RSB Annual Conference kicks off with evening reception marking 10 extraordinary years
14 November 2023 | Geneva, Switzerland. Ahead of the RSB Annual Conference Open Day, RSB hosted an evening reception for RSB’s amazing membership community – our ambassadors of change – marking ten extraordinary years of the RSB Association.
Held in the picturesque city of Geneva, this was the first time since 2019 that RSB’s growing multi-stakeholder community has convened in-person for our flagship event, the RSB Annual Conference. Along with dear friends, long-term partners and RSB members, we showcased the individuals and organisations who have been instrumental in RSB’s journey over this past decade.
The evening began with a video address by the brilliant Barbara Bramble. Vice President for International Conservation and Corporate Strategies at the National Wildlife Federation. Barbara was the first-ever Chair of the RSB Board and was an instrumental figure in the founding of RSB. She shared the story of RSB’s origins, the journey that led to its founding as an academic initiative and evolving to become a beacon of the sustainable bioeconomy.
Then, interwoven through an evening of musical entertainment, RSB’s team and community shared a story of sustainability commitment and lessons learned over more than a decade. RSB’s Executive Director, Elena Schmidt, and founding Head of the RSB Secretariat, Charlotte Opal, reflected on the evolution of RSB, sharing highs and lows, lessons learned, and future opportunities. Technical Director Nicola Noponen and former Standards Director Sébastien Haye discussed the pivotal sustainability framework, emphasizing stakeholder dialogue’s importance. SkyNRG’s Maarten van Dijk, a longtime member and former Board Treasurer, highlighted RSB’s institutional history. Boeing’s Robert Boyd and Malaysia First Foundation’s Hock Aun Khoo, former RSB Board members, discussed aviation sustainability and RSB’s multi-stakeholder governance. RSB’s new Board Chair, Adam Klauber, and Programme Director Ariana Baldo focused on RSB’s leadership journey in book and claim, emphasising trust-building. Africa Project Lead Yitatek Yitbarek, along with Tjasa Bole-Rentel from Enertrag, and formerly of WWF South Africa, and RSB Board Member from Kenya’s Kisii University, James Onchieku, explored the concept of a ‘just transition’ and its significance in RSB’s vision.
Finally, Elena closed the evening by thanking Maiju Helin and Laurel Harmon for their extensive contributions to RSB over the years. Maiju and Laurel had only recently finished their terms leading the RSB Board of Directors, and it was a sincerely heartfelt send-off from Elena and the RSB Secretariat to two true Ambassadors of Change.
Once again, we would like to thank everyone that came to mark 10 years of the RSB Association with us last night. The evening reception was a fitting start to what promises to be three memorable days – reflecting further on the journey of our collaborative network, the lessons learnt and how these experiences must be used to fulfil our urgent sustainability ambitions.