Jeffrey Sachs

Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned economist, bestselling author, innovative educator, and global leader in sustainable development. He is widely recognized for bold and effective strategies to address complex challenges including the escape from extreme poverty, the global battle against human-induced climate change, international debt and financial crises, national economic reforms, and the control of pandemic and epidemic diseases.

Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University, where he holds the rank of University Professor, the university’s highest academic rank. Sachs held the position of Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University from 2002 to 2016. He is President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Chair of the Lancet COVID-19 Commission, Co-Chair of the UN Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition, Commissioner of the UN Broadband Commission for Development, Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Honorary Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development at Sunway University, academician of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences at the Vatican, and an SDG Advocate for UN Secretary General António Guterres. From 2001-18, Sachs served as Special Advisor to UN Secretaries-General Kofi Annan (2001-7), Ban Ki-moon (2008-16), and António Guterres (2017-18).

Sachs has authored and edited numerous books, including three New York Times bestsellers: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011). Other books include To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for
Peace (2013), The Age of Sustainable Development (2015), Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair & Sustainable (2017), A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism (2018), and most recently, The Ages of Globalization: Geography, Technology, and Institutions (2020).

Sachs was the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership. He was twice named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. Sachs has received 38 honorary doctorates. In 2021, Sachs received the TÜBA Academy Prize from the Turkish Academy of Sciences, the Legion of Honor by decree of the President of the Republic of France, and the Order of the Cross from Estonia, and honorary doctorates from Amrita University, Kerala, India, Macau University of Science and Technology, and the University of Siena, Italy.

Prior to joining Columbia, Sachs spent over twenty years as a professor at Harvard University, most recently as the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade. A native of Detroit, Michigan, Sachs received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees at Harvard.

William McDonough

William McDonough is leading us into the Next Industrial Revolution—an Earth-friendly, economically-robust new stage of human industry. He has changed the way we think about the design and construction of everything, from books to buildings to entire cities, showing us that total sustainability and economic success are one and the same.

Chosen for Vanity Fair's list of 100 most influential people in "the new establishment", Mcdonough designed the city-sized Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, where he installed the world's largest green roof, saving the company millions a year in utility costs alone. It's a perfect example of his work: large-scale ingenuity that is greening business, in the last place you'd expect—in this case, the American rust belt. In 2013, the Ford plant celebrated its 10th anniversary with the living roof thriving and all original plant species surviving. He is also the master planner behind seven new, entirely green cities in China. In his practical-minded, nature-inspired projects—for companies like Nike—he employs sustainable principles that are both beautiful and cost-effective.

McDonough has defined these principles of the sustainability movement through his companies: McDonough Innovation, William McDonough + Partners and MBDC. William McDonough is co-creator of the Cradle to Cradle® design framework and also contributed to the founding of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute. He serves on the International Board of Trustees for Sustainability at Arizona State University and is on the Sustainability Leadership Council at the University of Cambridge. Most recently in 2014, the World Economic Forum appointed him as Chair to the Meta-Council on the Circular Economy.

McDonough's project principles have seemingly caught on worldwide. In his fascinating talks, delivered with eloquence and a very dry sense of humor, he draws on his stunning body of work to provide you with strategies toward absolute sustainability in all industries. He also explains his influential cradle to cradle design process, in which products can be used, recycled, and used again without losing any material quality—and the subject of his fascinating book, Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things.

Written with his colleague, Michael Braungart, Cradle to Cradle is a manifesto calling for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design. Their second book, The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance, was released in 2013.

McDonough is a contributing writer to The Guardian and The Huffington Post and is frequently featured on GreenBiz.com as part of The McDonough Conversations.

Mohan Munasinghe

Mohan Munasinghe is a Sri Lankan physicist, academic and economist with a focus on energy, water resources, sustainable development and climate change.

As Vice-Chairman of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Professor Mohan Munasinghe shared the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace, for work on global warming and sustainable development. More recently, he received the 2021 Blue Planet Prize, also called the "Environmental Nobel Prize". The Heads of five countries, including Bangladesh, Brazil, Dominican Republic, France, and Sri Lanka, have presented highest national awards to him.

Currently, he is Chairman of the Munasinghe Institue of Development, Colombo; Director-General of the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) and Distinguished Professor at the University of Manchester; and Honorary Senior Advisor to the Sri Lanka Government.

Professor Munasinghe has earned post-graduate degrees in engineering, physics and development economics from Cambridge University (UK), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA), and McGill University and Concordia University (Canada). During 35 years of distinguished public service, he has served as Senior Energy Advisor to the President of Sri Lanka, Advisor to the United States Presidents Council on Environmental Quality, and Senior Advisor to the World Bank.

He has taught as Visiting Professor at a number of universities world-wide, and has won many international prizes and medals for his research and its applications.

He has authored over 90 books and several hundred technical papers on the environment.

Professor Munasinghe has made numerous keynote speeches at gatherings ranging from high level international conferences to community meetings. He has organised and conducted international training seminars on climate change, sustainable development, environment, economics, energy, transport, water resources, and information technology, in various parts of the world, for thousands of senior officials and corporations.

He is a Fellow of several international Academies of Science, and serves on the editorial boards of a dozen academic journals.