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Ashok Khosla is one of world’s leading experts on the environment and sustainable development. A former director of the United Nations Environment Programme, he was awarded the 2002 Sasakawa Environment Prize – “the Nobel Prize of the environment world” – and has been named in the UNEP’s Global 500 Roll of Honour.
Born in Kashmir in 1940, the son of a university professor and a college lecturer, Khosla gained a masters degree in natural sciences from Cambridge University before going on to do a PhD in experimental physics at Harvard.
After a period teaching in the United States – he was part of the team that designed and taught Harvard’s inaugural undergraduate course on the environment – he returned to his native India where he became the founding director of the Indian government’s Office of Environmental Planning and Co-Ordination, the first such agency in a developing country.
In 1976 he was appointed director of the UNEP, where he designed and launched Infoterra, the global environmental information exchange. He remained with the UNEP until 1982 when he left to found Development Alternatives, a Delhi-based Non-Governmental Organization devoted to promoting commercially viable, environmentally friendly technologies.
He has been a board member of numerous global environmental organizations – including the Club of Rome, the World Conservation Union and the International Institute for Sustainable Development – and served as an adviser to, among others, the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the Indian government.
In his presentation speech for the Sasakawa Award Klaus Toepfler, Executive Director of the UNEP, described Khosla as “a legend in the realm of sustainable development, and an individual who personifies the hopes and dreams of billions trapped in the indignity of acute deprivation.”
Pavan Sukhdev is Founder-CEO of GIST Advisory, a specialist consulting firm which helps governments and corporations discover, measure, value, and manage their impacts on natural and human capital. He is a Visiting Fellow at Yale University, where he was awarded the 2011 McCluskey Fellowship and wrote his book “Corporation 2020”. Earlier, he was Special Adviser and Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative, and lead author of their report “Towards a Green Economy”. He was also Study Leader for the G8+5 commissioned project on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (“TEEB”). Pavan was appointed to lead TEEB by the EU Commission and Germany, and delivered its “Interim Report” whilst still working full time at Deutsche Bank in 2008. A career banker, Pavan then took a sabbatical from the Bank to lead TEEB & the Green Economy Initiative for UNEP. While at Deutsche Bank, Pavan had founded (2006) and then chaired Global Markets Centre – Mumbai, a leading-edge front-office offshoring company. Pavan was a speaker at the World Economic Forum meetings at Davos in 2010 and 2011. He serves on the boards of Conservation International and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
Born 25 June, 1939 in Zürich, Switzerland. 1965 M.A. Physics, Hamburg; 1969 Ph.D. Biology Freiburg, Germany. 1972 Professor of Biology, Essen University. 1975 Founding President, University of Kassel. 1981 Director, UN Centre for Science and Technology for Development, New York. 1984 Director, Institute for European Environmental Policy, Bonn, London, Paris. 1991 Founding President, Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, Energy. 1998 Member of Parliament, SPD (serving as Chair, consecutively, of the Bundestag Study Commission on Economic Globalisation, and of the Environment Committee.) 2006 Dean, Bren School for Environmental Science and Management, UC Santa Barbara, California. 2007-2009 Co-Chair China Council (CCICED) Taskforce on Economic Instruments for Energy Efficiency and the Environment. 2009 retired; pro bono Co-Chair, since 2007, International Resource Panel, and Co-President, since 2012, of the Club of Rome.
Junko Edahiro is one of most prominent environmental journalists in Japan and is a major icon for slow movements in Japan. She has translated books of Lester Brown, Al Gore, Dennis Meadows, Donella Meadows, David Suzuki and many others into Japanese, and also writes by herself dozens of books on climate change, energy, happiness, systems thinking, and many other sustainability topics. She promotes and facilitates environmental communication and dialogue among governments, corporations and citizens.
In 2002, along with other collaborators, she founded Japan for Sustainability (JFS), a non-profit environmental communication platform. JFS provides information on Japan’s activities promoting sustainability oand publishes weekly digests and monthly newsletters. Serving as a Chief Executive, she has mobilized hundreds of volunteers to research, write, translate and publish 30 news articles every month on new regulations, policies, business initiatives, technology development and citizens’ local initiative. JFS and its website have won several awards for advancing sustainable development.
She is also an initiator of the Candle Night campaign, in which over five millions of people join to turn lights off in the night of the summer and winter solstices to think about the environment and peace.
From 2002 to 2005 she founded three companies, all related to sustainability in one way or the other. e’s, Inc. sells eco-products and support those who would like to transform themselves. Eco Networks, Inc. provides translation and consulting services and help Japanese corporations to conduct effective communication on sustainability and CSR. The other company is named Change Agent, Inc., and it provides consulting and education services, with tools such as visioning, systems thinking, communication and management systems.
In addition, she was an advisor to Japan’s Prime Minister at the “Climate Change Roundtable,” preparing for the Toya Lake Summit in 2008. She has served many other government committees and corporate boards related to climate change, biodiversity, and energy issues.
She speaks on sustainability outside of Japan, too – in Beijing, Bandung, London, Stockholm, Berlin, Davos and Washington DC. She has been selected as a council member of International Sustainability Innovation Council of Switzerland in 2008. She also gave a paper at the Fourth GNH Conference held in Thimphu, Bhutan in November, 2008. She spoke about her concept regarding a new lifestyle and mindset toward a more sustainable society as “De-Ownership, De-Materialization, and De-Monetization” at TEDxTokyo in May, 2011.
She has been chosen as a most successful career woman by Nikkei Career Women magazine in 2003. She has been selected as one of the “100 Planet Earth Lovers” at the World Expo 2005 held in Aichi, Japan. Also, she was named a Prominent Woman Leader in the Environment Movement by the Health and Human Services University of US.
In 2011, she founded the Institute for Studies in Happiness, Economy and Society (ISHES) to rethink on the relationship among happiness, economy, and society and explore better systems and indicators. ISHES engages in many activities, for example, seminars for thinking true happiness in relation with economy and society, and study meetings for developing dialogue skills to co-create even with people in different positions.
On June 12, 2011, Prime Minister Naoto Kan met in his office with prominent experts for a discussion on the future of Japan’s national renewable energy policy and she was requested her participation in this meeting. In July, she launched Minna-no [Everybody’s] Energy and Environment Conference (MEEC) with a variety of organizers, aiming to create a platform where people in various positions and with various philosophies can freely talk, discuss and conduct a dialogue about the future of energy in Japan. She intends making a groundswell through MEECs held in many places in Japan, as well as playing a role in creating and connecting processes for change in which each of us could think the most important question as one’s own problem, “what is the truly desirable energy for our society?” and act for it.
In 2013, to comprehensively study the relationship among happiness, economy, and society and work on these themes, she holds workshops on happiness and sustainability. She organizes a website “e’s Future Co-Creation Forum” to co-create new value from finding relationships among factors within a problem. She contributes to co-creation of happy and resilient future through human connections and dialogue.