14 March 2018

The Private Sector and Sustainability: A New Way Forward?

The Swiss Sustainability Week is a series of engaging events relating to environmental, social and economic sustainability held at universities and tertiary education institutions across Switzerland. In March 2018 over 100 events, organized voluntarily by students, will takes place in 12 cities.  

As part of the Swiss Sustainability Week, the IHEID Environmental Committee organizes on 16th of March from 12.15 to 14.15 in the Auditorium A1B a panel discussion on “The Private Sector and Sustainability: A New Way Forward?”

Recent literature examining economic growth trajectories highlights the growing importance of a vibrant private sector in achieving sustainable development. Statistics indicate that the private sector creates 90 per cent of jobs, finances 60 per cent of aggregate investment and generates 80 per cent of fiscal revenues in developing countries. These figures demonstrate the significance of the sector and necessitate its inclusion in strategies to generate shifts in contemporary world affairs. This is especially true when considering the Agenda 2030 on Sustainable Development. The widening gap between anticipated and actual progress, notwithstanding the approaching deadline in just more than a decade, is a matter of concern. The public sector currently acts as the principal driver of efforts, but it lacks the resources to orchestrate significant shifts independently. This calls for reinvigorated strategies that promote the active inclusion of stakeholders previously absent from the process.

In light of this, the panel discussion aims to further investigate the role played by private actors. The panel’s objective will be twofold: It will aim to evaluate the successes of current private actors filling existent gaps and the potential opportunities that can be expected to pan out in the future.

A keynote speech will be held by Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, Executive Director, UNITAR

The panel includes:

  • Careen Abb, Programme Lead, Positive Impact, UNEP Finance Initiative
  • Amanda Byrde, Co-Founder and Head of Finance, Impact Hub
  • Virginie Mahin, Senior External Affairs Manager, Mondelez International
  • María Mendiluce, Managing Director, Senior Management Team, WBCSD
  • (Moderator) Dario Piselli, PhD Candidate, Department of International Law, IHEID


The panel will be followed by a networking aperitif.


Further events and workshops about the Swiss Sustainability Week can be found here: https://www.sustainabilityweek.ch/