World Economic Forum logs on to the 'Great Reset'

Lizzy Burden
Prince Charles

Next year's Davos conference will adopt the theme of "The Great Reset" as the global business elite elbows its way into the Covid-19 debate.

The World Economic Forum will hold an online youth conference alongside its annual meeting at the Swiss resort next January, which will go ahead as planned despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The virtual event is a first for the forum and will draw on thousands of young people in more than 400 cities to interact with Davos regulars such as Saudi oil sheikhs, international bankers and messianic tech tycoons as they grapple with the world's problems.

Prince Charles, International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva, and BP chief executive Bernard Looney were among those participating in the online launch of “The Great Reset” on Wednesday.

The focus of the twin events will be how to rebuild the global economy after the pandemic subsides, while tackling inequality. Davos was this year attended by 119 billionaires.

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Klaus Schwab, the forum’s founder, said: “The global health crisis has laid bare the unsustainability of our old system in terms of social cohesion, the lack of equal opportunities and inclusiveness.

"We need to build into this new social contract our intergenerational responsibility to ensure that we live up to the expectations of young people.

"The world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a 'Great Reset' of capitalism."

Prince Charles, having recovered from a mild bout of Covid-19 himself, said the world has a golden opportunity to “think big and act now”.

He called for a a new focus on policies that will encourage green business, and suggested that carbon-pricing where firms are charged for generating greenhouse gases could be a “pathway to genuinely sustainable markets”.

Speaking from his Scottish home Birkhall, the Prince of Wales said: “This would be the most dramatic act of responsible leadership ever seen by the global private sector and would at once provide a catalytic incentive for the public sector to follow."