The Private Sector and Sustainability. A New Way Forward?

The Private Sector and Sustainability. A New Way Forward?


On the 16th of March the Environmental Committee of the Graduate Institute has hosted its final event for the Swiss Sustainability Week, titled ‘The Private Sector and Sustainability. A New Way Forward?’.

It consisted of a keynote speech delivered by the Executive Director of UNITAR, mr. Nikhil Seth and a panel discussion led by the IHEID Phd candidate Dario Piselli with the participation of representatives from Mondelez International, Impact Hub Geneva, UNEP FI and WBCSD. The moderator inspired the audience by discussing how sustainability has become a focal point of discussion, and how relevant it ought to remain in the years to come. He also addressed the role of the approaching deadlines of Agenda 2030 and the role that the private sector shall undertake in the years to come.

The all-female panel engaged in a really lively conversation with the moderator, who led the discussion over several relevant topics, such as sustainable supply chains, SDG goal n.12, the role of social entrepreneurs to bridge the gap between public and private sector, the concepts of circular economy and sustainable financing. Their contributions made the public think differently about sustainability, and sparked an engaging debate.

Thanks to this event, the Environmental Committee has gained further visibility and legitimacy in leading the debate on sustainability at the Graduate Institute. In particular, this event was key for us in bringing the Swiss Sustainability Week to the Graduate Institute’s attention. We were also very impressed by the participation of many professionals to this event. In the public there were many employees of UNEP, WTC and other IOs based in Geneva.

It was inspiring to see that a student-led initiative could bring together very different individuals all sharing the same passion for sustainability and the same concerns for our future existence on this planet. At the aperò offered after the event the participants had the chance to further discuss their ideas and express their thoughts together with some of the guest speakers, who stayed to answer some extra questions.

Chasing Ice: Film and Panel

Chasing Ice: Film and Panel


On March 22nd, as an extension of the Swiss Sustainability Week, the EC organised a screening of the award-winning documentary ‘Chasing Ice’, followed by a panel discussion and wine reception. Stunning and powerful imagery, interesting panelists and free wine were the order of the day.

‘Chasing Ice’ is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet through The Extreme Ice Survey project. A bold photographer by the name of James Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

The discussion was an excellent opportunity for students to increase their knowledge of Climate Change and glaciology with a fascinating panel of experts. The panelists were:

  • Michael Zemp, Glaciologist, Director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service
  • Cédric Dupont, Professor, International Relations/Political Science, IHEID
  • Anna Brach, Senior Programme Officer in the Emerging Security Challenges Programme, head of the Human Security Cluster, GCSP

The topics tackled include:

  • Scientific evidence of climate change and its limitations.
  • International negotiation and the discourse in the security sector
  • Scientific data in international negotiation processes
  • Difficulties in effectively communicating the urgency of climate issues to the public