Planetiers World Gathering: Steve Jobs of sustainability speaks about net zero

Speaking at Planetiers World Gathering, environmental leader Prof Gunter Pauli, criticises businesses for making promises for 28 years’ time

EUROPE: A leading global environmentalist has slammed businesses worldwide for their net zero promises and has called for action to be taken immediately. Speaking at Europe’s largest sustainability summit, Planetiers World Gathering (PWG) in Portugal today, the renowned author referred to poor decision making, false promises and the dangers they pose to the wider planet. The event, which is in its second day, takes place at the Parque Eduardo VII and Pavilhão Carlos Lopes, in Lisbon, Portugal and runs until October 26th.

Best known for creating the Blue Economy model, Prof Gunter Pauli criticised businesses and organisations that are making promises about reaching net zero by 2050. He said “Why are we making promises for 28 years time? When your house is on fire, you don’t make decisions about what you’ll do in the future. You take immediate action and that’s what needs to happen.” 

He also spoke of the importance of putting ethics at the centre of businesses across the globe, claiming we need to stop analysing and start doing. “Society has a disease and the disease is analysis. We are wasting our time analysing when action is needed. My company was net zero in 1992. It needs to happen now.” 

Planetiers World Gathering
Sérgio Ribeiro, Co-founder PWG, speaking at PWG

Raise Awareness in Young People

The solution, he noted, is to start with young people. He added “They have the dreams and we need to give them the technical knowledge to succeed. Education must be at the core. Science is technical knowledge with enthusiasm and the talents of our wonderful young people need to be developed. If we continue with analysis, it will lead to paralysis. We are bombaring our kids with bad news. We need to give them pathways to do much better than us. If children only know what we know, they can never do better than us.” 

Leading a forum at PWG entitled Education for Kids, Prof Pauli spoke about his world-famous Porrima project – a 118-foot-long, 79-foot-wide ship that is currently circumnavigating the globe, powered by solar energy and producing hydrogen through seawater. Porrima also collects nano-plastics and has a system for fishing in a more sustainable way, through bubble technology, similar to how dolphins function, using biomimetics.

Considered the Steve Jobs of sustainability, Prof Pauli’s projects range from energy and agriculture to education. He has pioneered a range of projects, including paper stone – a high-quality paper that looks like cellulose paper but is produced without cutting down a single tree or using a drop of water, in a process that reuses waste from mines and quarrying activities. 

Professor Pauli led a dynamic and positively disruptive forum at PWG, aimed at educating children on science, nature and entrepreneurial thinking. A father-of-six, he has written 365 fables that translate the principles of sustainability, inspired by scientists and nature, specifically designed to awaken each child’s entrepreneurial spirit and self-esteem. The fables, he says, are a basis for a new kind of education, making science accessible and attractive to young people. Addressing a captive audience at PWG, he discussed the huge potential for schools of the future in adopting forward-thinking models, and presenting fresh and innovative ideas to meet the crucial sustainability goals for our planet. 

Make Science Accessible

Planetiers World Gathering connects entrepreneurs, activists, investors and industry experts and encourages them to address the many challenges posing immense risk to our planet. Over 30,000 attendees, 300 speakers, 200 startups and 100 investors from over 90 countries are expected to attend this year’s event, which marks the fully physical return of PWG, following a virtual, reduced in-person model at the height of the pandemic. Issues such as the war in Ukraine, the energy crisis, the pandemic, and the growing global social, environmental and economic instability remained front and centre on day one. This year’s PWG is bolstered by partnerships with several high-profile organisations, such as the European Commission, Visit Portugal and Lisbon Municipality.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of Planetiers World Gathering, Co-Founder Sérgio Ribeiro said:
“Planetiers World Gathering has never been so important and so relevant. Now, more than ever, amidst the rising cost of living, the energy crisis, the war in Ukraine and the continued effects of the global pandemic, organisations like Planetiers need the commitment of entrepreneurs, activists, investors and industry experts to help mitigate what we can. The environmental, social and economic health of our world – our entire planet – is at stake, and we need to bring balance across all areas. So many amazing speakers and participants have come to Lisbon this year, amidst such difficult conditions. They believe in the power of cooperation and the importance of cooperation to achieve the goals of an effective sustainable transition.”

For further information, please visit 

See the full PWG Programme HERE