Facing the facts at The Economist Sustainability Summit 2019

Sustainability Summit

This year’s theme ‘Facing the facts’ says a lot about where we are now with the world now finally waking up to the impact of climate change. What needs to happen next to drive action?

We’re looking forward to hearing from pioneers including Polly Courtice of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Tom Kay of Finisterre and Han de Groot of Rainforest Alliance and have pulled together our pick of the top sessions.

Re-booting the global economy – do we need a new economic model?

In a recent report, the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership highlighted the essential role of banks and government in progressing towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The keynote panel, which includes a business leader, financier and a policy maker, will explore whether it’s time to reboot the global economy to respond to the new demands created by climate change.


  • Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director general, environment, European Commission
  • Polly Courtice, Founder and director, Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership
  • James Atkins, Chairman, Vertis Environmental Finance
  • Kate Wylie, Global vice-president of sustainability, Mars 
  • Jan Piotrowski, Environment Editor, The Economist

Forget mitigation, it’s all about adaptation

“Are we fooling ourselves into thinking that the damage can be reversed?”, The Economist asks the panel. After a debate discussion highlighting different perspectives, audience members will have the opportunity to ask questions and input on whose point of view was more compelling.


  • Deon Nel, Chief executive, Global Resilience Partnership
  • Han de Groot, Chief executive officer, Rainforest Alliance
  • Daniel Franklin, Executive and diplomatic editor, The Economist

Can green be the new black?

From toxic products and microfibres polluting our oceans to the huge amount of water needed to produce one pair of jeans, the fashion industry can considerably damage our environment. The panel, a mix of global fashion brands and ethical fashion pioneers, will share insights on how their companies are working to make fashion sustainable.


  • Halide Alagöz, Executive vice president, chief supply chain and sustainability officer, Ralph Lauren
  • Tom Kay, Founder, Finisterre.
  • Cyndi Rhoades, Founder and chief executive, Worn Again Technologies
  • Pernilla Halldin, Public affairs and engagement lead climate and circular, sustainability, H&M Group
  • Daniel Franklin, Executive and diplomatic editor, The Economist

Getting real – showcasing the progress on transport

In a world where moving goods, services and people across lands and oceans has become commonplace, how do we limit the environmental impact of transport? This session will showcase examples of the exciting developments that are happening right now and what’s needed to achieve sustainability in one of the highest polluting sectors.


  • Peter Harris, Sustainability Director Europe, UPS
  • Sandra Roling, Head of EV100, The Climate Group
  • Matthew Gorman, Sustainability & environment director, Heathrow 
  • Jan Piotrowski, Environment editor, The Economist

Finding and sharing the good news – and how do we take things to scale?

While media channels is essential in raising awareness of climate change and its impact, celebrating progress is also an instrumental tool for furthering advocacy. In the sustainable development world, the good news often goes unnoticed. We look forward to a positive talk about change-making sustainability efforts with these two researchers.


  • Norichika Kanie, Professor, graduate school of media governance, Keio University
  • Youba Sokona, Honorary professor, University College London

Follow us on Twitter @Greenhouse_PR #EconSustainability to get involved in discussions from The Economist Sustainability Summit on Thursday 21st March. If you’re also attending and would be interested in meeting the Greenhouse team to discuss how we can help to amplify your message and create impact for your business, drop us a line at julie.jamis@greenhousepr.co.uk