02 June 2009

Welcome to the Bella Center

The Bella Center is in the Copenhagen equivalent of London´s Docklands, and will be site of the main UN climate conference in December. Vestas have erected a wind turbine in the car park in the front, which will be dismantled again when the UN climate conference is over. The car park is full of police vans.

I arrived by metro, walking around a building site to get there. Hardly any of the delegates to the World Business Summit on Climate Change take this route though - it is all taxis and limos.

On first arrival, the staff at registration are from the World Economic Forum and from the World Business Council on Sustainable Development - two of the six co-sponsors of the summit. I was refused a copy of the participants´ list but acquired one by other means... it is a list of men from North America and the EU, headed up by a range of dignitaries including the Queen of Denmark, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and Al Gore. Most participants are CEOs or senior executives, with a significant proportion of government officials too.

My first “networking” experience involved being approached by a Californian with a Willy Loman personality trying to sell me hydrothermal vents as “the greatest new source of energy since nuclear”. For the most part, though, the CEO club is too inward looking to bother me so I can slip by unnoticed for most of the three days of the Summit.

Copenhagen, 24 May


Update: Taking a page of the participants list at random, the ratio of men to women was 4:1. Four of the 43 participants named on the page were from outside of the "annex 1" industrialised countries. (I counted four other pages, where this ranged from 4 to 6 - mostly from Korea, China, South Africa and the Middle East).

The official press pack states that "The World Business Summit on Climate Change gathers more than 800 participants from 47 countries including 500 business leaders, 137 government representatives and 43 NGOs" as well as 261 journalists.

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