Nature and Ukraine make Davos very far from business as usual


Journalists have been reporting the usual sorts of things back from Davos:

** that Russia is out of favour and Ukraine is in

** and that the buzzword about climate change is “nature”

The first is hardly surprising, considering the western world’s financial elite has taken a stand against Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Though Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky was only virtually present (to deliver the first address at the first World Economic Forum meeting at the Swiss resort since 2020), his deputy prime minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, and the mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, were there in person.

More interesting than Ukraine’s stature at a world forum (not unusual now, three months into the brutal war) is Quartz’s observation that Davos climate panels are now using the word “nature” to describe themselves. On Monday, May 23, a workshop explored investments in “nature-based solutions”, another panel had the Colombian president aspiring to “[return] nature to cities” and bankers discussed “nature action”.

The change in terminology may be a matter of branding. As Quartz notes, nature could be seen as “a gentler, less bureaucratic word” than “net zero,” “the carbon economy,” or “climate change”. Or  perhaps the pandemic is seen as “a wake-up call from nature”?