Davos is cloaked in white, but its agenda is green. Environmentalism—fighting climate change in particular—has emerged as one of the biggest priorities of the World Economic Forum annual meeting…The biggest obstacle to fixing the planet’s climate is free-riding—shirking efforts to fight climate change while benefiting from the efforts others make. The repeated interaction with fellow delegates in climate sessions at Davos can fight the free-rider problem by creating a sense of urgency around the need for collective action on climate change. The unofficial motto of Switzerland, after all, is unus pro omnibus, omnes pro uno: One for all, all for one.
Galvanizing the determination of Davos delegates to do better when they get back home can have lasting consequences because the attendees are influential: prime ministers and presidents, chief executive officers from around the world, heads of nongovernmental organizations, big-name journalists, and a dollop of artists and performers.