of the biggest companies and CEOs in Boston in this group here who do global business and have large stakeholders and high profile. How would you advise them in today’s kind of multiglobal world? What is the best way to lead? How do you achieve success with your stakeholders? What have you learned from talking to folks for 40 years of being involved with this?
I think it’s engagement and, I would say, intelligent engagement. Let me explain. I think most of you, and most of the business leaders I meet today, are certain global citizens and know they have to help to address the big issues and the challenges we face. What we need is to unite all those efforts and to create really an integrated mobilization of efforts. So, the forum has defined itself now much more as a platform. We help business leaders to work together. Sometimes again we are just a catalyst.
For example, in New York, we created a battery alliance, which means companies which produce—just take it as an example—which produce batteries are working together to eliminate the negative effects which you have, for example, as far as raw materials are concerned, storage is concerned. Afterwards, how do you remove used batteries, but on a large scale? We don’t speak only about the small batteries. So, we have now probably 70% or 80% of the companies who have really an impact creating an alliance.
Alliance—individual efforts are very good. But if you want to have a global impact, you need to ally yourself with similarly minded and similarly interested stakeholders, not only from the business community but also from governments. And what we can bring—what we are bringing to the table is that now, as an international organization, we have full access to the political community. In our board of trustees, most top international organizations are directly represented. We also can bring in the young generation. So, we really can create a global alliance. What we did, for example—we worked very much together with the UN and with the French government—with the UN for the preparation of the SDGs, with the French government for the preparation of the Paris Agreement. Yesterday, I had a meeting with Governor Brown from California to help him to prepare for his big city event, which he has next year, also related to environment.