The World Economic Forum's annual meeting this year was held in Davos, Switzerland between January 16 - 20, 2023. Committed to improving the state of the world, the Forum brings together political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. Franklin's Green Office (GO) sustainability programs founding Director, Jean Wu, traveled to Davos last week to participate in several of the sustainability-related events and shares some insights.

"Climate change and sustainability were front and center at many of the presentations, panels and conversations happening at Davos. There was a sense of urgency coursing through the talks, in part because there's a realization that the gap between our goals and reality is still very wide,” observed Ms. Wu. Some of the takeaways and recurring themes from the week's events were:

1. There is an urgent need for more well-qualified professionals working in the field of sustainability and climate change. It is a growing sector where there is much more demand than supply. 

2. Businesses are looking for people with a climate change and sustainability focused mindset, rather than simply looking for people with skills or competency. Character is key. As one speaker noted: mistakes of competency can be forgiven, but mistakes of character cannot. 

3. As a prominent member of civil society, education plays an important role in linking and forming partnerships between and among industry leaders and the public sector. There is a recognized need that businesses and governments need to work more actively with educational institutions to achieve climate goals. 

Some quotes from last week's events that Ms. Wu would like to share with her students are: 

  • About choice: “We all now hold our destinies in our hands... It’s our choice to make: whether we will succeed to thrive or we will be actually the instruments of the next extinction... Deep personal commitment comes from individual choice.” Yo-Yo Ma
  • About activism: “Political will itself is a renewable resource... Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and organize.” Al Gore
  • About privilege: "There are doors that [people with privilege] can walk through... It's important that you hold that door, so that someone less privileged than you can walk though it... Something you can think about: what are you doing in your position of privilege to make the conversation on climate more accessible.” Namgay Choden
  • About greenwashing: "It's far better to act and be, than to seem.” Namgay Choden

Franklin University Switzerland is committed to sustainability and to driving conversations around sustainability, both on campus and globally. For more information about Franklin's sustainability programs, visit the GO webpage or contact

You can view some clips from the forum and learn more here and here.