Davos adopts the caring face of capitalism

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 25, 2008 (AFP) – Corporate responsibility rather than profit was set to take centre stage in Davos on Friday, as the annual get-together of business chiefs turns its attention to issues of health, aid and development. “If every company here, if every country represented here would decide to divest from Iran, that can stop Iran,” she added. “The decision is in your hands.” Rock star activist Bono, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates and UN chief Ban Ki-Moon were to steer the conversation away from the global economy and geopolitics, towards issues such as malaria eradication, poverty alleviation and climate change.

The Davos event has long prided itself on showing the caring side of capitalism, although participants have often been criticised for trumpeting big ideas on big issues in public, while actually expending most of their energy on corridor schmoozing and backroom deals.

Gates was scheduled to update delegates on the agricultural projects funded by the charitable foundation he founded with his wife Melinda, before joining Bono, Ban and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for a debate on progress — or the lack thereof — in reaching the UN Millennium Development Goals.

A perennial participant at