The View From Davos is a daily newsletter featuring insight from our Senior Advisors, Partners and Directors at The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020.
Maria Figueroa Kupcu, Partner, New York
INCLUSION & DIVERSITY
At one of the most exclusive gatherings in the world, the conversation about inclusion and diversity has a new twist. Male participants still vastly outnumber females at the WEF Annual Meeting. But the discussion about I&D has moved on from questioning the business case for expanding the influence of groups such as women, LGBTI and, notably this year, people with disabilities. For leaders, learning to speak the “language of inclusion” is essential (though often still intimidating). But it isn’t enough. A new competitive edge is emerging for those businesses that back intention with policies to break-down barriers. For example, ensuring equal access to paid family leave for all employees - regardless of gender identity –promotes productivity, employee loyalty as well as new norms.
However, the dominant conversation in Davos has been about reshaping the global economy from one that is linear - “make, take, waste” – to one that is circular. This too is a question of diversity, equity and inclusion. A great deal of innovation is taking place within supply chains to close sustainability gaps. But there is growing recognition that bigger gains will come when companies collaborate across sectors. Can the plastic waste from consumer packaging become the raw material needed by the industrial sector? Expanding notions of inclusion and diversity will be a key element of creating sustainable, commercially viable and socially valuable change.