All full-fledged participants have white badges. Your badge is what enables you to signup for sessions, to get into the Congress Centre and even ride free on the Davos town buses. Everyone wants to have a white badge.
There are several types of white badge, but all of them get the best treatment in Davos. In addition to the plain white badges that most business and public figure participants have, there are media leader and GLT badges, as well as some other subgroups. I’ve been asked whether it’s good to be a media leader. My answer is a resounding yes, since you get everything everyone else gets, plus a special media leaders programme, which is excellent.
Spouses of white-badge participants also get a white badge, but it visually slightly different.
Uh oh. I wish I could be reassuring about your orange badge, but it does serve slightly as a mark of Cain in Davos. The so-called working media have orange badges: the reporters and film crews that have to file daily. They can’t signup, they can’t go to sessions over lunch or dinner, and they are only allowed into interactive sessions in the Congress Centre on a space available basis.
When I first went to Davos eight years ago, it was undoubtedly worse. Then, there were very, very few orange badges allowed, and most of them were to the kind of people who now get white badges (editors, senior columnists, etc). The media were barely tolerated. Now nearly one out of three people in Davos is media. There is some talk of proving the “working media” with an orange T-shirt as a souvenir: it would say, “I had an orange badge, but at least I was there.”
Dark blue badges
Permanent World Economic Forum staff. If you see a dark blue badge, the person should be able to provide you whatever assistance or information you need. A handful of dark blue badges also have a blue top (rather than white). These are the senior executives of the Forum.
Light blue badges
Temporary staff. Given the scale of Davos, the Forum brings in large numbers of people to help just for the event. Light blue badges should be good sources of assistance as well.
Accompanying persons. There are very few of these granted, but the most senior politicians and a true handful of CEOs get green badge accompanying persons. Other than scurrying around, green badges have no privileges.
There are more colours for security and some other services. Just be glad if you have a white badge.