United Kingdom
KPMG at Davos

KPMG at Davos 

From 22 to 25 January 2014, participants from KPMG's network of firms joined in addressing this year’s theme: The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business. They participated with other attendees in sharing ideas on how all global stakeholders can work together to meet the transformative challenges we face and improve the state of the world for future generations.

Key themes from Davos 2014

Climate change and sustainability

24 January 2014 was unofficially dubbed “climate day” by some WEF 2014 participants on account of high profile sessions that addressed climate change and sustainability.

The leading source of tweets from WEF participants was the session Changing the Climate for Growth and Development. Speaker Al Gore’s (@algore) assertion that “We’re getting closer to a political tipping point” on climate change (#climate, #climatechange) was reiterated across the Twitterverse.

The general consensus among WEF participants active on Twitter is that climate change concerns cannot be dismissed. Their tweets expressed conviction that there is a need for businesses to implement sustainable ( #sustainability) models as the long-term cost of disruptive environmental changes can outweigh the profits of short-term “bottom line only” thinking.

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Health and healthcare systems

Tweets from WEF 2014 participants on the topic of healthcare (#healthcare) - a key topic on this year’s agenda - reflect a desire to restart healthcare discussions. Participants have articulated a new vision of healthcare as a central component of a healthy society, inextricable from business, technological and economic matters.

Social media conversations have aimed at improving health (#health) via an assortment of approaches: investment from business in the well-being of their employees, integration of big data (#bigdata) with healthcare services, reduction of economic inequality (#incomegap) and development of infrastructure to improve living conditions.

Mirroring findings of a recent KPMG report, Necessity: the mother of innovation, there appears to be little appetite among WEF 2104 participants for continued investment in existing (costly) healthcare systems, especially in developing nations with a booming middle class.

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Gender inequality and the role of women at WEF

WEF participants have been tweeting about the lack of women attending this year's summit in Davos. Despite the introduction of a quota system by WEF that required strategic partners to send at least one woman in their attendance quota of five participants, numbers have actually fallen only 15 percent of WEF 2014 participants are women, down from 17 percent last year.

Discussions at Davos have focused on how to achieve gender equality (#gendergap). Making Gains on Gender Goals, a panel discussion moderated by Michael Andrew, Chairman, KPMG International, posed the question: how is the shift towards gender parity reshaping business? The session explored why a consensus around the case for diversity had failed to deliver parity in business and why there was seemingly insufficient follow-through on good intentions. Drawing on a KPMG UK study Winning hearts and minds- How CEOs talk about gender parity, Michael debated the case for business leaders to embrace the emotional as well as the rational case for change.