WEF chief lauds Saudi Arabia

Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.

DAVOS, Switzerland — Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, commended Saudi Arabia as he welcomed business leaders and politicians to Davos 2020 in his opening address here on Tuesday.

Lauding the Kingdom’s role in conservation, WEF executive chairman said: “I am delighted to see that many governments and companies are keen to engage, as well as Saudi Arabian G20 Presidencies, for whom safeguarding the planet is the name.”

Schwab also said that leaders have realized businesses are not just economic entities but social organisms. “We cannot be complacent, we must give the concept of stakeholder response meaning in real life.”

He said that environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria must become an integral part of auditing and reporting.

Echoing environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s earlier remarks at a panel session, Schwab said: “The world is in a state of emergency... We do not want to face continued political and economic disintegration. We do not want to reach the tipping point of irreversibility of climate change.”

Schwab reiterated that the Davos spirit is to accept and respect different voices and to jointly look at solutions. He specifically mentioned the need to listen to “young and diverse voices”.

Apart from being the executive chairman of the WEF, Schwab is also its founder. The forum is celebrating its 50th birthday this year.