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WEF Jobs Reset Summit: Building Back Broader in the Economic Recovery

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The World Economic Forum Jobs Reset Summit 2021 convened over 500 leaders this week from government, business and civil society to shape a new agenda for growth, jobs, skills and equity. The action-focused virtual event focused on laying the foundations of a new economy, one that provides opportunities for all.

“The pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities – without action, we can expect a K-shape recovery. The Jobs Reset Summit and associated initiatives are dedicated to urgently “building back broader” by expanding access to education, reskilling and quality jobs, by embedding gender parity, racial equity and social justice, and by providing a platform for important debates on new growth models, taxation, the economic outlook and job creation,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, World Economic Forum.

Accelerating the Reskilling Revolution

Launched at the World Economic Forum’s 50th Annual Meeting, the Reskilling Revolution platform aims to provide one billion people with better education, skills and jobs by 2030.

A new alliance—SkillsLink—was announced at the Summit as a core component of the Reskilling Revolution. The alliance, focused on making skills the currency of the labour market, initially comprises 18 multinational companies and online learning providers, representing over 200 million learners worldwide. The alliance will adopt a common language for skills; recognize skills-based credentials; partner for skills-based learning delivery; and adopt and champion skills-based workforce strategies.

Additionally, Ministers of Education joined leaders from technology, online learning businesses and foundations to lay the groundwork for a new initiative on Education 4.0, dedicated to embedding a focus on education as a key part of economic recovery policies.

Good Jobs and the New Economy

An initial 14 companies formed a Partnership for New Work Standards aiming to set a new benchmark for a healthy, resilient and equitable future of work. Participating companies will co-create a framework for good work standards, with input from trade unions and independent experts, make commitments to raise the bar on good work for their sectors, and put a future of work strategy on their board’s agenda. Find out more about the founding companies here.

Building Back Broader: Policy Pathways for an Economic Transformation, a policy brief, was launched at the Jobs Reset Summit. As the world emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, the report identifies the most urgent economic and social challenges and lays out concrete response options to shape an inclusive recovery. The areas of focus include fiscal and monetary policy, jobs and wages, education and skills, equity and social justice, building new markets, and managing frontier risks. Across these six areas, the publication emphasizes policies and partnerships that will offset the current trend towards K-shaped recoveries within and between economies and create more inclusive economic and social outcomes.

A quarterly Chief Economists Outlook was also published during the Summit. Based on consultations and surveys with the Forum’s Community of Chief Economists, this edition provides a snapshot of the state of the recovery and provides forecasts on growth, inflation, debt sustainability, the risk of economic scarring and social unrest.

Embedding Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice

The Partnering For Racial Justice In Business coalition, launched at Davos Agenda in January 2021, now comprises 58 organizations, representing 13 industries and 7 million employees. The group advanced its discussions on tackling racism in the workplace and driving systemic change to embed equity in the new economy.

The Closing the Gender Gap Accelerators are a global network of national efforts to close gender gaps and reshape gender parity for the future, supported by the Forum. At this week’s summit, Kazakhstan announced the establishment of an accelerator. The first of its kind in Central Asia, Kazakhstan joins Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Panama and Peru in creating public-private collaborations focused on increasing women’s participation in the workforce, closing the gender pay gap, and helping more women develop in-demand skills and advance into leadership roles.

Finally, the pandemic and its fallout has created an opportunity to increase the ambition level of businesses in making progress on social justice. A broad alliance of business leaders and corporate philanthropies came together at the Summit to better define and achieve ambitious targets on the “S” in ESG.

What Leaders said about Shaping an Inclusive Recovery

The event brought together over 500 leaders from government, business, academia and civil society to shape a new agenda for growth, jobs, skills and equity. Read what they had to say about the event here, with quotes from leading voices including: John Goodwin of The Lego Foundation; Wendy Clark of Dentsu International; Professor Mariana Mazzucato of UCL, Alex Liu of Kearney; Dr. Tariq Al Gurg of Dubai Cares; Sharan Burrow of ITUC; Badr Jafar of Crescent Enterprises; Gabe Dalporto of Udacity; and Lazzat Ramazanova of the National Commission on Women’s Affairs, Family and Demographic Policy of Kazakhstan.

Leaders from business and government are invited to join the key initiatives advanced at the Jobs Reset Summit 2021, namely the Reskilling Revolution, SkillsLink, the Partnership for New Work Standards, Partnering for Racial Justice in Business and the Closing the Gender Gap. Deloitte’s WorldClass initiative became the latest company-led initiative to join the Reskilling Revolution Business Alliance. WorldClass and the Forum encourage submission of innovative and scalable educational solutions on the UpLink platform.

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More efforts needed to boost trust in AI in the financial sector

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Governments, financial regulators and firms should step up their efforts to work together to address the challenges of developing and deploying trustworthy artificial intelligence (AI) in the financial sector, according to a new OECD report.

The OECD Business and Finance Outlook 2021 says that investment in AI finance is on the rise. The financial and insurance sector has consistently been within the top 10 industries in terms of the amount of VC investments in AI start-ups, investing over USD 4 billion worldwide in 2020. Almost 65% of VC investments in the sector went to American AI start-ups.

As AI applications become increasingly integrated into business and finance, the use of trustworthy AI will become increasingly important for ensuring trustworthy financial markets, says the report.

AI has the potential to facilitate transactions, enhance market efficiency, reinforce financial stability, promote greater financial inclusion and improve customer experience. But AI also raises unique challenges to privacy, autonomy, transparency and accountability, which are particularly complex in the financial sector, according to the Outlook.

Critically, increasingly complex AI algorithms that are difficult, or even impossible, to explain could amplify existing risks in financial markets or give rise to new risks.

Transparency, fairness, data governance and accountability are key to managing risk as determinants of trustworthy AI. Failing to foster these qualities in AI systems could lead to the introduction of biases generating discriminatory and unfair results, market convergence and herding behaviour or the concentration of markets by dominant players, which can all undermine market integrity and stability.  

Existing financial regulations may fall short of addressing systemic risks presented by wide-scale adoption of AI-based FinTech by financial firms, says the report.

These conditions have led to a critical juncture for the deployment of AI applications in business and finance, according to the Oulook. Financial regulators are grappling with whether and how to adapt existing rules, or create new ones, to keep pace with technological advances in AI applications, while striking the right balance between managing risks and supporting innovation.

At the international level, the OECD AI Principles, adopted in May 2019, became the first international standard agreed by governments for the responsible stewardship of trustworthy AI. The OECD, together with international partners working to support financial markets and financial sustainability, must reinforce efforts to facilitate multilateral engagement on implementing the Principles in the context of financial markets and other business sectors.

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50 Firms Collaborate to Champion Next Gen Careers in Industry

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The World Economic Forum today launches the New Generation Industry Leaders (NGIL) programme, a global community of fast-rising young industrialists to accelerate environmental and social progress in manufacturing and production sectors, transforming perceptions and inspiring a new generation to take up a career in industry.

Over 50 world-leading companies in the production ecosystem, including Apple, DHL, Johnson & Johnson, Rockwell Automation, Siemens and Stanley Black & Decker, are supporting the NGIL programme. Beyond proposing their young leaders to join the community, these companies are making their training materials available to the community and executives are acting as mentors for the community members.

Emerging technologies are transforming industries as diverse as automotive, chemicals, electronics, healthcare and textiles. But industrial production is facing a skills shortage in all areas from R&D and design to consumer behaviour and end-of-use cycles. Research from global consulting firm Korn Ferry found that by 2030, there will be a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people, which could result in $8.5 trillion in unrealized annual revenues. The New Generation Industry Leaders community will play an active role to address these challenges.

Mark Maybury, Chief Technology Officer of Stanley Black & Decker said: “Stanley Black & Decker is honored to contribute to the establishment of the NGIL community which fills a critical gap in the leadership development of future industrial leaders. This programme inspires the next generation through exposure to visionary industrial leaders, cross connecting this worldwide cohort to foster peer-to-peer learning and transforming their future by accelerating their growth and focusing their purpose on global challenges.”

Tanja Küppers, Chief Operating Officer of DHL Supply Chain Europe, Middle East and Africa, said: “New Generation Industry Leaders have the ability to push innovative minds and fire up the hearts of people to reach great heights of sustainable performance; by embracing connectedness with the business, society and environment they act as responsible leaders towards their workforce, customers and partners.”

Members of the New Generation Industry Leaders programme are nominated by senior executives from their respective companies and organizations. The first cohort of leaders numbers over 100, of whom half are women. They represent more than 20 countries and 12 industrial sectors, including energy, automotive, mining and metals. Each cohort of new leaders will embark on an 18-month journey embracing the following principles and activities:

· Get inspired: learning modules in strategy, leadership and operations, delivered by thought leaders, CEOs and senior executives from the production ecosystem.

· Connect: peer networking sessions to learn from each other’s unique workplaces and career experiences and to share ideas, challenges and solutions.

· Transform: smaller cross-industry teams to help accelerate responsible industry transformation and co-create new ideas to get the world excited about new opportunities and innovations in manufacturing and production.

Members agree to collaborate to drive positive change within each impact area in their own organizations, with the goal of leveraging their shared efforts to engage with and attract younger generations.

Jeremy Jurgens, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum, said: “The transformation in manufacturing and production being driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution can only succeed with the leadership and collaboration of young professionals. We are thrilled to announce the launch of this inaugural group of exceptional leaders who will challenge their peers to embrace the incredible opportunities promised by a career in industry.”

Lawrence Whittle, Chief Executive Office of global technology firm Parsable, said: “Today’s factories are the most technologically advanced work environments in the world. So much innovation is happening in industrial sectors. But industry has an image problem – it’s not seen by young people as tech-savvy or future-focused. We urgently need to change perceptions around a career in manufacturing to attract and retain the finest talent from mobile-first generations.”

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Clean Skies for Tomorrow Leaders: 10% Sustainable Aviation Fuel by 2030

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Today, 60 companies in the World Economic Forum’s Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition – whose mission is to accelerate the deployment of sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) – achieved a milestone on the path to net-zero emissions by 2050 by working together to power global aviation with 10% SAF by 2030.

As aviation remains a “hard to abate” sector in reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions, strong climate action from the industry is particularly important as travel begins to return to pre-pandemic levels. Accelerating the supply and use of SAF technologies to reach 10% of global jet aviation fuel supply by 2030 is a significant move to put the aviation industry on the path to net-zero emissions.

This will only be possible through the concerted effort of industry leaders. The following organizations have signed the 2030 Ambition Statement:

  • Accenture
  • ACME
  • Airbus
  • Airports Council International
  • American Airlines
  • ANA Holdings Inc
  • Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL)
  • Bank of America
  • Biodiesel Association of India (BDAI)
  • Boeing
  • Boston Consulting Group
  • bp
  • British Airways
  • Caphenia
  • Carbon Engineering Ltd.
  • Cathay Pacific Airways
  • Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW)
  • Deloitte
  • Delta Air Lines
  • Deutsche Post DHL Group
  • Dubai Airports
  • Enerkem
  • ENI
  • Fraport
  • Fulcrum BioEnergy
  • Heathrow Airport
  • Honeywell
  • Iberia
  • Indian Institute of Petroleum
  • International Airlines Group
  • Japan Airlines
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
  • Kuehne+Nagel
  • LanzaJet
  • LanzaTech
  • McKinsey & Company
  • Neste
  • Norsk e-Fuel AS
  • Novo Nordisk AS
  • oneworld alliance
  • Ørsted
  • Praj Industries Limited
  • Punjab Renewable Energy Systems Pvt Ltd
  • PwC
  • Qatar Airways Group
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Royal Schiphol Group
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • Shell
  • SkyNRG
  • SpiceJet
  • Suncor
  • Sunfire
  • Sydney Airport
  • The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)
  • TotalEnergies
  • United Airlines
  • Velocys
  • Virgin Atlantic
  • Visa Inc.

Signatory companies include airlines, airports, fuel suppliers and other aviation innovators from around the world. They also include non-aviation companies that rely on corporate air travel for their business operations, demonstrating that the responsibility of decarbonizing the industry lies with all those who depend on the aviation sector.

“Achieving our ambition will require commitment, innovation and cross-industry collaboration from a wide range of stakeholders,” said Lauren Uppink Calderwood, Head of Aviation, Travel and Tourism at the World Economic Forum. “We are calling on governments, international organizations and others to work with us to take important steps forward through new policies, targeted investments and regulations that create a level playing field while incentivizing transformation.”

This statement is also in full support of the UN High Level Climate Champions’ 2030 Breakthrough Outcome for aviation, one of over 30 sectoral near-term targets that are critical to halving emissions by 2030 and delivering the promise of the Paris Agreement.

Achieving net-zero aviation

SAF is fully compatible with existing aircraft and is a viable industry solution in the transition to 2030 and beyond. Members of the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition are championing the commercial scale of viable production of sustainable low-carbon aviation fuels (bio and synthetic) for broad adoption in the industry.

Actors across the aviation eco-system agree on the need to first reduce, as far as possible, the emissions caused by the sector. This reduction can be achieved through efforts including the optimization of routes, increased energy efficiency from aircraft design and improved ground operations. Stakeholders such as airports can play an increasingly important role in the adoption and uptake of SAF by developing SAF operational plans or kickstarting co-funding mechanisms.

Synthesized from sustainable, renewable feedstocks – such as municipal waste, agricultural residues and waste lipids, or developed through a power-to-liquid route – SAF has already fuelled more than 250,000 commercial flights.

Difficulties remain in getting SAF to scale up production due to its prohibitively high price gap with fossil-based jet fuel, resulting in a “chicken and egg” problem with supply and demand. Costs will fall if production scales up, but fuel providers are facing headwinds due to high price pressure on low SAF demand, and high risks associated with policy and investment uncertainty. Demonstrating sufficient demand and policy certainty will be crucial to building investor confidence, hence the power of this major commitment from the leading companies in the aviation energy value chain.

Sustainable Aviation Fuel Certificate (SAFc) system

To make this concerted effort possible, the Clean Skies for Tomorrow Coalition has developed a Sustainable Aviation Fuel Certificate (SAFc) system, a new accounting tool that will allow SAF emissions reductions to be claimed by travellers and cargo customers if they are willing to cover the higher costs.

The proposed system also handles fuel supply chain logistics by delivering SAF stock to airports nearest the production plants. With existing technologies and digital demand platforms such as the SAFc, best-practice sustainable aviation can reduce GHG emissions on a lifecycle basis by up to 80%.

The key to long-term net-zero aviation will be to incentivize demand for SAF-fuelled air travel. With this ambitious 10%-by-2030 coalition commitment, members are motivated to aggregate demand for carbon-neutral flying. Some are championing mechanisms including co-investment vehicles, industry-backed policy proposals, and creative value-chain stimulus programmes for corporate passenger and transport business customers.

Expert Thoughts

“Progressing the development and commercial deployment of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is crucial to decarbonising the aviation industry. We are investing heavily in the development of SAF and have partnerships with Velocys in the UK and LanzaJet in the US which could see us powering our flights with sustainable fuel as soon as next year,” says Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chairman and CEO. “Earlier this month we were delighted to collaborate with bp to source enough sustainable aviation fuel with respect to all our flights between London, Glasgow and Edinburgh during COP26, substantially reducing the emissions associated with taking our customers to and from COP26 by up to 80% compared to traditional jet fuel. We need continued support from Government to scale up the development and use of SAF, which will be a game changer for our industry.”

“Delta is looking to the future of sustainable aviation while addressing the current impact of our carbon emissions. It is why we committed to carbon neutrality in March of 2020 and why we have also committed to setting a science-based targets to align with the Paris Agreement,” said Ed Bastian, CEO, Delta Air Lines. “This partnership with Clean Skies for Tomorrow builds a future for sustainable aviation by bringing together a coalition that will accelerate the supply and use of SAF technologies.”

“Our announcement today to reach 10% SAF by 2030 emphasizes our commitment to the planet and prosperity. Upscaling SAF with a global approach will boost India’s economy,” Ajay Singh, Chairman & CEO, SpiceJet. “Accelerating the SAF industry with a global approach will bring opportunities for economic growth and transformation in India.”

“We’re proud to be joining forces with more than 50 companies collectively committing to powering global aviation with 10% sustainable aviation fuels by 2030. It’s a crucial milestone towards achieving net zero flying by 2050,” says Shai Weiss, CEO, Virgin Atlantic. “From partnering on sustainable aviation fuels with LanzaTech in 2011, to becoming a founding member of the Jet Zero Council, Virgin Atlantic has been leading on sustainability for more than 15 years. Our partnership with Clean Skies for Tomorrow is another step forward in accelerating the global transition to sustainable aviation.”

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