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Davos, olives, and a growing hunger gap | Purposeful Connections

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The World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting—colloquially known as Davos—wrapped up last week, with an apt theme of "Rebuilding Trust." Typically, Davos conversations revolve around global economies, security, trade, and the energy transition. This year, AI ruled many of the conversations and panels at the convening, with world leaders opining on the risks and opportunities of a technology rapidly reshaping the world. Second to AI was talk about the energy transition and climate crisis. Financing continues to be a significant issue, with emerging economies seeking up to $5.9 trillion by 2030 to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. “We need to put the Sustainable Development Goals at the center of how we do industrial strategy, innovation policy, and financial policy,” said Mariana Mazzucato, a Professor at the University College London. Above all, attendees talked about the importance of collaboration on all these issues—as one foreign leader said, this is "a time to drive global collaboration more than ever before." We couldn't agree more.

🫒 A Mustang made with olives? You read that correctly. A Ford innovation project in Cologne, Germany, is seeking to upcycle 7 million tons of annual olive tree pruning waste into auto parts. This project, part of COMPOlive, aims to create lighter, more sustainable parts, reducing plastic use and carbon footprint. This aligns with Ford's goal of increased recycled and renewable content in its iconic vehicles. The trial, using materials from Andalusia, Spain, produced prototypes with 40% olive fibers and 60% recycled plastic, including bioplastics from various sources and recycled materials in models like Mustang Mach-E and Bronco Sport.

🍽️ The hunger gap is growing: Each year, international NGO Action Against Hunger* analyzes the gap between funding appeals and the actual amount of funds distributed in countries experiencing "crisis" levels of hunger. This year, the gap grew to 65%, up 23% from 2022. Further, only 12% of hunger-related programs received more than half the resources required. The NGO hopes that by revealing this gap, more NGOs, governmental organizations, and even everyday donors will make the case for increased funding of countries experiencing hunger crises. *Action Against Hunger is a CCOP client.

👨‍🦽 DEI under attack: DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is good for business. It boosts productivity, as employees who feel valued and included are more engaged and efficient. It can help uncover business opportunities, particularly in diverse markets. And it has power as a retention tool, reducing the significant costs associated with employee turnover. So why is DEI under attack? Scan the headlines over the past few weeks, and you'll see article after article covering the "backlash" against DEI, a "chilling" legal landscape, and companies that are quietly sun-setting their major DEI commitments. This is a move in the wrong direction, both for business and for our nation overall. We'll be watching it closely.

🪁 Upskilling and climate change: These are two leading focus areas for CEOs in 2024, according to PwC's 27th Annual Global CEO Survey. Two-thirds of CEOs are working to upskill or reskill their workforce and three quarters are planning to create new, climate friendly products and services to respond to a rapidly changing world. The survey also found that CEOs are less confident about their companies’ future viability, leading to business model reinventions. Despite progress in climate initiatives, some CEOs remain hesitant to fully integrate climate considerations into financial planning or workforce development. Over 40% of CEOs accept lower returns for climate-friendly investments, indicating a significant shift towards prioritizing sustainability.

In a two-part series, host Carol Cone welcomes four One Young World Ambassadors to speak about their role and involvement at COP 28. Anna Stanley-Radière of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development; Enkhuun Byambadorj of Breathe Mongolia—Clean Air Coalition; Kehkashan Basu of Green Hope Foundation; and Mavis Durowaa Mainu of OAK Foundation deliver a clear message: that the youth of today are not waiting for change, they are propelling it.


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