Robert Swan OBE
Polar Explorer & Environmental Leader
Robert Swan, OBE is one of the world’s preeminent polar explorers and environmental leaders.
By age 33, Robert Swan, OBE became the first person to walk to both the North and South Poles, earning his place in history alongside the great explorers and adventurers. His 900 mile journey to the South Pole, ‘In the Footsteps of Scott’, stands as the longest unassisted walk ever made on earth.
During his expeditions, Swan experienced firsthand the effects of global warming at both Poles. In Antarctica, his eyes forever changed color after prolonged exposure under the hole in the ozone layer. In the Arctic, his team survived near-death encounters in a melting ocean, prematurely caused by global warming.
These powerful experiences only helped to shape and focus Swan’s lifetime goal: working towards the preservation of Antarctica as the last great wilderness on earth.
In 1992, Robert Swan, OBE was the Keynote Speaker at the first ‘World Summit for Sustainable Development’ held in Rio de Janeiro. There he addressed world leaders and was charged with undertaking a 10 year global and local environmental mission which would involve industry, business and young people.
Ten years later in 2002, Swan reported back to world leaders at the second World Summit held in Johannesburg. He had successfully completed all of his promised missions, including numerous international, youth-driven clean-up projects in Antarctica and Africa. A true visionary at heart, Swan committed to a third 10 year mission, this time to inspire youth to become sustainable leaders and promote the use of renewable energy throughout the planet.
Since 2003, Swan has led annual expeditions to Antarctica with students and business executives to focus on leadership training, environmental clean-up and education initiatives. The ‘Inspire Antarctic Expedition’ teams helped design and build the world’s first renewable energy Education Station in Antarctica, called the E-Base.
In March 2008, Robert Swan, OBE made Antarctic history again by living solely on renewable energy at the E-Base for over two weeks. Successful in the world’s harshest climate, the positive message Swan sent to the world was “This is possible in Antarctica, and surely it is possible in the ‘real world’!”
Currently Robert Swan, OBE is on a five-year global ‘Voyage for Cleaner Energy’ aboard his renewable energy sailboat, which will conclude at the third World Summit, currently expected to take place in Singapore. Swan aims to showcase sustainable living practices and transport alternatives that run solely on renewable energy.
Swan’s contribution to education and the environment has been recognized on an international scale, seen through his appointment as United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for Youth and Special Envoy to the Director General of UNESCO. He was awarded the high distinction of OBE, Officer of the Order of the British Empire, as well as the Polar Medal by Her Majesty the Queen.
Robert Swan, OBE is an exceptionally gifted communicator and has an uncanny ability to motivate those around him into action. His unique insights and life experiences inspire and educate business leaders and young people around the world, and he clearly translates his icy experiences at the Poles to delicate maneuvers in the boardroom.
Swan’s real-life discussion of leadership, trust and working together never ceases to thrill, uplift and stimulate crowds, drawing standing ovations throughout the globe