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International thought leader addressing environmental issues

Rob Watson

travels from USA

Market Transformation Thought Leader, one of the Fathers of The Green Building Movement, Founder of LEED and SWEEP, CleanTech and Circular Economy Entrepreneur

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About Rob

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Speaker Rob Watson is an expert on green buildings, sustainable tourism, energy efficiency technology and more. Rob helped to pioneer LEED, the most commonly used standard by which green buildings are measured around the world. What’s more, speaker Rob Watson is president of a tech startup and chairs the Green Schools Alliance.

Why you should book speaker Rob Watson:

  • He is renowned in his craft. In the book Hot, Flat, and Crowded, author Thomas Friedman called Rob “one of the best environmental minds in America.” In 2019, Rob was named by Dartmouth Alumni Magazine as one of The 25 Most Influential Alumni in the college’s entire 250-year history.
  • He is lively. A visionary who makes it real, his presentations are thought-provoking, dynamic, and engaging. Rob’s award-winning experience and insights make him an exciting and popular keynote speaker on a wide range of environmental, business, and futurist topics.
  • He is an optimizer. Rob has spent three decades conceiving and implementing market transformation policies, programs, and projects on four continents that combine regulatory push with market pull to optimize environmental and economic outcomes.

World-renown sustainability expert, speaker Rob Watson, is a maverick leader and disruptive change agent who solves systemic problems through market transformation and first-of-a-kind solutions. Widely considered one of the founders of the global green building movement, Rob is best known as the “Founding Father of LEED.” Under his direction, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) became the most commonly used international standard by which green buildings are measured worldwide.

Speaker Rob Watson seeks to optimize energy and environmental benefits through the intersection of services and technologies across multiple sectors — from green buildings, and sustainable urban mobility to zero waste management. Rob’s influential work in green buildings, solid waste, and sustainable tourism has dramatically impacted multiple sectors, including energy efficiency and climate change, to make life better for all species on Earth.

As part of his market transformation approach, in 2016, Rob launched SWEEP, the Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Performance standard, a comprehensive sustainable materials management framework for municipal robust waste programs and private companies. From 2016 to 2018, Rob was recognized as an international Be Waste Wise Pioneer. Since 2007, he has been in a leadership role at four cleantech start-ups ranging from international and US-based green building services and technology companies to a zero-waste technology. Before this, as Senior Scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) for over 21 years as Director of the International Energy and Green Building programs.

Rob spent ten years promoting energy efficiency and utility energy-saving programs in Russia and the Former Soviet Union and another ten years in China on green buildings. His influential work in green buildings, energy efficiency, solid waste, clean technology, and sustainable tourism has led to the wholesale change in these sectors across the globe.

Rob has been honored with several national and international awards. In 2019, he was named by Dartmouth Alumni Magazine as one of The 25 Most Influential Alumni in the college’s 250-year history. He is also a 2019 Top 50 Construction Influencer, according to Building Connected, an International Be Waste Wise Pioneer since 2016, and a 2013 BRIT International Award of Excellence in Conservation recipient. For his leadership as the Founder of LEED, Watson was the recipient of the First Lifetime Achievement Award from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2002.

Rob has authored and been featured in numerous articles and publications worldwide and is a regular speaker and conference keynote. Mr. Watson has an A.B. from Dartmouth College, an MSc from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from Columbia University. On a personal note, he is also a gardener, chef, and former world-class rower. Desiring to give back, Rob recently also joined the faculty of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) as an Adjunct Professor.

See keynotes with Rob Watson
Keynote by speaker Rob Watson

How Will Cities of the Future Work: Exploring Resilience in a Changing Climate

Urban areas need more connection to the environment and natural areas need less development. As human populations become more concentrated in urban areas because of better economic opportunities, new resilient systems are needed to ensure that this growth is environmentally, economically, and equitably sustainable.

Audience takeaways:

  • What does “Future-proofing” mean – How do we reduce cities’ broad environmental footprints through more efficient buildings and practices, as well as develop urban water, transportation and waste management systems that are flexible and resilient in the face of upcoming challenges both anticipated and unforeseen.
  • More roads…buses…rail lines are the answer! But what was the question? Look at the evolution of mobility in society and discusses how “access” is becoming the more dominant framework for evaluating the transportation network and what it means for how people will get from one place to another in the future.
  • Because of its profound impact on society and our current economic system, climate change is one of the most polarizing topics in science and politics. Does an adequate response to the effects of a warming planet represent a threat to “our way of life,” or are human systems and ingenuity up to the task of a “soft landing”?
Keynote by speaker Rob Watson

Constructing The World: Green Buildings and Energy Efficiency

Winston Churchill once said that “First we shape our buildings, then our buildings shape us.” It is now widely understood that the construction and operation of buildings is the most damaging of all human activities but, with the right approach, can also be a pathway to salvation. Explore what we can do about it.

Audience takeaways:

  • Learn, from the Founder of LEED himself, how high-performance buildings and integrated sustainability best practices result in more profitable and healthier buildings.
  • Learn first-hand from one of the founders of the movement about the opportunities and challenges of improving efficiency and productivity, and the policies and programs that promote this global movement.
  • How Rob not only launched the global standard and also provided LEED certification services to over 30 million square feet of development and has helped certify 4 Platinum projects, including the first Platinum EBOM, CS and CI projects in China.
Keynote by speaker Rob Watson

What’s Next and How Do We Get There?

Explore Global Trends, Innovation, Disruption, and Market transformation. A consultant to governments, NGOs and corporations worldwide, Rob has made a career of having his finger on the pulse and staying one step ahead.

Audience takeaways:

  • Transforming markets to sustainability is a choice, not fate. Learn the proven system of successfully transforming any market developed during the creation of the trillion-dollar global green building market, which used a combination of regulatory-push and market-pull mechanisms.
  • Changing the way we think is the most effective way to promote transformation. Learn about “what’s right” instead of “who’s right.” Challenge conventional thinking in order to overcome old thought patterns that prevent meaningful, profitable, and sustainable change.
  • How does a “Turnkey Lifecycle Sustainability” model combine the best of integrated green design, cleantech products and operations management to ensure a building’s optimal performance throughout its life?
Keynote by speaker Rob Watson

Circular Economy: Sustainable Solid Waste/Materials Management & Recycling

Watson is at the forefront of technical innovation in solid waste management both through the lens of
performance standards and corporate innovation. Rob discusses what it will take to bring about “the end of
garbage” and what it means for our planet.

Audience takeaways:

  • Learn about modern waste management practices and the trends toward a zero-waste, circular
    economy society, as well as the answer to burning questions such as “paper or plastic?”
  • Since 2016, the Solid Waste Environmental Excellence Protocol (SWEEP) has become a
    comprehensive environmental performance standard for municipal solid waste programs and private
    companies in the solid waste industry. Learn how it is transforming the market.
  • Dive deep into the circular economy with Rob, Chief Sustainability Officer of EcoHub LLC, an
    innovative developer of environmentally friendly waste separation and processing complexes.
Keynote by speaker Rob Watson

Sustainable Tourism

For much of the world, tourism is the lifeblood of the economy, but if not done properly, it can have profoundly negative social, environmental, and economic impacts.

Audience takeaways:

  • Discover through case studies and lessons learned how many of the world’s best tourist destinations are using sustainable practices to enhance visitor experience and improving the local economy.
  • As Principal Investigator on Sustainable Toursism for Secretariat for the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (STREP) and a speaker at the 2020 Climate Strong Islands Dialogue in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Rob shares his real world experience and insights to this timely topic
  • Learn about the opportunities to transform the regional tourism sector to sustainability, including country-specific recommendations for Palau, Tonga, French Polynesia, New Caledonia & Vanuatu.
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Keynote topics with Rob Watson