Top consulting firms are prestigious WEF partners in Davos

15 January 2024 Consultancy.eu 5 min. read

The World Economic Forum (WEF), host of the annual meeting of business leaders and politicians in Davos, works with a number of high-profile strategic partners. Among of them are large multinational companies – also among the elite group of 100 partners are some of the world’s leading management consulting firms.

McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, Deloitte, EY, KPMG, PwC, Accenture, Kearney, Oliver Wyman… These are just some of the top consulting firms that count themselves among the prestigious list of WEF strategic partners.

As the 5-day event kicks off in Davos, Consultancy.org provides a rundown of what some of the leading consulting firms have on their agendas, and their delegations.

Top consulting firms are prestigious WEF partners in Davos

Bain & Company

Joining the Bain delegation are partners and directors from offices across Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East. AI, generative AI (GenAI), and other technological innovation are at the top of the list as far as hot-button topics that Bain is focusing on at Davos.

The firm has also been focusing their expertise in other areas that they are keen to talk about, including sustainable food systems, circular economies, and climate change, all certainly trendy topics as the world grapples with the rapidly worsening effects of climate change.

McKinsey & Company

For their part, McKinsey says they are engaging in constructive dialogues to identify solutions for sustainable and inclusive growth. The firm also took the lead in releasing the Global Cooperation Barometer 2024, made in collaboration with the WEF. The Barometer measures global cooperation across pillars such as trade, innovation, climate, health, and peace.

McKinsey’s delegation includes the company’s CCO Liz Hilton Segel, as well as other senior partners. In a LinkedIn post, she noted the focus on resilience, as business leaders grapple with external challenges like climate change, geopolitical conflict, and stubborn inflation.

Boston Consulting Group

The delegation from Boston Consulting Groupis headed by the firm’s CEO Christoph Schweizer, accompanied by Global Chair Rich Lesser and other senior partners. On the agenda for them are hot topics like global macroeconomics, climate change, sustainability, and – last but not least – AI.

BCG also has a somewhat special collaboration with the WEF in that it takes a lead role in the First Mover Coalition, a group of influential, net-zero-minded companies, and Schweizer and Lesser are members of the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders.

Deloitte

This Big Four firm actually has its own venue in Davos – Deloitte Haus, which is set up as a place to “connect with leaders, speakers, and innovative solutions,” in their words. The firm is hosting events on issues such as “trust, sustainability and climate, AI, equity, purpose, and governance.”

The Deloitte delegation is headed by Global CEO Joseph Ucuzoglu, who is there accompanied by other top leaders at the firm. With AI taking center stage at the forum, Deloitte chose it as the perfect moment to unveil their large-scale survey of C-Suite attitudes towards AI.

KPMG

For their part, KPMG is participating in this year’s Davos Forum by facilitating collaboration, encouraging public-private cooperation, and collaborating with others to devise solutions that contribute to a more sustainable future. The firm has focused on the energy transition, scaling renewables, and ESG strategies. AI – essentially a must at this point – is also on their agenda.

PwC

At Davos, PwC is engaging in dialogues with global leaders, focusing on critical issues like economic growth, AI, and climate strategies. Serving as a strategic partner to the World Economic Forum, PwC aims to contribute impactful, forward-looking solutions for sustainable inclusive growth.

In their presence at Davos, PwC is focusing on sustainability, diversity, digital trust, the global economy, and – yes, you guessed it – AI. The firm aims to contribute insights to key conversations shaping the world's future.

EY

As for EY’s participation in the WEF meeting, their India Chairperson Rajiv Memani has been making the rounds for his talk on interest rates and why he does not foresee them coming down as quickly as some expect. The firm also focuses quite a bit on AI (surprise, surprise), with a recent survey they released in anticipation of the Davos Forum finding that 70% of CEOs were uncertain about GenAI.

Interestingly, some of the buzz around EY at Davos has been related to comments about the possibility that the consulting giant could break up into a number of separate, smaller firms. Though the idea was tossed out last year, it was floated once again by Global Managing Partner Andy Baldwin in Davos.

Other consultancies

Among the 100 strategic partners of WEF are around a dozen of other consultancies, including Kearney, IBM Consulting (as part of IBM’s membership), Strategy& (as part of PwC’s membership), Oliver Wyman and Mercer (parent Marsh McLennan is a strategic partner), as well as IT-focused giants Cognizant, Capgemini, HCLTech, Hitachi, and Infosys.

The price to pay

Being a strategic partner reportedly costs an arm and a leg. Even just going to the Davos Forum as representative of a company is expensive. Tickets for entry plus the required membership reach into the tens of thousands of dollars and food prices at the venues are on par with Michelin star restaurants.

While these price tags are not likely to help the WEF beat the yearly charges of elitism at their annual meeting in this exclusive Swiss ski resort town, business leaders are happy to pay considering they can schmooze and make deals worth far more.

Some of the other criticism of the WEF revolves around charges of hypocrisy when it comes to the leaders involved, many of whom discuss sustainability at length every year, yet may have built great wealth at the expense of the climate. The fact that many of those leaders arrive on private jets, the most polluting form of transportation by far, does not escape many critical observers.