3rd of February 2020

Back from Davos
Back to Reality


Davos this year was all about climate change, sustainability and stakeholders. For us, as we are focused on sustainable technologies (AgriFoodTech, plastic elimination and TextileTech) a lot of the action took place under the SDG Tent (we warmly thank the organizers). The quality of the events was outstanding and so was the variety of topics. It crystallised the issues of who is paving the way and what (if anything) is taking place.

One thing was for certain, not enough is being done and investments taking place are grossly insufficient. The private sector needs to be more supported and de-risked.

Under Chatham House rules

  1. Sustainable investments will become the new norm (this comment came from a panel with >10trio AuMs)
  2. Grow-now, clean-up later was (is) the prevailing mindset. The sustainability risk wasn’t (isn’t) priced-in correctly
  3. How are companies making money and at what cost to society? In the same vein; “Deforestation is a profit for some and a catastrophe for society”
  4. Feeding (and slaughtering) 70bio terrestrial animals to feed 7bio humans, does this make sense?
  5. You are killing the planet when you’re buying products that can’t be recycled.
  6. If we continue to buy plastic bottles somebody will keep producing them
  7. Fashion is a very large user of plastics with 60 % of fibres coming from it
  8. Polymers are valuable. We are just not pricing this commodity properly. It is a great opportunity
  9. Let’s force parity between virgin plastic and the recycled one
  10. Less plastic, better plastic, no plastic => the 3-step approach
  11. One should understand that a lot of well-intended laws and regulations are poorly thought through and end-up being counter-productive. But somebody else, on the same panel, said “Progress is better than perfection”
  12. It’s all very nice the whole sustainability discussion but it is the developed world looking down on the developing one. There must be a positive narrative attached for everybody
  13. 21Mio family’s livelihood depend upon coffee beans but the commodity is trading below production costs. Coconuts and Cacao are in a similar situation
  14. The carbon market will happen
  15. “Necessity is the mother of all innovation” Plato
  16. There is still this large misbelief that doing good is not profitable. This is completely the other way around (although it might sound a bit Teletudyiesque, this comment came from a panel with >1trio of market cap in the food / retail industry)
  17. We’re no longer into less bad but into “more good”. We need to regenerate
  18. Transformation is always a trade-off
  19. Shareholder isn’t synonymous of ownership, with ownership comes responsibility
  20. Sustainable technologies: There are amazing investment opportunities out there, but corporates (through committed orders) and public entities (through regulation, grants, guaranteed loans) should de-risk them for investors to be more supportive (“give me something that is commercially viable, and capital will not be a problem)

5 reports
& 1 letter

  1. wbcsd – An enhanced assessment of risks impacting the Food & Agriculture sector
  2. Fashion for Good & BCG – Financing the Transformation in Fashion
  3. BCG – The Net-Zero Challenge: Fast-Forward to Decisive Climate Action
  4. Marsh & McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group – WEF2020 Global Risk Report
  5. Climate Action 100 – Progress Report 2019
  6. BlackRock – Larry Fink, Letter to CEOs

3 videos

  1. What has Davos done for me? | World Economic Forum
  2. Innovators in Sustainability and Global Restoration | Pioneers for Our Planet
  3. We are not winning climate war, warns Guterres


It is difficult to have a day pass-by without being exposed to matters related to sustainability, plastics or global warming. The level of awareness is extremely elevated but the relevant information often lacking. We must distinguish between what is eye-catching and what is scientifically proven. Solutions are emerging, we (collectively) need to invest in them.