These young leaders are driving action on nature and climate – World Economic Forum

Young climate innovators, ecopreneurs, activists and Indigenous leaders continue to demonstrate courage, influence and vision in the face of the enormous global challenges they have inherited – including the growing impacts of the climate crisis, ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss.
From spearheading new solutions to raising awareness of human impacts on our environment, young people are crucial partners for driving global action to protect and revive our natural world.
Under the theme “Cooperation in a Fragmented World”, the Annual Meeting will bring together a delegation of 26 nature and climate youth leaders, including young people involved in the Global Shapers Community,, #GenerationRestoration Youth Challenge and UpLink.
Namgay Choden is a Foreign Service Officer in Bhutan on the Desuung Skilling Programme, a national initiative to upskill over 20,000 individuals in the country by 2031. With Bhutan’s carbon neutrality at risk should the world uphold the status-quo, Choden is a champion of climate action and breaking barriers to youth participation in government decision-making on topics of climate change and the environment.
Open Forum: Mobilizing for Climate, Wednesday 18 January, 12:30-13:30 CET: What concrete steps are needed for coordinated global climate action?
Thales Dantas is a sustainability scientist driven by a desire to promote a more circular and low-carbon economy. He is currently pursuing a PhD in environmental engineering, with a focus on life-cycle assessment and circular economy, with a decade of experience in corporate sustainability.
Chitra Gomanee is an analyst at Absa Bank in Mauritius. Mauritius is already experiencing considerable economic loss, humanitarian stresses and environmental degradation from climate change impacts. Chitra is an activist and community leader, working on projects including starting new schools in unreachable villages, waste clean-ups and fundraising for families experiencing poverty.
Helena Gualinga is Co-Founder of the Indigenous Youth Collective of Amazon Defenders and Co-Founder of Polluters Out. She is from the Kichwa Sarayuku community in Pastaza, Ecuador where she works to raise awareness about the conflict between oil companies and her community.
Jade Hameister is a polar explorer and environmental advocate from Australia who has made history as the youngest person to complete several expeditions, including the Polar Hat Trick, skiing to the North Pole from anywhere outside the Last Degree and for completing the 550km traverse of the Greenland icecap unsupported and unassisted – the youngest woman ever to do so. She has been recognised by Australian Geographic Society as Young Adventurer of the Year and her expeditions have been captured in National Geographic documentaries.
Pato Kelesitse is a climate justice activist from the Gaborone Hub, Botswana. She is the Founder of Sustain267, a non-profit initiative amplifying climate justice solutions across Africa, and is a Project Officer at the South African Climate Action Network. She has been named as one of the “40 Under 40 African Leaders for Climate Resilience”. Previously, she served as the coordinator of Resilient 40 – a network of more than 60 youth climate activists, representing 29 African countries.
Karan Kumar is a sustainable fashion leader who leads initiatives at the Laudes Foundation to drive a transformation towards sustainability and circularity in the global fashion industry. His programmes have invested more than €10 million in identifying, testing and scaling these breakthrough opportunities, and engaged stakeholders such as H&M, C&A and Nike, along with innovators and investors to create products out of agricultural waste.
Luisa Neubauer is a climate activist from Germany and the most prominent representative of the German climate movement. In 2022, TIME listed her as one of the 100 global emerging voices. She has organized 11 global climate strikes and has won a climate litigation case against the German government, which has been considered a historic ruling.
Maickson dos Santos Serrão is a climate activist and community leader who believes that local movements can bolster the preservation and restoration of the Amazon. Scientists warn that the Amazon is hurtling toward a tipping point, beyond which it would transition from lush tropical forest into a dry, degraded savanna, unable to support the immense diversity of life that call the world’s largest rainforest home. Maickson organizes community-led actions at the local, state and federal level directed at government actors, agribusiness and the public, in an effort to prevent the Amazon from reaching an irreversible tipping point.
Ayisha Siddiqa is a human rights and land defender from the tribal lands of Moochiwala and Mahsan in North Pakistan. She is the Co-Founder of Polluters Out and Fossil Free University, two climate justice oriented initiatives. Her work focuses on uplifting the human rights of marginalized communities due to the impacts on climate change. She is currently a research scholar at NYU school of law, working to bridge the environmental and human rights sector with the youth climate movement.
Dominique Souris is a climate activist focused on increasing funding for climate finance. She is the co-founder and former Executive Director of Youth Climate Lab, which engages youth in over 77 countries and supports nearly 50 youth-led climate ventures. Dominique has been named among the top 21 founders to watch by Future of Good, top 100 visionary leaders by Real Leaders and top 25 environmentalists in Canada by the Starfish.
Harmony Wayner is a tribal member of Naknek Native Village and a marine scientist focused on sustainable rural food systems to promote Indigenous values and well-being in Alaskan villages. As Vice-Chair of the Arctic Youth Network in Canada, an Arctic Frontiers Emerging Leader, an Indigenous fellow for the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) she works to elevate the voices of Indigenous communities by integrating Western science and Indigenous knowledge to promote sustainable societies in harmony with nature.
Climate change poses an urgent threat demanding decisive action. Communities around the world are already experiencing increased climate impacts, from droughts to floods to rising seas. The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report continues to rank these environmental threats at the top of the list.
To limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C and as close as possible to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, it is essential that businesses, policy-makers, and civil society advance comprehensive near- and long-term climate actions in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The World Economic Forum’s Climate Initiative supports the scaling and acceleration of global climate action through public and private-sector collaboration. The Initiative works across several workstreams to develop and implement inclusive and ambitious solutions.
This includes the Alliance of CEO Climate Leaders, a global network of business leaders from various industries developing cost-effective solutions to transitioning to a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. CEOs use their position and influence with policy-makers and corporate partners to accelerate the transition and realize the economic benefits of delivering a safer climate.
Contact us to get involved.
Tariq Al-Olaimy is Co-Founder of 3BL Associates, a people and planet strategy consultancy that was established to accelerate global sustainable and regenerative development through collaboration. Based in Bahrain, Tariq is recognized as a “Climate Trailblazer” by the Global Climate Action Summit, and is an Expo 2020 Global Innovator. GreenBiz and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, listed him as one of their “30 Under 30” leaders for breaking new ground in sustainability innovation.
Alice Casiraghi is the Co-Founder and Design Strategist at Future Urban Living, a design and strategy studio specializing in circular economy solutions. Future Urban Living maps out global value chains, analyzes material processes, establishes partnerships and finds creative ways to turn waste into value. Alice combines systemic design with regenerative business strategy, to enhance circularity.
Mohamed El Moutaouakil is a social entrepreneur and data analyst. Mohamed is the Founder and CEO of International Food Development Corporate, a start-up that offers training and mentoring to disadvantaged communities in food and beverage production in Morocco. Mohamed also leads GoMENA, a project that aims to train 1,500 individuals and incubate and fund 30 tech start-ups in its first five years.
Carla Gomez Briones is a Power and Climate Associate at The Rockefeller Foundation, managing partners and grantees, identifying market gaps and prospective areas of focus that can advance the foundation’s goals of achieving an equitable transition to a net-zero emissions global economy. Prior to joining the foundation, Carla served as an international development practitioner with UNDP, specializing in the acceleration of blue economy community-led solutions.
Brooke Hadeed is an associate at Social Finance, a US-based impact finance and advisory non-profit and a director of SSID, a private consultancy firm offering island-specific solutions to global sustainable development concerns. Brooke works with the public, private and social sectors to create partnerships and investments that measurably improve lives. She designed and leads Food For You, a Global Shapers Port of Spain Hub project that has raised awareness of food security in Trinidad and Tobago.
Pok Wei Heng works as a climate change and sustainability consultant at EY, with a focus on sustainability strategies and modern slavery. They also serve as a council member on EY Oceania’s Assurance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council. Pok is a Design Partner with the World Economic Forum on climate justice, a Strategic Council Member of Climate Catalyst and a Board Member of Multiethnic Young Leaders New Zealand. Additionally, Pok continues to champion causes related to youth mobilisation and foresight as a Climate Reality Leader and Global Changemakers Fellow.
Anysie Ishimwe is the Country Implementation Lead for the African Food Fellowship and a Global Shaper for the Kigali Hub in Rwanda. She recruits food systems leaders working in the impact areas of sustainable land use, access to nutritious foods; and food entrepreneurship to address food insecurity, while applying climate-sensitive solutions.
Wanjuhi Njoroge is the Founder of People Planet Africa, a social enterprise involved in sustainability and inclusive development that incorporates rural communities which constitute 70% of Africa’s population. Wanjuhi ran one of the biggest campaigns in Kenya in 2018 dubbed #SaveOurForestsKE, which led to a total ban on forest harvesting and policy change. Her work has earned her “Kenya’s Top 40 under 40” Award.
Gayathri Reddy is an Associate Director at RGA, a Bangalore based commercial real estate firm. She is also an investor, a start-up mentor and an active contributor to the Indian Angel Network and a board member of the Nisvartha Foundation, an organization providing access to quality education for children of lower socio-economic backgrounds. Gayathri is the founder of KReate Foundation, a social enterprise identifying solutions to Bangalore’s rapid urbanisation with regard to city planning, traffic management and water conservation.
Mirko Schedlbauer is the Founder of shipzero (by Appanion), a technology platform committed to accelerating decarbonization in the transport sector. Mirko’s mission is to change global logistics – the only industry with continuously rising emissions – by providing convenient solutions and actionable information to reduce emissions from global freight transportation. Mirko drives emission reduction – not offsetting. His current portfolio has 4 million tons of CO2 under management and has just closed a funding round to grow further internationally.
Lauren Shum is a climate-tech professional and Programs Manager at the US Department of Energy. Lauren designs and manages funding programmes for accelerating climate-tech start-ups. She has deployed $15 million over two years and is building the groundwork for recurring public investments into the US climate innovation ecosystem. Lauren also launched EnergyTech UP, a new recurring programme to cultivate the next generation of energy professionals.
Dominic Santschi is a Co-Founder of Ampliphi, a data-driven plastic action and circular economy engagement platform for consumer brands. He leads a working group on corporate plastic waste disclosures within the PREVENT Waste Alliance. Before starting Ampliphi, he worked in the plastic credit industry where he participated in the US Plastics Pact New Business Model Workstream and the Ocean Plastic Leadership Network.
Deborah Tamuno-Tonye Braide is a sustainable energy specialist and researcher. Currently, she is Nigeria Research Coordinator for a project generating electrification data to support clean, sustainable electrification of 79 commercial clusters and about 250,000 small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria. She is also the founder of Enercate, a network for capacity building of African women and youth in STEM and sustainable energy.
Vriko Yu is an Uplink entrepreneur and CEO of Archireef, a start-up that focuses on restoring marine ecosystems like coral reefs with the power of architecture, science and 3D-printing. In the face of rapid climate change, coral reefs are being threatened at an unprecedented rate, and Vriko has made it her mission to help restore life underwater. During her PhD, she co-invented the world’s first 3D-printed clay reef tiles, a product that has proven to be the gold standard of coral reef restoration.
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