As revealed by a 2020 attendee list anonymously given to Quartz, Davos has a way of separating even the global “elite” into strata. Participants’ relative importance is made known through the colour and design of their name badge. The hierarchy of attendees is also enumerated, with more nuance, in the World Economic Forum’s (“WEF’s”) databases. Participants are put into categories numbered from one to seven—an indication, of sorts, of how senior or perhaps important a delegate is to the business world.
Nearly every person attending is assigned one of these “position levels.” Those listed as ones are labelled things like “Top Executive” or “Head of State.” Twos are labelled in positions like “Senior Executives” and “Deputy Head of State.” Central bankers are level three. Level four includes country officials in a sub-ministerial post. Local government officials are level five. People in honorary positions are level six. Level seven is for those classified as “Functional Staff.”
In all, 46% of 2020’s participants were listed as a ones, and 0.75% were sevens.
You can search the 2,784-person list of attendees by name, position or country on Quartz’s website HERE.
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Filtering for “Australia,” there were 15 attendees on the list published by Quartz. We have listed these attendees in the table at the end of this article.
Rob Scott, chief executive officer of Wesfarmers, was listed as “1-Top Executive.” He is a dual Olympian in rowing and a silver medallist from the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He is Chairman of Rowing Australia, a director of The University of Western Australia Business School Advisory Board and a director of the Business Council of Australia. Scott is also a director of Gresham Partners Holdings Limited and Gresham Partners Group Limited, and a past president and director of the Insurance Council of Australia.
Vikram Sharma was also categorised as “1-Top Executive.” He leads food and agriculture initiatives at TechnoServe, an international non-profit, in India and Africa as Project Manager. He is passionate about Agriculture 2.0, his WEF profile states, leveraging artificial intelligence (“AI”), geospatial technology, and Big Data. Leveraging Internet of Things (“IoT”) and automation, he “helped” 350+ food SMEs in Botswana “improve their operations.” Currently, he is implementing AI and blockchain-based microfinancing in Kenya. Sharma was among the top 2% candidates selected as Prime Ministers’ Fellow by the Government of India (“GoI”); he led the implementation of GoI’s food security programmes and digital marketplace.
Mathias Cormann who served as the Australian Minister for Finance from 2013 to 2020 and Western Australian senator for the Liberal Party from 2007 to 2020, and is now Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”), was categorised as “Level 3-Minister.”
Categorised as more important to the global “elites” than the Australian Minister for Finance is Peter Holmes à Court who, described as “Level 2-Journalist,” is eldest son of the late South African-born businessman Robert Holmes à Court who became Australia’s first billionaire.
At the end of the list is an Australian whose level is not specified: Global Shaper Sophia Hamblin Wang who has now progressed into becoming a WEF Young Global Leader. According to her WEF profile she is “a strong circular economy and diversity advocate,” has been featured at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2020, World Economic Forum Pioneers of Change Summit 2020 and UN Youth Climate Summit.
What is a circular economy?
A 2017 paper published in the Journal of Cleaner Production titled ‘Green, circular, bio economy: A comparative analysis of sustainability avenues’ begins:
“Despite their evidently different assumptions and operationalisation strategies, the concepts of Circular Economy, Green Economy and Bioeconomy are joined by the common ideal to reconcile economic, environmental and social goals. The three concepts are currently mainstreamed in academia and policy making as key sustainability avenues.”
It will be sold to the public as promoting “the elimination of waste” and “the continual safe use of natural resources,” said in typical WEF speak. But to begin to understand what a circular economy really is, looking how it is used in China may be a good starting point.
The ideas of a circular economy were officially adopted by China in 2002, when the Communist Party of China legislated it as a national endeavour. The Wikipedia page for China’s Circular Economy states:
“China has experimented with other measurement indicators, such as life cycle analysis (“LCA”), CO2 emissions and economic returns, though material flow analysis (“MFA”) continues to be the most widely used. There has been extensive research on a new measurement system called the emergy indicator, the amount of energy consumed, where it is thought to be more effective than the MFA.”
Is it beginning to sound eerily familiar?
|Davos 2020 Attendee Name||Position, Employer||Category|
|1||Rob Scott||Chief Executive Officer, Wesfarmers, Australia||Level 1 Top Executive|
|2||Vikram Sharma||Founder and Chief Executive Officer, QuintessenceLabs, Australia||Level 1 Top Executive|
|3||Lynette Wallworth||Artist, Studio Wallworth, Australia||Level 1 Arts, Culture & Sports|
|4||Genevieve Bell||Distinguished Professor; Director, 3A Institute, Australian National University, Australia||Level 1 Academia/Think-tank|
|5||Julie Bishop||Chancellor, Australian National University, Australia||Level 1 Academia/Think-tank|
|6||Brian Schmidt||Vice-Chancellor, Australian National University, Australia||Level 1 Academia/Think-tank|
|7||Anthony Gianotti||Chief Financial Officer, Wesfarmers, Australia||Level 2 Senior Executive|
|8||Paul Hunyor||Partner; Managing Director; Head, Digital Ventures, Asia, BCG Digital Ventures, Australia||Level 2 Senior Executive|
|9||Peter Holmes à Court||Special Correspondent, Australian, Australia||Level 2 Journalist|
|10||Mathias Cormann||Minister for Finance; Leader of the Government in the Senate of Australia||Level 3 Minister|
|11||Marie Lam-Frendo||Chief Executive Officer, Global Infrastructure Hub, Australia||Level 3 Head of International Org./Deputy Head of Top International Org.|
|12||Alison Kitchen||Chairman, KPMG, Australia||Level 3 Board Member|
|13||Arun Sharma||Member of the Board, Adani Abbot Point Terminal, Australia||Level 3 Board Member|
|14||Lucy d’Arville||Partner, Bain & Company, Australia||Level 4 Head of Business Unit/Head of Region|
|15||Sophia Hamblin Wang||Global Shaper, Canberra Hub, Australia||Level not specified|
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