Davos 2019: Guest Speakers
Internationally recognized leader on global climate change
Christiana Figueres was Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 2010-2016. Assuming responsibility for the international climate change negotiations after the failed Copenhagen conference of 2009, she was determined to lead the process to a universally agreed regulatory framework. Building toward that goal, she directed the successful Conferences of the Parties in Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012, Warsaw 2013, and Lima 2014, and culminated her efforts in the historical Paris Agreement of 2015.
Throughout her tenure Ms. Figueres brought together national and sub national governments, corporations and activists, financial institutions and communities of faith, think tanks and technology providers, NGOs and parliamentarians, to jointly deliver the unprecedented climate change agreement. For this achievement, Ms. Figueres has been credited with forging a new brand of collaborative diplomacy. She is currently the Founding Partner of Global Optimism and the convener of Mission 2020, a global initiative that seeks to ensure the world bends the curve on greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 in order to protect the most vulnerable from the worst impacts of climate change and usher in an era of stability and prosperity. Her responsibilities include Vice Chair of the Global Covenant of Mayors, Climate Leader for the World Bank, Distinguished Fellow of Conservation International, Board member of Climate Works and the World Resources Institute, member of the Rockefeller Foundation Economic Council on Planetary Health, and member of the Leadership Council of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves.
Double Brit-winner and two-time Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter
Ellie Goulding was born in Hereford, England, where she developed a deep affinity for the natural world. Her incredible career to date has seen sales over 15 million albums, over 105 million singles, and 13 billion streams worldwide. Her new eagerly awaited album will be released in 2019. An accomplished classical musician, she is simultaneously working on a classical project.
Ellie also uses her voice and reach to represent environmental and social justice issues. In November 2017 Ellie was awarded the United Nation’s New Voices Award by the UN Foundation in recognition of her activism and became a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Environment. She has made it her mission to witness the frontline of climate change and the plastic pandemic, joining expeditions to Greenland and East Africa. By bearing witness, she is able to speak frankly and directly to her fans on the global issues that matter and will shape their future. During 2018 Ellie addressed 85 heads of state in London at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, spoke to the fashion industry on the necessity of climate goals at the UN’s Fashion for Development showcase and delivered a speech at the UK’s home of science, The Royal Institution in the final round of Talanoa talks, on the eve of COP24. At this critical time, Ellie continues to campaign at the highest level, amplifying the voices of young people in particular. She is passionate that political discussions on climate must match the ambitions of young people across the world. Along with new music, during 2019 Ellie will continue to ramp up her environmental work, continuing to visit the world’s leading scientific projects and to help lend her voice to communicating evidence to the widest possible audience.
Executive Director of Future Earth
Amy Luers has previously been Director of Climate at the Skoll Global Threats Fund (SGTF) and Assistant Director for Climate Resilience and Information at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). Luers started her career in Latin America as co-founder and the first executive director of Agua Para La Vida (Water for Life), working with rural communities to enhance access to potable water. She has published in both academic and the popular media on issues related to vulnerability to global environmental change, data, sustainability, climate policy, and science communication. A respected scientist and data innovator, Luers has been recognised as a PopTech fellow, a Switzer Environmental Fellow, Heinz Environmental Scholar, and has advised the California state government, the White House, and the United Nations. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has served on committees of the National Academies of Sciences.
Award-winning filmmaker, television presenter, news correspondent and entrepreneur
Craig Leeson is the global evangelist for the Plastic Oceans Foundation, a charity dedicated to ending humanity’s single-use plastic addiction within a generation. Craig’s debut cinematic feature film, “A Plastic Ocean”, which he wrote, directed and executive produced, was ranked the number one documentary on iTunes in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada and is also available globally on Amazon, and Netflix with the backing of Leonardo DiCaprio. “A Plastic Ocean” has won more than 15 film festival awards and has been screened in over 70 countries on 6 continents. There have been over 1,200 screenings globally hosted by government agencies, non-profits, schools, universities, individuals, multilateral institutions, corporations, aquariums and others, including the Smithsonian Institute and the Australian and UK Parliaments. The film has been subtitled into 15 languages. A shorter 22-minute version of the film was premiered at the UN General Assembly, in conjunction with the Permanent Mission of Colombia, on June 6 in New York City, to more than 500 people. The film counts among its patrons UNESCO.
Professor of Marine Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
Douglas McCauley research focuses on understanding how the oceans are changing and how this affects humanity. He is also the Director of the Benioff Ocean Initiative at UCSB, where he finds innovative ways to incorporate new technology into ocean research. He earned a PhD at Stanford University, where he studied the ecology of sharks and coral reefs. His research has been published in research journals, including Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, and he has been featured in outlets such as the New York Times, BBC, Time, and US National Public Radio.
Gloria Fluxà Thienemann
Vice-Chairman & Chief Sustainability Officer of Iberostar Group
Gloria is advancing the company’s approach to responsible tourism through the movement Wave of Change. The Iberostar Group is a 100% family-owned Spanish multinational company based in Palma de Mallorca (Spain). It has been operating in the tourist sector since 1956. With a sales network covering 35 countries and a staff of more than 28,000 employees, the Group handles 8 million customers a year. Hotels form the company’s core business, with a portfolio of more than 120 four and five star hotels located in 18 countries on three continents. The Iberostar Group is owned by the Fluxà family and chaired by Miguel Fluxà Rosselló, founder of the Group’s current hotel unit and the Iberostar Hotels & Resorts brand.
16 year old Swedish climate activist
In August 2018, Greta became a prominent figure in a student strike outside the Swedish parliament building, raising awareness of global warming. Her school strike has spread across the world, and she has become a prominent spokesperson for environmental causes and global warming. In November 2018 she spoke at TEDxStockholm, and in December 2018 she addressed the COP24 UN climate conference. She has travelled across the world to speak to political leaders, voicing that urgent action needs to be taken to reverse an imminent environmental disaster.
CEO of The B Team
Halla Tómasdóttir started her leadership career in corporate America working for Mars and Pepsi Cola. She was on the founding team of Reykjavík University where she established the Executive Education Department, founded and led a successful women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment initiative and was an assistant professor at the Business School. She was the first female CEO of the Iceland Chamber of Commerce and later went on to co-found an investment firm with the vision to incorporate feminine values into finance. The company successfully survived the infamous economic meltdown in Iceland. Halla has served on for-profit and non-profit boards in education, healthcare, finance and consumer products. An active change catalyst, Halla was a founding member of the National Assembly held in Iceland in the wake of its financial collapse, where a random sample of the Icelandic nation discussed its values and vision for the future.
Co-Director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research
Johan Rockström is an internationally recognised scientist for his work on global sustainability issues. He helped lead the internationally renowned team of scientists that presented the planetary boundaries frameworkas fundamental in maintaining a “safe operating space for humanity.” This framework has been embraced as an approach to sustainable development, and has been used to help guide governments, international organizations, NGOs, and companies considering sustainable development.
Managing Director, World Business Council for Sustainable Development & Alliance to End Plastic Waste
María Mendiluce has over 20 years’ experience in the energy and climate area. Since 2008, María has led the implementation of WBCSD’s Climate and Energy strategy, guiding the work of over 200 member companies to influence the global climate landscape. María managed the development of the Low Carbon Technology Partnerships initiative, one of the flagship projects leading up to the success of COP21. She created WBCSD’s new program on circular economy, and is now developing the new strategy for transport and cities. Prior to joining WBCSD, Maria held different roles at the International Energy Agency (Paris), Iberdrola and the Economic Bureau of the Spanish Prime Minister (Spain). María teaches at the University of Geneva, coaches students and is recognized for her contributions to scientific journals and international conferences.
CEO of the We Mean Business
We Mean Business is a coalition of organisations working with thousands of the world’s most influential businesses to accelerate solutions to climate change. We Mean Business brought the voice of progressive businesses to the heart of the COP21 process to great effect. Nigel Topping is an industrialist by background, with broad experience in the manufacturing sector, most recently as part of the MBO team from TMD Friction, which he helped build into the number one producer of brake pads globally. He is passionate about the role of business in solving our most complex problems, and a big believer in the power of exponential technological change combined with passion and purpose to create the thriving economy of the future.
Executive Vice President of Corporate Relations and Chief Philanthropy Officer of Salesforce
In this role, Suzanne DiBianca leads Salesforce’s stakeholder strategy—including corporate giving, community relations, sustainability efforts and workforce development which includes veterans, neurodiverse and non-traditional employment candidates, all with a focus on re-skilling for jobs of the future. Suzanne was previously co-founder and president of the Salesforce Foundation and Salesforce.org.
Executive Chairman & Co- Founder of Globalgate Entertainment
A partnership with Lionsgate and 11 other top film companies with whom Globalgate produces and finances local-language films in key countries around the world. William Pfeiffer is also a US Director of Plastic Oceans, a non-profit organization seeking to end plastic pollution.