Davos meeting entails 1,700 private jet flights...and a few new bikes

© World Bicycle Relief

Think of Davos and you no longer think of Switzerland's premier ski resorts. Instead, you think of the World Economic Forum, where the leaders of the free world go to plan their economic agendas.

And according to Flightradar and the Guardian, many of the 2,500 expected delegates to Davos are arriving by private jet - 1,700 private jet flights to this small Swiss municipality to talk world economy.

Davos attendees are also expected to discuss the importance of climate change and its ramifications for said economy.
Yet while there's no real substitute for face-to-face interactions, it seems ridiculously hypocritical to waste so much hot air – about 12,000 tons of CO2 – in order for the world's economic elite to talk to each other.

It seems, from the findings of a recent survey that CEOs of the world aren't really concerned about climate change. Huge consulting firm Price Waterhouse Cooper talked to chief executives in advance of Davos, and global warming didn't even make the list of top concerns and priorities, falling far below regulation and taxation in CEOs' minds.

At a time when human have caused the earth to go past many of its natural boundaries, it seems ironic that the best, or most elite businesspeople of the world couldn't care less about climate change or its possible fallout.

Ironic, but not surprising. By the very nature of our current capitalist system, CEOs must be most concerned with short-term growth of their companies, as well as profits, and that is born out in the survey's responses.

CEOs were less optimistic about global growth prospects than when PwC surveyed them a year ago, with just over a third expecting global economic growth to improve in 2015, down from 44% last year. About a fifth of the respondents believe global economic growth will decline.

One tweeter described Davos as a 'hot air wankathon' and the CO2 emissions of all those jets doesn't help. It was estimated a few years back that the meeting causes 12,000 tons of greenhouse gases. This is far less than events such as the Olympics (3.6 million tons estimated CO2 emissions), or the World Cup (2.9 million tons).

Yet for a meeting of its size, it packs a pretty unsustainable punch.

While it won't do anything to offset the emissions, the non-profit organization World Bicycle Relief got together with UBS, a Swiss financial services company, to try to provide some sustainable transport for kids who need it. To attempt to underscore how far some children must walk to school in South Africa, UBS and WBR are asking Davos delegates to walk at least six kilometers during the meetings. That's 3.7 miles, and it's how far many South African kids must travel to get to school.

For each delegate that walks that amount, UBS will donate the funds to give one Buffalo Bicycle (World Bicycle Relief's in-house-designed, sturdy cargo bike) to a student in need.

UBS is giving each walker a Fitbit to record their steps, and WBR said it expects to supply rural South African school kids with around 2,500 bikes based on the Davos challenge.

That won't make any dent in world CO2 emissions, but it can make a big difference in a student's life.

Davos meeting entails 1,700 private jet flights...and a few new bikes
At the World Economic Forum, the elite of the global economy arrive in the least sustainable mode of travel - a private jet. Yet a few of them will walk a few kilometers to donate bikes to school kids.

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