A recent policy paper to which the World Economic Forum contributed estimates that building a nature-positive economy could represent more than $10 trillion per year by 2030 – in terms of new economic opportunities as well as avoided economic costs. In the short term, deploying around $250 billion of stimulus funding could generate up to 37 million nature-positive jobs in a highly cost-effective manner. Resetting the environment should not be seen as a cost, but rather an investment that will generate economic activity and employment opportunities.
Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece : Global Trade Reset — time to order your MWGA cap? (LINK)
World Economic Forum Releases Toolkit for Leaders to Improve Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in post-COVID-19 Workplace
For example, new systems can review job applications at scale in far greater detail than a typically resourced people and culture department. These systems can identify and reduce bias, introduce greater transparency and visibility, and provide timely analytics.
New methods of analysing employee interactions, such as organizational network analysis and tools for immersive learning using augmented and virtual reality, can all play a role in improving outcomes, while cloud-based communication and visualization platforms will be fundamental to most tools.
"Technology alone cannot create fair, equitable and diverse workplaces; it requires an integrated strategy that blends new technological tools with human-centric approaches."
"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."
What Klaus Schwab argues:
"Governments should improve coordination (for example, in tax, regulatory, and fiscal policy), upgrade trade arrangements, and create the conditions for a 'stakeholder economy'. At a time of diminishing tax bases and soaring public debt, governments have a powerful incentive to pursue such action."
"Moreover, governments should implement long-overdue reforms that promote more equitable outcomes. Depending on the country, these may include changes to wealth taxes, the withdrawal of fossil-fuel subsidies, and new rules governing intellectual property, trade, and competition."
"The second component of a Great Reset agenda would ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability. Here, the large-scale spending programs that many governments are implementing represent a major opportunity for progress. The European Commission, for one, has unveiled plans for a €750 billion (€826 billion) recovery fund. The US, China, and Japan also have ambitious economic-stimulus plans."
"Rather than using these funds, as well as investments from private entities and pension funds, to fill cracks in the old system, we should use them to create a new one that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable in the long run. This means, for example, building 'green' urban infrastructure and creating incentives for industries to improve their track record on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics."
"The third and final priority of a Great Reset agenda is to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges. During the COVID-19 crisis, companies, universities, and others have joined forces to develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and possible vaccines; establish testing centers; create mechanisms for tracing infections; and deliver telemedicine. Imagine what could be possible if similar concerted efforts were made in every sector."
WHO calls for end to fossil fuel subsidies post-COVID
"Globally, about US$400 billion every year of taxpayers money is spent directly subsidizing the fossil fuels that are driving climate change and causing air pollution. Furthermore, private and social costs generated by health and other impacts from such pollution are generally not built into the price of fuels and energy. Including the damage to health and the environment that they cause, brings the real value of the subsidy to over US$5 trillion per year- more than all governments around the world spend on healthcare – and about 2,000 times the budget of WHO.
Placing a price on polluting fuels in line with the damage they cause would approximately halve outdoor air pollution deaths, cut greenhouse gas emissions by over a quarter, and raise about 4% of global GDP in revenue. We should stop paying the pollution bill, both through our pockets and our lungs.
Bank of England warns UK set to enter worst recession for 300 years
Central bank predicts 30 per cent drop in output in first half of 2020 but opts against new stimulus.
The longer-term economic projections were more upbeat, with the BoE expecting "only limited scarring to the economy". The bank's back-of-the-envelope scenarios assumed long-term damage to the economy would be only 1.5 per cent of gross domestic product and would come from missed business investment in 2020. Otherwise it predicted the economy would bounce back in a V-shaped recovery.
Rebuilding better: plan for a resilient recovery from the COVID-19 crisis
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has set out key principles for a nationwide green recovery. They have called for an expansion of tree planting programmes, peatland restoration, green spaces, and green infrastructure. And by adopting trends seen in the quarantine, such as increased home-working, more remote medical consultations and improved safety for cyclists, the government can "lead the way to new social norms that benefit well-being, improved productivity and reduce emissions."
A financial freeze could protect us from economic collapse
The Big Freeze economic theory suggests freezing all time-related fixed expenses — such as rent or mortgage payments, health insurance — and supporting businesses to temporarily close. It provides a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to individuals, together with temporarily increasing marginal taxes for those who haven't been hurt or may even gain from the situation. The goal is to prevent debt, preserve existing economic infrastructure, protect individuals, and position businesses for a smooth market re-entry when the time is right.
New free online learning portal and career board for manufacturing jobs
Companies engaged in the World Economic Forum's Advanced Manufacturing and Production community launch MFG.works, an online portal with free learning resources and job opportunities.
"This portal, first of its kind, connects manufacturing professionals to learn new skills and advance their careers." Leading manufacturing organizations such as Foxconn, Schneider Electric, Stanley Black and Decker, HP Inc, Dassault Systèmes, MicronTechnology and Tulip are among key supporters.
Rich nations must make pandemic recovery plans green: global investors
While some members of the world's 20 biggest economies such as Britain, France and Germany have made statements about doing just that, some of the biggest emitters such as China and the United States have yet to do so.
UNCTAD: how investment policies are responding to COVID-19
The UNCTAD report urges governments to balance their efforts to promote and incentivize private investment for building and expanding productive capacity in their economies with regulations that ensure accessibility and affordability of goods and services for the poor and vulnerable.
Current strategies include incentivizing the production of medical equipment and drugs, facilitating administrative procedures, providing equity capital to struggling companies and ensuring foreign takeovers do not run counter to the national public interest.
"Looking ahead, the pandemic is likely to have lasting effects on investment policy making. It may strengthen and solidify the ongoing trend towards more restrictive admission policies for foreign investment in industries considered as being of critical importance for host countries. At the same time, the pandemic may trigger increased competition for attracting investment in other industries as economies seek to recover from the downturn and disrupted supply chains need to be rebuilt. Concerning investment facilitation, the crisis may boost the use of online administrative approval procedures for investors and personnel."
The recent Global Investment Trends Monitor of UNCTAD predicts a drastic drop in global foreign direct investment (FDI) flows — up to 40% — during 2020-2021, reaching the lowest level of the past two decades.
New Alliance Launched at World Economic Forum to Help Social Entrepreneurs Overcome Impacts of COVID-19
40 leading organizations form alliance to amplify support for Social Entrepreneurs during COVID-19 pandemic: 75 million already mobilized by Alliance members to mitigate impacts of pandemic. Alliance will feature a searchable database of available emergency relief funds.
Geneva movement for 'new deal' of solidarity post COVID-19
Geneva's chambre de l'économie sociale et solidaire has called for a "new deal" enshrining its principles after COVID-19. The 15-year-old organization says it has more than 650 members, 350 businesses and organizations with thousands of employees in the Geneva region. It puts the Chamber's turnover at CHF430 million a year.
Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece : Chronic diseases are the real pandemic: join the healthy food movement (LINK)
UNCTAD warns of 'devastating' impact of COVID-19 on tourism-dependent small island developing states (SIDS)
Recent data on global daily air traffic indicate a drop of almost 80% since January 2020.
On average, the tourism sector accounts for almost 30% of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the SIDS, according to WTTC data. This share is over 50% for the Maldives, Seychelles, St. Kitts and Nevis and Grenada.
Overall, travel and tourism in the SIDS generates approximately $30 billion per year. A decline in tourism receipts by 25% will result in a $7.4 billion or 7.3% fall in GDP. The drop could be significantly greater in some of the SIDS, reaching 16% in the Maldives and Seychelles.
According to the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), in previous viral epidemics the average recovery time for visitors to a destination was about 19 months.
SIDS governments will have a hard time getting loans to tide them over. The external debt of the SIDS as a group accounts for 72.4% of their GDP on average, reaching up to 200% in the Seychelles and the Bahamas. Foreign reserves are also generally low, with many of the SIDS possessing only the reserves sufficient for a few months of imports.
"Given these statistics, it is evident that without international assistance, the economic consequences of the pandemic will be devastating for many of the SIDS." — Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Director, Division on International Trade and Commodities, UNCTAD
"Currently, the SIDS would need about $5.5 billion to counteract the adverse effects of the pandemic on their economies. The Maldives stands out with a need of $1.2 billion due to its reliance on tourism revenues, followed by the Bahamas and Jamaica. Many of the SIDS, like Jamaica and the Bahamas, also face high external debt burdens which require complementary external debt suspension or relief programmes."
Swiss Federal Council fleshes out support for airlines
"The liquidity needs of Swiss and Edelweiss are estimated to be around CHF 1.5 billion up to the end of 2020. This liquidity shortfall is to be made up by a consortium of banks with the help of COVID plus credits. 85% of the funds drawn down, but no more than CHF 1.275 billion, should be secured by federal guarantees.
"A holding in Swiss or Edelweiss is not envisaged, as the success of Swiss and Edelweiss is essentially linked to their significant integration into Lufthansa Group. However, the loans will be secured by Swiss and Edelweiss shares."
"easyJet Switzerland should be able to cover its liquidity needs via its parent company. Therefore, the conditions for a subsidiary federal commitment are not met at the moment. As its turnover is less than CHF 500 million, easyJet Switzerland also has the option of applying for a COVID bridging credit."
"The aviation-related businesses required to maintain Switzerland's international links, such as Swissport International, Gategroup and SR Technics, operate worldwide and are majority-owned by Asian investors. The current corporate structures of Swissport and Gategroup do not yet permit financial support from the Confederation under the conditions laid down. The funds needed for possible measures to support the parts of aviation-related businesses which are critical for Switzerland are estimated at around CHF 600 million."
"The Federal Council is petitioning Parliament for guarantee credits totalling CHF 1.875 billion: CHF 1.275 billion to secure the loans to Swiss airlines and CHF 600 million to support aviation-related businesses at the national airports. To enable the Confederation to react quickly if necessary [to provide cash support], the Federal Council is requesting a supplementary credit of CHF 600 million [for aviation-related businesses] at the same time as the guarantee credit."
Nearly half of global workforce at risk of losing livelihoods - ILO
According to the "ILO Monitor third edition: COVID-19 and the world of work", the drop in working hours in the current (second) quarter of 2020 is expected to be significantly worse than previously estimated.
Compared to pre-crisis levels (Q4 2019), a 10.5 per cent deterioration is now expected, equivalent to 305 million full-time jobs (assuming a 48-hour working week). The previous estimate was for a 6.7 per cent drop, equivalent to 195 million full-time workers. This is due to the prolongation and extension of lockdown measures.
The wisdom of adding a resilience strategy to sustainability programmes
"While sustainability continues to become mainstream in supply chains, small farmers are often left behind. A fundamental basis of any functional strategy is to address the resilience of these smallholders."
All the things COVID-19 will change forever, according to 30 top experts
Working from home becomes the new normal
The digital migration accelerates
Education goes virtual
Healthcare confronts some old problems
Venture capital hunkers down
Transportation rebounds, and evolves
Manufacturing gets a wake-up call
New thinking changes old businesses
"I believe that this could signal the death of open space work environments."
"Organizations will ditch the notion of having a big office and revert back to a small-town model of working in cluster offices with more remote work."
"I don’t think we’re going back to a world of working mostly from offices anytime soon, and as such, there are new business norms that work for home and work.
"People who have been considering a move, to tap into the sector expertise (healthcare, food and agriculture, etc.) that exists in many parts of the country, or for a lifestyle change, or to be near family and friends, may choose this moment to relocate, accelerating a talent boomerang, and helping emerging startup cities rise."
"Remote hiring of technical talent will become the norm, accelerated by the normalization of remote work."
"For employee-friendly companies, evening hours will ultimately revert to family or personal time, as they should."
"Loved ones who hadn't seen each other in years are now seeing each other daily, people are getting creative with virtual happy hours."
"What organizations resisted for a decade is now core to survival and innovation. It is exciting, because this digital mindset will persist, and it is highly unlikely companies will try to return to what worked prior to the pandemic."
What future do airlines have? Three experts give their views
The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the global industry will lose US$252 billion in 2020. Many airlines are cutting up to 90% of their flight capacity.
1. "Few major airlines have gone out of business because they failed. Even Swissair, which was famously bankrupt and defunct in late 2001, soon reappeared as Swiss International Airlines."
2. "After 9/11, the airline industry completely shut down in the US. People witnessing the horrifying scenes of the Twin Towers' collapse were hardly eager to board a plane. So, the government chose to step in to restore confidence. And it did so, successfully, by offering aid including loans and used warrants, which involves investing in airlines when the stock is at a reduced or rock bottom price and waiting for it to go up again."
"Airline norms suggest that 25% of revenues should be kept in case of any emergency, but this has tended not to happen recently."
3. "Most flights are taken by a relatively well-off minority, often for leisure reasons, and of questionable necessity. We might wonder whether it is wise to devote so much of our remaining carbon 'allowance' to aviation over sectors like energy or food which — as we are now being reminded — are fundamental to human life."
It's time for billionaires to stop worrying about their fortunes and start worrying about the world
From the new co-chair of International Crisis Group, Canadian businessman Frank Giustra: "The coronavirus crisis makes crystal clear that capitalism is failing the vast majority of the world's population. The world's richest people must intervene, using their own wealth to put human lives above profit.""
COVID-19 lessons for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day
"Just as the virus has hit some communities harder than others, equity concerns in the climate change context should steer us to pay attention to the communities, industries and individuals whose circumstances will be most jarred by the energy transformation required to combat it." — Daniel C. Esty.
Free environmental education online over six weeks from Earth Day
"UNEP, TED-Ed and dozens of collaborators have joined forces to offer #EarthSchool — a new platform offering the best online environmental education material out there." — David Jensen, Head of Environmental Peacebuilding, United Nations Environment Programme.
"Join us to learn something amazing every weekday between Earth Day (April 22nd) and World Environment Day (June 5th)." — TED-Ed.
Fall in COVID-linked carbon emissions won't halt climate change – UN weather agency chief
Once the global economy begins to recover from the new coronavirus, WMO expects emissions to return to normal. "There might even be a boost in emissions because some of the industries have been stopped," the WMO head cautioned.
8 “Sustainable” Habits Aren't as Green as You Might Think
Simple, everyday activities we thought were helping the planet may actually be costing it, due to incorrect labeling, presumed benefits, and shortcomings in scientific research and/or its public availability.
1. Tote bags: Denmark's Ministry of Health and Food found in 2018 that a natural cotton bag must be used more than 20,000 times — or for about 55 years — before it has the same environmental impact as a lightweight single-use plastic grocery bag. Much of the impact comes from cotton's high demand for water and the use of an ozone-depleting chemical to treat the plant. The result is a highly resource-costly product.
The real pandemic will start the day we start lifting the lockdown. Every country or state has announced a date at which lockdown will be lifted. They should instead declare that they will lift the lockdown the day the number of new cases has been zero for the past two weeks. Period.
US crude price collapses, turns negative for first time ever
U.S. crude oil futures turned negative Monday for the first time in history as storage space was filling up, discouraging buyers as weak economic data from Germany and Japan cast doubt on when fuel consumption will recover.
Oil Price Apocalpyse Will Bankrupt Nigeria, Africa's Richest Nation
Put simply, Nigeria produces crude oil which it sells to the United States, China, and the European Union, only to re-import gasoline at a higher price, subsidize that gasoline, and sell it to consumers at a massive loss.
According to Bloomberg, Nigeria spent four times as much money subsidizing fuel as it spent building schools, health centers, and science labs in 2019. This has led to mass emigration and widespread poverty in the country. Now, with oil prices at unprecedented lows, the country is about to collapse in a Venezuela-like catastrophe.
With COVID-19 'under control', Germany begins opening up
From florists to fashion stores, the majority of shops smaller than 800 sq m will be allowed to welcome customers again, in a first wave of relaxations to strict curbs on public life introduced last month.
U.S. leading indicator points to deep economic slump, the largest fall 60 years
The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators (LEI) tumbled 6.7% last month, the largest decrease in the series' 60-year history. Data for February was revised down to show the index falling 0.2% instead of gaining 0.1% as previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the index dropping 7.0% in March.
Jürgen Kaiser, political coordinator of the erlassjahr.de association, a group supporting debt relief for developing nations, notes that the money in question will be taken away from resources originally meant to support development projects. "It would be better if the IMF resorted to its own resources such as gold reserves that it still has a lot of," Kaiser suggested.
Free course 'Investigative Reporting in the Digital Age' is now available online
A total 3,877 students from 147 countries and territories registered for the instructor-led version of the Knight Center course, “Investigative Reporting in the Digital Age,” which ran from Feb. 3 to March 1, 2020. The self-directed version of the MOOC (massive open online course) is now available online.
Why some democracies – but not all – are better at fighting pandemics
"China, we are told, has beaten the disease. Western Europe and North America have not. Perhaps because they are preoccupied with their own disaster, the rich countries of the North no longer lead efforts to help others fight the virus: that role has shifted to non-democracies or countries whose democratic credentials are questioned such as China, Cuba and Turkey.
"But the evidence thus far might point in the opposite direction: that countries with stronger democracies do best at dealing with the pandemic."
"The accolade for handling the epidemic the best must go to South Korea: in Daegu, the epicentre of the virus, on April 10, for the first time since the virus appeared, no new cases were reported. But its greatest success so far is that, at the time of writing, just over 200 people have died of the disease, a spectacular achievement compared with most other countries. And South Korea is, of course, a democracy.
"South Korea is not the only democracy to have made headway against it. Portugal has lost only 535 people in a population of 10 million at the time of writing.
New Zealand, whose prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is seen by many as a democratic role model, has lost one person out of a population of almost 5 million. Mexico may be next to the US geographically, but is nowhere near it in COVID-19 deaths: only 332 in a population of 129 million. In Greece, only 99 people out of 10 million have lost their lives."
"So, why are some doing better than others? A clear reason is that some countries are run by right-wing nationalists to whom protecting people does not come naturally. A clear lesson we can draw already is that the nationalist right is terrible at dealing with pandemics."
Nature's comeback? No, the coronavirus pandemic threatens the world's wildlife
Most of the world's biodiversity is found in the low-income countries and emerging economies of the Global South, and in such places the economic impacts of the pandemic are likely to be devastating for the natural world.
Upon entering your building, the doors may open automatically so you don't have to touch the handles. Before you board your elevator, you might tell the elevator where you'd like to go, rather than pressing the many buttons within the elevator. When you reach your floor, you could walk into a room full of dividers and well-spaced desks instead of the crowded open floor plan you're used to. In common areas like meeting rooms and kitchens, expect to see fewer chairs and posted documentation of the last time they were cleaned.
These are just the changes you can see. And this is all assuming you go back to your old office at all.
UK finance minister says GDP may fall by up to 30% amid virus crisis
Britain's gross domestic product (GDP) could fall by up to 30% between April and June, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak told his colleagues as members of the cabinet call for easing lockdown restrictions amid the coronavirus outbreak, the Times reported. Sunak discussed the possibility of a 25% to 30% fall in GDP in the second quarter, the newspaper reported, adding that ten ministers were pressing for the lockdown to be eased next month.
Oil nations agree to unprecedented global production cut
OPEC, Russia and other oil-producing nations on Sunday finalized an unprecedented production cut of nearly 10 million barrels, or a tenth of global supply, in hopes of boosting crashing prices amid the coronavirus pandemic and a price war.
Related GLOBAL-GENEVA piece:COVID-19: The need for global solidarity and cooperation (LINK)
Emerging Priorities and Principles for Managing the Global Economic Impact of COVID-19: The Forum's second edition of the Chief Economists Outlook
The report is the outcome of consultations with leading chief economists from both the public and private sectors and leaders from the Stewardship Board of the World Economic Forum's Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society.
"While the climate change and green transition agenda was already a key item on the global agenda before the pandemic, the present crisis has starkly highlighted inadequacies in healthcare, wages, job quality and social safety net systems, as well as societal concerns about inequality. Given the urgency of addressing the immediate fallout of COVID-19, some argue that the priority at this moment should be only to safeguard as many businesses and jobs as possible.
"However, a shift towards fairer outcomes and green investments could be made by governments as they implement measures to overcome the current crisis, including new types of institutions and public-private partnerships, coordinating R&D activities towards solving public health challenges, enhancing job quality and training, and rewiring industries to reduce carbon emissions. Proactively shaping this 'new normal' now will pay off for economies and societies in the long run." (Report downloadable in PDF)
In the absence of U.S. leadership, the U.N. is struggling to carve out a role in the face of what may be the greatest threat since its founding. Each effort to address the health crisis has met stiff resistance or indifference, raising questions about the ability of the U.N. to function effectively with a declining American superpower unwilling, and seemingly unable, to guide the world through the health calamity, and the capacity of a rising China to forge a concerted international response to a pandemic that started on its soil.
Foreign Policy tends to overestimate the dependence of the U.N. politically and intellectually on the U.S. But look at the nationality of peacekeepers or humanitarian workers to see a larger truth.