Pokémon Go the unlikeliest champion of sustainability at Davos 2017

19 Jan 2017

Pokémon Go-themed steamed dumpling. Image: Mond Duang/Shutterstock

Pokémon Go is finding itself the unlikeliest champion of sustainability at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with 17 specially curated PokéStops in the region.

Pokémon may not be as popular as it was when it launched last year, but there is no denying it has become an icon in the popularity of mobile gaming, quickly becoming the most downloaded app of all time.

Now in 2017, its developer Niantic is asking users in the Swiss city of Davos to turn their attention from chasing Pokémon to understanding the major inequalities in the world.

As part of a new collaboration between Niantic, The Pokémon Company and the charity Project Everyone, 17 new PokéStops – places where you obtain valuable in-game items – have cropped up around Davos.

These 17 PokéStops coincide with the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development that were agreed upon by 193 world leaders in 2015.

These goals include: no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality and affordable energy.

In addition to these new PokéStops, the Congress Centre – where much of the forum is being held – will be turned into a Pokémon Gym.

At these points in the game, a player would train their creatures to perform or battle it out with other human players. The centre will act as a place to train, in between trying to solve some of the world’s most pressing questions.

Finally, as part of the agreement, from spring of this year, additional in-game content will become available to continue to promote the importance of the Global Goals campaign organised by Project Everyone.

We need unusual and lively partnerships

The founder of Project Everyone is filmmaker and UN advocate Richard Curtis, who said that the partnership will do much to raise awareness of sustainability.

“I believe we can be the generation to see the fantastic ambitions of the Global Goals achieved,” he said.

“But in order to achieve this, it will require awareness, multisector actions, and unusual and lively partnerships.”

He continued: “Pokémon Go is a great way of making sure the goals are front of mind with the Davos attendees, who are such an important constituency in delivering on the promise of the goals.

“And it’s excellent to be able to report back home on a partnership my sons all understand and are excited by – their generation is also so crucial to the achievement of the [goals].”

Pokémon Go-themed steamed dumpling. Image: Mond Duang/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic