Biography - Stephan Schmidheiny


Introduction Biography

Stephan Schmidheiny has made industrial history, as both an entrepreneur and pioneer. After taking over responsibility for the family firm Swiss Eternit Group in 1976, he began to push for an end to asbestos processing, leading the way in the world in this regard. He subsequently played a key role in saving the Swiss watch industry, and built up an industrial group in Latin America. He served as an advisor to the United Nations and the OECD, established the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and set up numerous organisations that promote sustainability. As a philanthropist and author, and as the person who coined the term 'eco-efficiency', he has lent crucial impetus to the debate on sustainable economic, social and environmental development worldwide.

Peterson Institute for International Economics

Elected to the Board of Directors of the Peterson Institute for International Economics; from 2001 member of the Executive Board; stepped down in 2003

Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development

Foundation of the Latin American Center for Competitiveness and Sustainable Development at the INCAE Business School in Costa Rica

Alliance for Global Sustainability

Foundation of the Alliance for Global Sustainability AGS, an international partnership between four of the world’s leading science universities; Chairman of the international Advisory Board from 1996 – 2001

World Resources Institute

Election to the Board of World Resources Institute (WRI), Washington; stepped down from the Board in 2001


Elected Chairman of the International Management Institute IMI, Geneva; 1989 fusion of IMI with IMEDE to form the International Institute for Management Development IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland; 1990 establishment of “Stephan Schmidheiny Chair of Entrepreneurship and Finance”; withdrew from the Foundation Board of IMD in 1992