This past May, Handshake convened cross-sector leaders, innovators and thinkers committed to advancing the state of the world on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. As an important moment to advance the global agenda, Handshake has had a presence at the WEF Annual Meeting since 2015 to engage in a different kind of conversation – one that fosters new approaches to global challenges. This year, with the problems of the world seeming to outweigh our solutions, it was a crucial moment for courageous leaders to rise to the challenge, embrace the need for accountability and decisive action, and partner with unlikely allies.
Across three and a half days of programming, we brought together global leaders to discuss and align on solutions needed to build a better world. Under the themes of Just Transition, Shared Recovery, Climate Solidarity, and Courageous Leadership, our 18 sessions welcomed 500 visitors from across 15 countries and featured provocative debates from business and geopolitical leaders, insightful remarks from those doing the work in the field and on the ground, and new ideas from current and emerging leaders on their varying approaches to addressing current sustainable development challenges. Highlights from these powerful convenings can be found below.
Sunday, May 22, 2022
The week began with a welcome reception with speakers who opened the space with energetic and inspiring remarks emphasizing collaboration, partnership, and impact, needed especially in the post-pandemic recovery.
The reception was followed by a dinner hosted by Ferring Pharmaceuticals on investing in women’s and girls’ health with participants spanning geographies, sectors and experiences.
Monday, May 23, 2022
Our first full day of programming included a session from S&P Global Sustainable1 and UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre which convened committed leaders representing investment management, banking, insurance, business, and non-profits for an engaging dialogue around the data needed to frame the future for nature-related risk, from nature-related disclosures to nature-positive outcomes.
Later in the day, The Council for Inclusive Capitalism held a high-profile and action-focused session to share The Council’s Just Energy Transition Framework for Company Action, a cross-industry guide for a comprehensive and equitable energy transition. The Council presented the Framework as a tool to help companies better deliver on their sustainability targets with positive social impact and moderated a debate on how the private sector can work collaboratively to achieve our common climate goals.
Following that, The Global Solidarity Fund and The Hilton Foundation hosted a panel discussion and reception convening leaders working to support some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, including migrants, refugees, internally displaced people, and across issues such as migration, human trafficking, upskilling and job training, diversity and inclusion.
The UN Foundation and UN Women then hosted a reception in the space with cross-sector leaders committed to driving gender equality and equity through their work around the world, in support of the commitments made during last year’s Generation Equality Forum.
To cap off the first full day, we hosted a dinner at the Hotel Seehof titled “Navigating the Transition: Innovative Solutions for a Shared Recovery” in partnership with Columbia Climate School and Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy. U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry opened the dinner with remarks that encouraged guests to take action on climate now, rather than in the future.
Tuesday, May 24, 2022
We opened the day with 5ire session focused on how sustainability shapes blockchain and vice versa moderated by Forbes cryptocurrency editor, Dustin Plantholt.
Next up, Intel and The Harkin Institute hosted a session on the importance of the inclusion of differing abilities in hiring practices and the immense opportunity inclusion represents for the economy, society, and the world.
The Global Solidarity Fund (GSF) and Unilever announced a partnership between GSF and Unilever to bring the TRANSFORM initiative to Colombia, as well as engaged with high-level attendees who shared their views on how market-based solutions can help create job opportunities for refugees, migrants and internally displaced people around the world.
S&P Global Sustainable1 convened a high-profile, private roundtable discussion on “Energy Security vs. Energy Transition” where global cross-sector leaders shared what is required to achieve or accelerate the shift to a low carbon global economy.
That evening, ASU’s Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation and the WE Empower UN Sustainable Development Goals Challenge awardees and co-chairs held an uplifting discussion on the catalytic role of women in the SDG2030 agenda, creating opportunities for just and regenerative global futures. The discussion put the spotlight on Women Entrepreneurs through a lens of the Sustainable Development Goals and placed those who are doing the work on the ground at the center of the conversation.
The second day ended with a dinner with our partners under the banner of “Unlikely Alliances to Build a Better World.”
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
Our final day of programming opened with a powerful conversation between Brian Moynihan, Chair of the Board and CEO, Bank of America, and Cardinal Peter Turkson, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, who candidly and passionately discussed the balance between shareholders and stakeholders and how leaders can align their values and purpose while also delivering for their shareholders.
Bayer and SAP participated in a timely conversation on the sustainable practices, solutions, and methods companies deploy, and the business case for sustainable operations.
The week concluded with an intimate and emotional lunch to launch the WithHer fund, a new funding vehicle that will provide resources to grassroots women’s organizations around the world fighting gender-based violence in their local communities. During the lunch, the space featured a powerful “What Were You Wearing?” art exhibit presented by RISE in partnership with The Spotlight Initiative.