Davos experiments with degrowth

A great classic can also be a great first. The World Economic Forum, which takes place from May 23 to 26 in Davos, provides an excellent example.

As every year since 1971, a crowd of business leaders, governments, academics, journalists converge on the ski resort of Swiss Graubünden. Like every year, Klaus Schwab, the founder of the Forum, concocted with his team a title that tries to sum up the spirit of the times without really convincing – this year, “History at a turning point: public policies and business strategies”.

Covid test within 24 hours

But this edition will be unlike any of the fifty that preceded it. First, the landscape will be green instead of white, as the event that usually takes place at the end of January takes place this year in May. The Covid pandemic broke the entirely Swiss regularity of the event – Forum 2021 canceled after being postponed twice, Forum from January 2022 postponed to spring.

Then, health vigilance is ruthless. Each participant must not only have their three doses of the Covid vaccine and a negative PCR test less than three days old (worded in English!), but also take a test within 24 hours of their arrival – otherwise they will be deactivated his precious badge which allows you to enter the Palais des Congrès.

Fifty heads of state

In this context, the program is different. Gone are the mindfulness meditation sessions that opened the days. Gone are the meals where the debates were held in a more informal atmosphere. Absent, the stars who gave a slightly different coloring, which Albert of Monaco or the Queen of the Netherlands will not be able to dispense.


These changes are in addition to the changes in the world. The program is therefore very different. We are of course talking about Ukraine, Covid, ecological transition and economic risks. Russians are banned, as in any sporting event. Cloistered at home due to the still very strong epidemic, the Chinese will not be more numerous in Davos… than the Ukrainians. Only one minister comes there: Xie Zhenhua, the government’s Mr. Climate.

Organized in three times less time than usual, the Forum will also experience decline. 2,246 participants are registered against more than 3,000 at the start of 2020. There will be around fifty heads of state and government, but none of the major countries. Only German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made the trip to close the Forum late Thursday morning.

No French Minister

Accustomed places, the European presidents Ursula von der Leyen (Commission) and Christine Lagarde (Central Bank) will also be there. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks at the opening on Monday, but on video.

On the French side, the participants will also be fewer. Given the political calendar, no minister made the trip. The only official, François Villeroy de Galhau, Governor of the Banque de France.

Among the heads of French companies will come to Davos: Benoit Bazin (Saint-Gobain), Nicolas Hieronimus (L’Oréal), Benoît Potier (Air Liquide), Paul Hudson (Sanofi), Bertrand Dumazy (Edenred), Thomas Buberl (AXA ), Rodolphe Saadé (CMA-CGM), Jean-Pascal Tricoire (Schneider Electric), Aiman ​​Ezzat (Capgemini) and Catherine MacGregor (Engie).

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Davos experiments with degrowth

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