Bringing 2,500 people from across the globe to a small alpine village in Switzerland has real environmental consequences. Over 12,000 tonnes of CO2 will be generated as a result of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting next week – as much as London generates in three days.
Ninety per cent of the emissions are linked to transportation – both for participants getting to the event and travel within Davos. The Forum offsets 50% of the total carbon footprint up front. This year, the offsetting funds will go to a feasibility study for a geothermal or solar project to heat the Congress Centre in Davos and to a local project in China that focuses on micro-hydropower plants that provide emission-free energy.
We will be also be experimenting with an online tool that will help reduce emissions. Participants can compare journeys and see which route is the greenest and saves the most time and money. They will also have the possibility of offsetting their remaining emissions and helping the development of a solar lighting project in Ethiopia, host country of the World Economic Forum on Africa in May. If successful, the tool will be available to participants of all future Forum meetings.
We are also trying to reduce the emissions within Davos. Additional free shuttle buses will be offered to bring participants from the main regional airports to Davos. In the Swiss tradition of mountain hiking, we are also installing clear signs indicating the walking time between popular hotels and the Congress Centre. In addition, the Forum’s Mobile Apps encourage participants to dispense with paper and rely on digital documentation.
We are also reducing the emissions of the Congress Centre by 98% – from 58.8 tonnes to 1.3 tonnes of CO2 – through the use of renewable hydropower energy.
Global diplomacy on a large scale is one thing. But progress in climate talks has been too slow to address the issues of climate change and resource scarcity with the urgency needed to make a real difference. Local actions are crucial if we are to have any chance of rising to the challenge. Please let us know if you have suggestions that will help us make our Annual Meeting even greener.