by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Global elites of all sorts are traveling to Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting this week. The theme this year is “Rebuilding Trust.” Perhaps a good place to start is distinguishing capitalism and environmentalism. They could also stop trying to make business serve the environment rather than people.
Consider the irony of Sultan Al Jaber, a major oil baron and the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, presiding over the global climate conference, COP28, in 2023. Yet the subversive strategy of enlisting a “capitalist” in the climate agenda paid dividends. The United Nations agreement reached at COP28 explicitly mentions phasing out fossil fuels.
While the chief executive of a major oil company supporting the phaseout of oil is ridiculous on its face, it is only the most recent example of many high-profile “capitalists” advancing environmental agendas. In a video earlier this year, for example, Apple CEO Tim Cook and his team appeased an angry mother nature by planting forests, reducing water usage, using higher amounts of renewable energy, and creating “net zero” products.
Cook’s fiduciary duties to the board and shareholders of his publicly traded company still require him to continue serving consumers. But if those duties are weakened or abolished, it will not take long for one of the world’s most valuable and profitable companies to go the way of the world’s largest universities and foundations, and now Abu Dhabi National Oil Company — pursuing policies antithetical to their original purpose.
While most Davos elites may laud that, many others suspect something more nefarious is happening — hence the need to “rebuild trust.”
After all, there are a lot of folks who stand to gain from the green agenda — those who collect paychecks or fees by providing guidance, oversight, verification, and other environmental, social, and corporate governance-related services when companies pursue environmental goals.