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About Simon Zadek

Simon Zadek is an independent advisor and author. He blogs at

Articles by Simon Zadek

This week’s front page editor


Adam Bychawski is an editorial assistant at openDemocracy.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Can we believe China's Corporate Social Responsibility rhetoric?

China is talking the talk of Corporate Social Responsibility in its 12th 5-year plan. It has even endorsed the UN Guidelines on Business and Human Rights. Simon Zadek argues that the new economic superpower sees a real interest in responsible and clean business, and that deeds will follow the rhetoric

Dear Mr Wolf… Reflections for the Magic Mountain

Can Davos 2012 offer real alternatives or will it serve up a smiling, gritted-teeth espousal that ‘business as usual’ can and should be sustained?

Durban: failure will be success (again)

There is no global deal nor any chance of one at Durban's COP17. Fortunately, "Plan B", predicted by the author after COP15, is looking feasible and even healthy. Welcome a profusion of national, regional and city initiatives to save us from devastating climate change

Sustainable finance is the way out of crisis

S&P, in downgrading the USA, made the right call for the wrong reason. Keynesians like Jeffrey Sachs see this but need to go even further: the developed world will come out of recession only when the mighty engine of finance turns to the task of developing a sustainable future. And that faces political, not economic obstacles

PFI pigeons come home to roost in the UK. What will the bill be for Africa?

Freedom of Information act requests are now revealing the full cost of the off-balance sheet Private Finance Initiative (PFI) structures used to finance so much "public" investment in the last 20 years. If we ever find out, how much will such schemes end up costing Africa?

The five squanderings of the UK's assets - the real losses behind the election everyone lost

The UK election may have disappointed all the party leaders but over the past 40 years the country has recklessly thrown away its advantages. Can they get together for the fresh start that is needed?

Zadek in Davos

We've survived the economic crisis, but global governance failed. Davos 2010 should be about fixing it. Are we ready for de-Hayekification? From Zadek's blog.

How we were led through the noughties

How was the world led through the decade? Wisdom, power or might? (from

Learn from Copenhagen's failure

The way the global commons is run must be turned upside-down. (From

The money's there

There is a climate deal to be done after the Copenhagen debacle: issue sovereign debt for green investment. From

Refining the revision of Plan A

Zadek responds to the commentary on his argument that any top-down multilateral agreement relying for success on sovereign abatement commitments and international public finance funding credibly verified outcomes is doomed to failure. (From

Blair takes a spin by Copenhagen

Simon Zadek blogs from Copenhagen. Was Blair worth his carbon footprint yesterday?

Remember - 14 Giga Tons

Simon Zadek blogs from Copenhagen

What Lisbon means for Europe

openDemocracy asked five of our authors for their takes on the passage of the Lisbon Treaty. Here are their comments

Plan B on climate: national deals

Copenhagen will not deliver the right global deal. It is time for nations to save us from climate catastrophe.

Need new governance


Do prices count?


Sands into snow

Simon Zadek is back in the (in)sanatoriums of the Magic Mountain for Davos '09

Accounts for the long future

2008 has taught us that we must strengthen the accountability of the powerful. The priority is to foster real long termism in the financial sector

Civil society and capitalism: a new landscape

Michael Edwards's critique of philanthocapitalism underplays how far a world of interdependency creates opportunity for civil society to force business into embracing social and legal progress, says Simon Zadek of AccountAbility.

Accountability's global thread

A failure of accountability connects the crises facing the world community, says Zadek.

Reinventing global trade: the MFA Forum

An imaginative collaboration of stakeholders in the global south’s textile industry offers a new model for reviving the stalled world-trade talks, says Simon Zadek.

The four faces of the World Economic Forum

A blizzard of networks, deals and future plans leaves Simon Zadek seeking one more ingredient to make Davos great.

Davos: changing the world from within

The architecture of global governance must be reimagined – and the key is a new dynamics of accountability. Simon Zadek lays down a challenge to the World Economic Forum summit at Davos.

Accountability: the other climate change

An appeal to both self-interest and long-term thinking is essential to tackling the pressing threat of global climate change, says Simon Zadek.

China's route to business responsibility

The Shanghai dialogue of the UN Global Compact Summit suggests to Simon Zadek that a fusion of globalisation and corporate responsibility is becoming essential to China’s transformation.

Reinventing accountability for the 21st century

Simon Zadek, chief executive of AccountAbility, introduces a new debate on openDemocracy that explores a new generation of accountability mechanisms focussed on the horizontal, not the hierarchical.

openDavos: Simon Zadek's blog

Loose yet organic, exclusive yet open, competitive yet dialogic, religious yet cross-cultural. Lula, Sharon Stone, Bill Gates, and Bono. Simon Zadek tracks the World Economic Forum’s reinvention as “tomorrow’s model of global governance”.

From the magic mountain: the World Economic Forum

The annual Davos conference pulsates with brilliant people. Why do so many of their fine ideas dissolve with the winter snow? Simon Zadek, an insider-outsider with attitude, sends a daily diary from the high-altitude conference.
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