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Sustainable Switzerland Forum 2023

Lively discussion on sustainable corporate governance (from left to right): Kathrin Hönegger, SRF, Ruth Metzler-Arnold, former Federal Councillor, Nora Teuwsen, ABB Switzerland, and Ursula Nold, Migros. Picture: Norman Bandi

Sustainable Switzerland Forum 2023: Great response from business, politics and science

During the two-day conference under the umbrella of Sustainable Switzerland - a sustainability initiative of the NZZ company - more than 50 national and international speakers spoke to around 750 participants in the Kursaal Bern.

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Sustainable Switzerland Forum 2023: Great response from business, politics and science

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On September 12 and 13, 2023, the second edition of the Sustainable Switzerland Forum took place at the Kursaal in Bern. As in the previous year, the event met with a great response. A total of 750 participants from the worlds of business, politics and science were on hand to actively participate and exchange ideas.

"The two days showed that there is a great need for discussion in all dimensions of sustainability. With the Sustainable Switzerland Forum, we are building bridges between business, science and politics and thus making a valuable contribution to a more sustainable Switzerland," summarized Corine Blesi, Managing Director of NZZ Connect, the organizer of the two-day conference.

Leaders' Summit: Joschka Fischer meets Youthtopia

The Sustainable Switzerland Forum kicked off on Tuesday morning with the Leaders' Summit. The exclusive C-level exchange focused on sustainability strategies for the future. Joschka Fischer, former Foreign Minister and Vice-Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, presented his vision for the future of energy and addressed complex environmental and sustainability issues. He concluded by advising the young activists never to resort to violence as a means of persuasion, but always to use peaceful methods.

Recent studies show that a large proportion of young people are increasingly concerned about issues such as climate change and social injustice. But what specific expectations do young adults have of companies and how do they envision the future? Melati Wijsen from Youthtopia spoke about this at the Leaders' Summit. She addressed the question of how companies can better involve young people in the topic of sustainability. The 22-year-old emphasized that although children and young people only make up 25 percent of the world's population, they are 100 percent of the future and explained how a cultural change in companies can better reach future generations.

Other well-known speakers at the Leaders' Summit included Barend Fruithof, CEO of the Aebi Schmidt Group, and Colin Mayer, Emeritus Professor of Management Studies at Saïd Business School (University of Oxford).

Sustainable Switzerland Forum Highlight Video
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Sustainable Switzerland Forum Highlight Video

Business Day - from Obama to stress to Knutti

The following 24 hours until midday on Wednesday were dedicated to Business Day. The focus was on discussion rounds and in-depth workshops on topics such as mobility, decarbonization and sustainable corporate management. Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway and Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), spoke about how the challenges of sustainability can be overcome in a complex and polarized world. Auma Obama, CEO of the Sauti Kuu Foundation and half-sister of US President Barack Obama, spoke about the social dimension of sustainability and its challenges and opportunities for the economy.

Three well-known business women discussed sustainable corporate management with conference moderator Kathrin Hönegger (SRF): Ursula Nold, President of the Federation of Migros Cooperatives (FMC), Nora Teuwsen, CEO of ABB Switzerland, and Ruth Metzler-Arnold, former Federal Councillor and Chairwoman or member of various boards of directors and foundation boards.

Two further highlights of the conference: the Sustainable Switzerland Night took place on Tuesday evening - while the French-speaking Swiss rapper Stress made the hall shake, guests were able to immerse themselves in the extravagant variety of vegetarian and vegan cuisine on the Food Market terrace. And on Wednesday morning, jury member Reto Knutti, Professor of Climate Physics at ETH Zurich, presented the Green Business Award to LEDCity as part of the Business Day.

Pictures of the Sustainable Switzerland Forum are available for download at this Link.

The next Sustainable Switzerland Forum will take place in Bern on August 22, 2024.

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