Virtual Event – Sustainability Week 2020 Disruption as a Catalyst for Action

Sustainability Week 2020 Disruption as a Catalyst for Action will take place on October 5th – 9th 2020 1pm – 3pm BST (8am – 10am EDT) . This virtual event will feature 10 hours of curated content over 5 days. Some of the topics that will be covered during Sustainability Week 2020 include: Scaling action on sustainability amid covid-19 / Can bold policies save the world? / Are you suffering from eco-anxiety?

As Greta Thunberg declared at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2020, “Our house is on fire.” From scorched landscapes to melting ice caps and polluted oceans, the impacts of climate change are clear and immediate. Yet despite the warning signs, progress to limit global warming remains slow and inadequate. Now, as the world grapples with the disruption of covid-19—a crisis that at once threatens climate action and reinforces the need for collective efforts—businesses and governments are realising that they can’t simply return to normal. But can this disruption spur positive action?

The Economist’s Sustainability Week will bring together industry leaders, policymakers, entrepreneurs and researchers to assess what businesses in particular—but also governments and NGOs—can do to rise to the challenge. How can solutions be scaled up to meet internationally agreed goals? Can the disruption of covid-19 accelerate progress? How can we scale solutions, alter behaviours and collaborate better?

New for 2020

“Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society,” warned the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its report of October 2018. From energy, oceans and land use to manufacturing, transport and cities, climate change is affecting all aspects of human life, and every industry must rise to the unprecedented challenge.

Over the past four years, The Economist’s Sustainability Summit has tracked the evolution of the sustainability imperative from a “nice to have” perk to a core component of business strategy. Amid the disruption of covid-19, Sustainability Week will ask how businesses and governments can harness the disruption for good.

Across their virtual platform they will host over 600 attendees to assess the efforts under way to meet the ambitious target of reducing global net human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions to zero by 2050. Through panel discussions, roundtables and interviews they will ask how solutions can be scaled up and examine how sectors can work together for collaborative advantage.

Who should attend?

  • Senior sustainability and CSR professionals – all industries
  • Impact investors / responsible investors
  • Charities and organisations with an interest in sustainability issues
  • Sustainability academics e.g. researchers and professors
  • Government bodies / departments who focus on the environment

Why attend

Hear from those at the forefront of the global sustainability effort and discover new opportunities for cross-border and cross-sectoral collaboration Shape the evolving dialogue on sustainability and share ideas with decision-makers and innovators Discover how governments and organisations are preparing to seize the opportunities presented by covid-19 to ‘build back better’ Learn how we can scale up action to cut carbon emissions and reach net-zero targets. How can policymakers drive the necessary action, and how can businesses help? Explore how businesses can seize opportunities for collaborative advantage and work together to create new standards Ask how large corporations can work with startups to scale up initiatives: who are the game-changers driving innovation? Delve into imaginary but plausible scenarios with The Economist’s “The World If” series. Take a detailed look at the fashion industry and its environmental credentials: what progress has been made? What more needs to be done? Network with business leaders, policymakers, investors and representatives from civil society and academia, addressing the key issues around sustainability through a series of panel conversations, interactive roundtables, interviews and more.


  • Alan Jope: Chief Executive Officer, Unilever
  • Douglas Lamont: Chief executive, Innocent Drinks
  • Angel Gurría: Secretary-General, OECD
  • Virginie Helias: Chief sustainability officer, Procter & Gamble
  • Hoesung Lee: Chair, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
  • Gail Bradbrook: Co-founder, Extinction Rebellion
  • Vanessa Wright: Group vice-president, sustainability and responsibility, Pernod Ricard
  • Ann Tracy: Chief sustainability officer, Colgate-Palmolive 
  • Erik Lindroth: Sustainability director, Tetra Pak Europe and Central Asia
  • Andreas Ahrens: Head of climate, Inter IKEA Group
  • Guy Grainger: EMEA chief executive, JLL
  • Jane Ambachtsheer: Global head of sustainability, BNP Paribas Asset Management
  • Pascale Wautelet: Vice-president, global research and development, label and graphic material, Avery Dennison
  • Kevin Sneader: Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company
  • Nigel Brook: Global head of climate risk practice, Clyde & Co
  • Susan Clayton: Whitmore-Williams professor and chair of psychology, The College of Wooster
  • James Thornton: Chief executive, ClientEarth
  • Peter Kalmus: Climate scientist and author Ben Dixon: Partner, SYSTEMIQ
  • Binish Desai: Founder, Eco Eclectic Tech, Recycle Man of India
  • Roberto Suárez Santos: Secretary-General, International Organisation of Employers (IOE)
  • Mark Shayler: Founder, Ape
  • Earthling Ed: Vegan speaker and educator
  • Daniel Franklin: Executive and diplomatic editor, The Economist

Click here for the agenda and more information.