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Prof. Robert
Swan OBE

The first man to reach the North and South Poles.


Leadership is the power to be brave and ignite action within yourself and others.

Robert Swan is a polar pioneer and leader in energy innovation and works closely with many of the world’s leading organizations on their ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) practices.

Current Work:
As the founder of the 2041 Foundation, Robert Swan has spent the last 30 years supporting the preservation of Antarctica through the engagement of industry and business, young people, and the promotion of renewable energy.

Previous Experience:

Robert Swan 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'!'

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.

Talking Points


After experiencing unexpected setbacks and serious injuries on the way to completing his lifelong dream of being the first person in history to walk to both Poles, Robert had no choice but to become an expert on resiliency. Robert discusses the specific challenges he has faced on his expeditions, and how he and his team had to be resilient in their toughest moments to accomplish their goals. Robert relates these experiences to the specific challenges of your audience and inspires strength and resiliency in the face of modern-day setbacks.

Creating a New Normal

As we emerge from the initial phases of the pandemic at different rates across the globe, many of us are being met with the stark realization that things may never return to our idea of “normal.”

Robert divulges his experiences with returning to society after nine months of isolation in Antarctica and finding out that everything had changed - even himself. He gives advice on how to embrace these changes and deal with the confusion and disappointment that often accompany them so that we may create and thrive
in our “new normal.”

ESG for Employees

After experiencing the effects of climate change firsthand on his expeditions, Robert uses his expertise to relay the importance of incorporating and improving sustainable practices within businesses and corporations. Robert discusses his trek to the South Pole powered entirely by renewable energy and why a global shift to
renewable energy is crucial for the preservation of Antarctica and the survival of our planet.

Robert tailors his speeches to discuss your company’s specific Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) policies as well as how your company can join Rob’s lifelong fight in protecting Antarctica for decades to come.


As someone who spent nine months living 3,000 miles away from civilization in a 16 by 24-foot hut at the edge of Antarctica with zero communication to the outside world, Robert is no stranger to isolation. Robert recounts his feelings of intense isolation on his journey, the way he dealt with that isolation, and the valuable lessons he
continues to draw from those experiences. He relates these lessons to the specific challenges your audience is facing, especially in the wake of the ongoing global pandemic.
The presentation was the perfect mix of inspiration and humour and most certainly exceeded our expectations. In fact, Professor Swan was by far rated the BEST speaker at our event and arguably, the best any of the audience would ever be privileged to see again. Two weeks down the track we are hearing sound waves about the presentation coming from all areas within our organisation, and further, I know some people have pledged their donations to his fund. Thanks also to you for clearly delivering a perfect brief. Gordon Lefevre, General Manager, NAB

Over the years, we have had many 'hired gun' speakers at our National Performance Group meetings for our collision industry customers. Few have hit a 'homerun' like Robert Swan! I never thought anyone could tell a story of exploration and survival and tap in to so many emotions. By the end of his story you have been awed by the challenges he undertook and the photos to prove it; you have felt compassion for the struggles he endured; you have felt disgust and disgrace for the amazing amount of garbage left behind in the name of 'science'; you feel Robert's passion and enthusiasm for cleaning up our environment; unexpectedly, you have laughed at things you thought couldn't be funny, but Robert has a way of finding the humor in otherwise humorless situations; and, most importantly, you walk away asking yourself 'What am I going to do to help' because, by the end of his presentation you feel compelled to do something.

Akzo Nobel

An enthusiastic man who speaks passionately about focus and commitment…worth hearing.


Who can get 100 Swiss bankers on their feet and give an impressive demonstration of vision, objectives, courage, planning, strategy, commitment, perseverance, persistence, loyalty, trust, tolerance, teamwork, friendship, satisfaction & success? The only person in the world who walked to the South and North Poles - Robert Swan.

Finter Bank, Zurich

Robert has spoken to our staff on three occasions. Although it is now more than two years since he first spoke, people still talk about the effect his presentation had on them. He has a unique ability to inspire whilst at the same time giving practical lessons on issues that are facing all organizations such as leadership, team working and empowerment. We have yet to find a better speaker than Robert.


Robert has always been outstanding whenever we have had the honor of using him. As a pioneer he challenges us to reach new heights of excellence.


Robert is absolutely brilliant. I heard Robert’s presentation in the U.K. I was so moved by his commitment and impassioned delivery I invited him to speak in the U.S.A. The results were outstanding. He spoke to all ages very effectively. He will educate and motivate any audience.


Robert Swan elicited the first ever standing ovation from our sales conference of over 500 people.

Mercury Communications

Profound would be an understatement… it will certainly affect how I work, both as an individual, and as a manager and team member.

Lundbeck Ltd

The presentation was very well received. Robert put on a very good show.

Credit Suisse

Shell staff have participated in Robert’s expeditions since 2009 and we have been pleased to have Robert Swan visit us as a speaker on more than one occasion. He offers a unique proposition for business; real world awareness, advice and guidance blended with pragmatism and a strong sense of environmental stewardship.

Shell Research

If you have a heartbeat, you will be inspired by Robert Swan. Whether talking to C-suite executives or rising stars, Swan is uniquely poised to inspire people to stretch their ideas about what is possible-then to dig deep to achieve the extraordinary. He doesn’t just change people’s ideas: he changes their lives.

Corporate Eco Forum
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