You are here: Home Programs Thought Leadership

Thought Leadership

WEC is a platform for global companies to share strategic insights and competencies.
By facilitating high quality Executive Roundtables designed for peer-to-peer discussions on practical solutions for sustainability challenges, WEC provides companies with the opportunity to learn from the top thought leaders.

Our Roundtables are designed to enable strategic discussions among vice presidents of various industries, generally from the sustainability, operations, procurement, and marketing divisions.  Key aspects of the format are the relatively small number of selected participants, few presentations with more room for interactive discussions and a focus on strategies and practices to implement sustainability goals. While company representatives typically make up 80% of our roundtable participants we always provide some space for NGOs, academia and government representatives.

WEC typically plans 4 roundtables a year, with two each in Europe and North America (and in Asia respectively), and also holds the prestigious annual Gold Medal Colloquium in Washington, D.C. as part of its Gold Medal Award event. Previously known as the International Environment Forum (IEF), these events have been held about 200 times since 1977.


WEC facilitates Executive Roundtables in cooperation with its member companies and strategic partners. In the last five years these events have been hosted by Boehringer Ingelheim, Boeing, Dow Chemical, Erb Institute at Mchigan University, ERM, Ingersoll Rand, Johnson Controls, Marks and Spencer, Merck, F. Hoffmann-La Roche, Sanofi, SC Johnson, Shell, Stanford University and Volkswagen.

Roundtable and Gold Medal Colloquium Summaries

Roundtable topics have included sustainable corporate governance structures, sustainable supply chains, climate change, water challenges, natural resources constraints, greener products, and social innovation.

Summaries as follows:

2017 Science Based Targets to Implement a Robust Climate Strategy (Frankfurt)
2017 SDG workshop #1: Practical Experiences of Global Companies working with the SDGs (Munich)
2017 Evaluating and Strengthening Supplier Performance: Goal Setting and Collaboration Initiatives (Mexico)
2017 Collaboration for Achieving Circular Economy Business Solutions (Zurich)
2016 The Next Generation of Sustainability Reporting (Ingelheim)
2016 Science Based Targets (SBTs): How do Companies Respond? (Webinar)
2016 Aligning UN Sustainable Development Goals with Corporate Goal Setting (Mexico-City)
2016 Managing Human Rights Issues in Global Companies (Ann Arbor)
2016  Business Planning for the Future: New Business Models (London)
2016  The New Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): How Do Companies Respond? (Webinar)
2015  Innovative Governance Structures for Corporate Sustainability (Munich)
2015 Building Sustainability Knowledge for Business Managers in Emerging Markets (Washington, D.C.)
2014  Transformational Collaboration in Sustainable Supply Chain Management (Basel)
2014  Innovations for Managing Business Risks from Natural and Material Resource Availability (Frankfurt)
2014  The New Leader: Transforming Sustainability Challenges into Core Business Opportunities (Stanford)
2013  Top 12 Take-Aways From WEC's 2013 Gold Medal Week (Gold Medal Colloquium, Washington, D.C.)
2013  Creating Shared Value Through New Forms of Collaboration (Berlin)
2013  Building a Sustainability Roadmap for Engineering Education
2012  21st Century Megatrends and their Impacts on Business Strategy + Innovation Opportunities (Cologne)
2012  Practical Business Solutions to the Climate-Water-Energy-Food Nexus (Gold Medal Colloquium)
2012  Systemic Solutions for innovation in sustainability (Lausanne)
2011  Managing Social Responsibility Challenges to Business in Less Developed Nations (Mainz)
2010  Strategies to Ignite Broad Based Market Demand for Energy Efficiency (Brussels)
2010  Scaling Up Sustainability Management in Global Companies (Wolfsburg)
2010  Water as a strategic Issue for business and society (Paris)
2010  Sustainable Consumption: Strategies and Practices of Business, Expectations and Behaviour
         of Consumers (Gold Medal Colloquium, Washington, D.C.))

2009  Verifying Green Product Design and Marketing (Ingelheim)
2009  Creating Solutions for Greenhouse Gas Reductions with Business and Government (Berlin)
2008  Technology-Based Solutions to Global Environmental Challenges
2008  Effective Integration of Sustainability Issues into the Supply Chain (Basel)

Recent speakers

Senior respresentatives of companies:
CH2M (Jaqueline Hinman), Coca-Cola FEMSA (Francisco Suarez), ERM (Graham Lane), Dow Chemical (Neil Hawkins),  F. Hoffmann-La Roche (Peter Schnurrenberger), Filippa K. (Elin Larsson), GE (Ann Klee), HP Inc. (Judy Glazer), IBM (Wayne Balta), ING Group (Gerald Naber), Johnson Controls (Catherine Potter), LafargeHolcim (Bernard Matthieu), Marks & Spencer (Mike Berry), Marriott International (Mari L. Snyder), Merck (Martin Hostalek), Novozymes (Claus Stig Pedersen), Philips Lighting (Anton Brummelhuis), Ricoh (Sergio Kato), SAP Marcus Wagner), SC Johnson (Kelly Semrau), Shell (Rupert Thomas), Siemens (Ralf Pfitzner), Unilever (Jeff Seabright), Volkswagen (Gerhard Praetorius), etc.

Senior representatives of academia/government/NGO/Think-tank:
Cambridge (Jaideep Prabhu), Cork Institute of Technology (John Barrett), Corporate Register (Paul Scott), Ecologic Institute (R. Andreas Kramer), EPA (Gina McCarthy), Environmental Defense Fund (Fred Krupp), Ethical Trading Initiative (Peter McAllister), Harvard University (Jane Nelson), Norges Bank Investment (Isabelle Thompsen), Stanford University (Pamela Matson), The Nature Conservancy (Mark Tercek), Trucost (Richard Mattison), UN Environment (Elisa Tonda), University of Michigan (Andrew Hoffman), Volans Ventures (John Elkington), World Economic Forum (Dominic Waughray), WWF (Jason Clay), etc.

In addition to roundtables WEC also designs events and workshops to enable the implementation of best practices. Participants are small groups from several companies or from one company alone.

Interested companies should contact: (for the Americas and Asia); (for Europe, Africa and Asia)

















Document Actions