Confirmed Keynote speaker

Walter Stahel, the founder of the concept of ”Circular Economy”.

Walter R. Stahel (born June 5, 1946) is a Swiss architect, graduating from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich in 1971. He has been influential in developing the field of sustainability, by advocating 'service-life extension of goods - reuse, repair, remanufacture, upgrade technologically' philosophies as they apply to industrialised economies. He co-founded the Product Life Institute in Geneva, Switzerland, a consultancy devoted to developing sustainable strategies and policies, after receiving recognition for his prize winning paper 'The Product Life Factor' in 1982. His ideas and those of similar theorists led to what is now known as the circular economy in which industry adopts the reuse and service-life extension of goods as a strategy of waste prevention, regional job creation and resource efficiency in order to decouple wealth from resource consumption, that is to dematerialise the industrial economy. The circular economy has been adopted by the state-owned-and-run China Coal industry as a guiding philosophy. In the 1990s, Stahel extended this vision to selling goods as services as the most efficient strategy of the circular economy. He described this approach in his 2006 book The Performance Economy, with a second enlarged edition in 2010 which contains 300 examples and case studies. he currently works closely with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation on further promoting his ideas with economic actors.

In 2005, Stahel was nominated as member of the "Consumer Commission" of Ministerprasident (PM) Oettinger, head of the Government of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, and heads its section on sustainable development. In 2007 he was appointed to the Editorial Board of the Chinese Journal of Population, Resources and Environment. Stahel has been serving in a number of functions for the European Commission. From 1988 to 2014, he was Head of Risk Management Research of The Geneva Association, a think-tank of the world insurance industry.

In 2005, Stahel was nominated Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences of the University of Surrey at Guildford. On 1 November 2012, he was awarded a Honorary Degree award of Doctor of the University (DUniv) by the same university. Later in November 2012, Stahel was nominated Full Member of the Club of Rome, based in Winterthur. In 2016, he was nominated as the first Visiting Professor of Institut EDDEC (Environnement, Développement Durable et Economie Circulaire), a joint academic institution of Université, HEC and Polytechnique de Montréal. On 3 May 2016, he as awarded a Doctorate honoris causa by the Université de Montréal.

See his profile on