WEF launches accelerator to boost crypto-enabled ESG efforts

Forum has teamed up with 'CoinDesk' to accelerate efforts around ESG targets for the crypto ecosystem

WEF said cryptocurrencies can provide both new opportunities and challenges related to ESG. AFP
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The World Economic Forum has teamed up with CoinDesk, a news site specialising in digital currencies, to launch the Crypto Impact and Sustainability Accelerator (CISA), aimed at shaping the future of crypto-enabled Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) efforts.

The initiative will accelerate progress around ESG targets for the crypto ecosystem, bringing key players and industry leaders together to shape a more inclusive future, the entities said in a joint statement on Friday.

While supporting the development and responsible use of cryptocurrencies, the initiative aims to bridge gaps in understanding between the public and private sectors and shape a cohesive narrative that highlights how the crypto sector can contribute to ESG, the statement added.

“The crypto ecosystem is expected to see massive worldwide adoption over the next few years,” the WEF head of blockchain, Sheila Warren, said.

“There is an opportunity to shape an inclusive and sustainable future to ensure we maximise the benefits and minimise the risks ahead … this project aims to bring together leaders to accomplish just this,” Ms Warren said.

The accelerator will connect the dots with disparate but related efforts within the ESG ecosystem, uniting private companies, government representatives, academics, international organisations and NGOs in multi-stakeholder projects to further the global ESG agenda with actionable measures.

Environmental and social impact is one of the main priorities for investors as climate change and social cohesion top the list of the WEF’s Global Risks 2022 report, which was released on Tuesday.

The WEF says that cryptocurrencies can provide both new opportunities and challenges related to ESG across a diverse and often fragmented ecosystem.

The world’s ESG challenges defy national jurisdictions, corporate structures and any form of centralised authority, CoinDesk chief content officer Michael Casey said.

CoinDesk is thrilled to support CISA’s role in gathering a global, multi-stakeholder community to advance these kinds of crypto ESG solutions.

“We need decentralised information solutions that are uniformly trusted by governments, companies, investors and the general public to inform reliable resource decisions that attack those problems.”

The multi-stakeholder projects made possible through the new accelerator aim to develop collaborative mechanisms that create common standards in areas such as ESG metrics and ethnographic research, provide funding for accelerating existing initiatives and expand training and certification programmes.

It will bring together a vibrant ecosystem around a uniform set of ESG goals through projects across three pillars that advance learning and enable leadership focused on diverse geographies.

These include a digital ethnography of crypto-enabled financial inclusion efforts, the development of a toolkit on decentralised autonomous organisations, and the management of a workshop series focused on the intersection of crypto and net-zero efforts.

Updated: January 15, 2022, 11:35 AM
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