This week, the small Swiss town of Davos played host to the annual World Economic Forum conference. Leaders from the worlds of business, government and civil society are gathering in the Alpine resort to address the most pressing issues on the global agenda.
Salesforce Executives were in attendance, and participated in conversations on how business can be the greatest platform for change. Here is a selection of the week’s most memorable quotes:
- “Capitalism as we have known it is dead … This obsession that we have with maximizing profits for shareholders alone has led to incredible inequality and a planetary emergency.” Marc Benioff, Salesforce Chairman and Co-CEO in a panel discussion on stakeholder capitalism. Watch the whole session here.
- “The old capitalism was all about the business of business is business. The new stakeholder capitalism is about business as the greatest platform for change.” A CNBC interview with Marc Benioff – view the full CNBC interview here
- “We live in a world of disrupt or be disrupted. Innovation creates innovation. We find ourselves in this age of digital transformation where people are embracing these technologies, but that is not just digital transformation – there’s also cultural transformation, organizational transformation and business model transformation. It’s an exciting time in our industry and every industry, and every CEO has the opportunity to become that Chief Transformation Officer.” – Keith Block, Salesforce co-CEO in a panel discussion on the new digital economy. Watch the full session here.
- “We are certainly at a time of planetary emergency. We realize that our planet is getting warmer and we need to find ways and solutions that we are going to all become: number one, carbon net zero and reduce emissions; and number two, we have to sequester or eliminate the carbon that has been emitted into the atmosphere. I know that planting a trillion trees sounds daunting but there used to be six trillion trees on earth, now there are three trillion so we should be able to get another trillion back.” – 1T.org press conference
- “You have to applaud … the European Union for coming up with GDPR and hopefully there will be a GDPR 2.0 … There is no question there needs to be some sort of regulation in the United States.” More in this article.
- “To make sure that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is bringing along everyone we need the education and skills to succeed. This is why I’m so excited by this Reskilling Revolution, to bring the skills and jobs to 1 billion people. No one government or sector can solve a challenge as big as this. We need a true multi-stakeholder approach.” – Marc Benioff commenting in WEF’s ‘Reskilling Revolution Press Conference. See the full press conference here.
- · “We are what we tolerate. As a comms and marketing leader, I don’t want to see one more stock image of a woman sitting and a man leaning over her; we need to show men and women sitting equally at the table.” Salesforce CMO Stephanie Buscemi speaking at Davos on the Reykjavik Index for Leadership. Catch more quotes from our Twitter coverage.
- · “This is an unusual time. It’s a time of transition. There’s a reason we’re calling this the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and I know there are going to be books written about how this time was perceived, and who was on the right side of history.” – Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube at Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Luncheon. See highlights from the discussion in this video.
Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Salesforce Chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff Hosts Annual Luncheon in Davos
Salesforce co-CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff hosted a conversation on leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution with Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; philanthropist and anthropologist Jane Goodall; musician and entrepreneur will.i.am; Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture and Lukas Nelson, artist and philanthropist.
A video of highlights from the lunch is available above, and selected quotes are below:
- “This is an unusual time. It’s a time of transition. There’s a reason we’re calling this the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and I know there are going to be books written about how this time was perceived, and who was on the right side of history.” – Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube
- “We haven’t inherited this planet from our parents. We’ve borrowed it from our children. And we haven’t been borrowing our children’s future, we’ve been stealing it. Every day every one of us lives, we have some impact on the planet. And we have a choice as to what kind of impact we make.” – Jane Goodall, philanthropist and anthropologist.
- “Education is such an important key. When young people see why [climate change] is happening to their community, it makes them want to get involved. Help amplify our message, because we need everyone to be an activist.” – Alexandria Villasenor, Climate Activist.
One Trillion Trees
The World Economic Forum and partners, including Salesforce, have launched 1t.org, a multi-stakeholder effort to support efforts to grow, restore and conserve a trillion trees around the world by 2030. Mass-scale restoration is an essential part of the solution for tackling climate change while also delivering important biodiversity, livelihood and broader sustainable development benefits.
The 1t.org initiative is being launched with initial financial support from Salesforce Chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff and his wife Lynne. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum said: “The next decade must see unprecedented levels of collaboration if we are to meet global climate, biodiversity and Sustainable Development Goals. 1t.org presents an important example of how stakeholders from all walks of life and all ages can work together to achieve a single, globally significant goal.”
The need for accelerated action was also highlighted by Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-Chief Executive Officer of Salesforce, who said: “We are facing a planetary climate crisis and trees are one of the most effective ways to sequester carbon and stop the worst effects of climate change.” Benioff also announced that, “in support of the 1t.org mission, Salesforce has set a goal to support and mobilize the conservation and restoration of 100 million trees over the next decade.”
Salesforce Newsroom also spoke with scientist Tom Crowther about his research into the impact of planting one trillion trees, and the role business can play in addressing climate change. Read the interview with Crowther here, watch the 1t.org press conference here, and read the press release here.
The Reskilling Revolution: Paving the Way for New Opportunities for One Billion People
At the Reskilling Revolution press conference in Davos, panel participants discussed a multi-stakeholder effort to provide enhanced education, skills and better jobs to one billion people in the next decade. Salesforce Chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff joined Advisor to the U.S. President Ivanka Trump, WEF leaders, Denmark’s Minister for Employment, and higher education leaders for the discussion. Watch the full press conference here.
“To make sure that the Fourth Industrial Reolution is bringing along everyone, we need the education and skills to succeed,” said Benioff. “And that’s why I’m so excited about this Reskilling Revolution.”
In this article, Salesforce President Miguel Milano argues that the digital skills gap is widening fast, and shares some insights into how we can bridge it.
Marc Benioff Discusses Stakeholder Capitalism with Klaus Schwab, Founder of WEF
Salesforce co-CEO and Chairman Marc Benioff joined WEF founder Klaus Schwab for panel discussion on stakeholder capitalism and what’s required of corporate leadership. Other participants were Jim Hagermann Snabe, Chairman of Siemens; Ginni Rometty, Chairman and CEO at IBM; Feike Sybesma, Chairman and CEO of Royal DSM; and Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO at Bank of America.
Benioff led the call for a new form of capitalism focused on all a company’s stakeholders, arguing that ‘stakeholder capitalism’ has the capacity to drive both strong shareholder returns and a positive impact on society as a whole. A recording of the session is available here, and excerpts are found below:
- “The purpose of a company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution is to create a value for all its stakeholders…Does that mean that I have to fight for my employees? Yes. So if they’re being discriminated against, yes we will fight for them. Does this mean that I have to fight for our customers? Of course, or even for our local stakeholders in our community, like our homeless. Every CEO has a responsibility to think about all stakeholders.”
- “I strongly believe that when we serve all stakeholders, business is the greatest platform for change. Stakeholder capitalism is finally hitting a tipping point in the U.S. The Business Roundtable has stated that the purpose of a corporation includes a fundamental commitment to all stakeholders, not just shareholders, and that choosing between the two is a false choice.”
- “Salesforce, through your mentorship, Klaus, is living proof that stakeholder capitalism works…We’ve had a phenomenal return for our shareholders: $165 billion in market capitalization, and a 4,000 percent return since we went public in 2004, but we’ve also had a very good return for our stakeholders. That includes 310 million in grants so far to worthy causes, and our employees have volunteered four and a half million hours for their local communities. And, 45,000 nonprofits and NGOs, including the World Economic Forum, use our product for free.”
Keith Block talks Digital Transformation with PayPal, Ericsson, NetHope and LumiLabs
Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block participated in a panel discussion with leaders from PayPal, Ericsson, NetHope and Lumi Labs focused on how we can shape the future of the digital economy. A recording of the full session is available here, and excerpts are found below:
- “We live in a world of disruptive innovation, whether it’s cloud or social and mobile technology, IoT or artificial intelligence or machine learning and quantum edge computing. I think this race has a long way to go, and there are new technologies being created every single day, so I think it’s a very, very exciting time.”
- “We find ourselves in this age of digital transformation where people are embracing these technologies, but this is not just digital transformation unto itself. There are also cultural transformation and organizational transformation and business model transformation, whether it’s B2B or B2C, so it’s an exciting time in our industry and I think it’s an exciting time in every industry. Certainly every CEO has an obligation to become the chief transformation officer.”
- “AI is certainly pervasive. You see this in healthcare, you see this in financial services in terms of wealth management, you see it in telecommunications and media. It’s everywhere and we’re learning things every single day with [Salesforce’s AI product] Einstein use cases from our customers. They have different ideas around how to apply artificial intelligence in every walk of life, whether it’s a B2C model or B2B.”