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Views from the Center

CGD experts offer ideas and analysis to improve international development policy. Also check out our Global Health blog and US Development Policy blog.

 

A Corporate Giant’s Role in Reducing Climate Change and Promoting Development: A Conversation with Unilever’s Paul Polman

Unilever is the world’s single largest end-user of palm oil, purchasing nearly 3 percent of global palm oil production. Whilst we can not do everything alone , with this scale comes responsibility—to make sure that our supply chains are not driving tropical deforestation, and to tackle endemic social issues such as forced labour and the protection of indigenous people.

Postcard from Davos

The world’s elite—plus a few ringers like me—gathered last week in the small Swiss village of Davos to discuss the state of the world at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Although not formally on the agenda, the issue of tropical forests infiltrated a number of discussions. But first, a quick recap of the meeting’s big themes that provided the broader context.

Davos Secrets: Swiss Trade Opacity and Illicit Flows from Developing Countries

This week the World Economic Forum holds its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. As the great and good gather to chart the direction of the global economy, there will be much talk of development, of transparency, and of the importance of trade. In light of our new research showing that Switzerland’s recent emergence as a global commodity trading hub might hide large illicit capital flows, participants may want to raise some questions with their hosts.

A Green Fund: From the IMF, George Soros, and the Government of Mexico

On January 30 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Managing Director of the IMF, announced a possible new initiative – a multi-billion dollar Green Fund (that name is popular – see below) that would help developing countries finance the measures needed to tackle climate change – possibly with partial funding through issuance by the IMF of new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs).

Davos Dispatch #1

Davos does feel different this year. CEOs as a group, if I can generalize after less than one full day, are crowding into open sessions to hear the experts opine on the world economy and the financial crisis (large meeting halls are filled early and many would-be attendees are left out in the cold). In prior years they seem to have spent more time networking with each other in the corridors. The press has emphasized that the Davos stars this year will come from the political not the corporate or entertainment worlds. So it seems.

Davos Dispatch: Thoughts on three speeches

Vice President Cheney’s speech at Davos was widely covered in the world press. He focused on the risk of “new and far greater terror” than that of September 11 itself, which itself he called “only the merest glimpse of the terrorism that threatens us all.” In artful language, he argued that freedom and democracy everywhere would overcome those risks; in the interim, however, and as a last resort there might need to use force.

Davos Dispatch: Clinton brings development to Davos

In contrast to Davos-in-NY in 2002, when the post-Sept. 11 talk was of the risk of terror and Davos 2003 when the corridor discussion was mostly about Iraq and the impending war, there is no grand obsession this year. There is sensible and mildly worried talk about whether the global economic recovery will be sustained. Most attention is given to the imbalances in the world economy – particularly U.S. budget and current account deficits; the Europeans’ tepid growth and stolid Central Bank reluctance to stimulate; and the Chinese resistance to letting their currency appreciate.