SLOW LIFE Symposium

The SLOW LIFE Symposium is an annual convening of sustainability champions. World-class scientists, business leaders, cultural ambassadors, philanthropists and environmentalists gather to share insights, ideas and projects for collaboration.

The Symposium is chaired by environmentalist Jonathon Porritt and co-chaired by Johan Rockström, Stockholm Resilience Centre, and Jean Oelwang, Virgin Unite. It is hosted by Sonu and Eva Shivdasani, pioneers of sustainability within the hospitality industry and co-founders of Soneva, a luxury eco-resort company.

There are many communications points in the annual cycle of the Symposium – the invitations that are sent to participants, pre-event press releases, blogs during the event, post-event feature articles. Maria writes and produces many of these materials on behalf of Soneva, using Cat’s images.

Cat provides stills photography and Maria produces event communications and organises the Symposium.

Alumni of the 2013 SLOW LIFE Symposium at Soneva Kiri, Thailand.

“It’s not often you go to an event that leaves you profoundly moved and inspired to dream bigger, be more curious and more determined to have an impact”

David De Rothschild, SLOW LIFE Symposium 2013

Top: Chair Jonathon Porritt and Leo Johnson; Middle left: Co-Chair Johan Rockström; Middle: Jonathon Porritt; Middle right: Peggy Liu; Bottom: President Nasheed of the Maldives with Sonu Shivdasani

Chair Jonathon Porritt has a rich eco-pedigree. He was a founding member of the Green Party, director of Friends of the Earth, Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission and is Founder Director of Forum for the Future. For him, the SLOW LIFE Symposium provides an opportunity to find better and more creative ways of collaborating on today’s sustainability challenges.

President Nasheed was the Maldives first democratically elected president. He attended the SLOW LIFE Symposium in 2010 and 2011. He committed his country to an ambitious carbon neutral plan but sadly his government was overthrown in a coup in 2012 before seeing the plan become reality.

Top left: Daryl Hannah and Leo Johnson; Top right: Jochen Zeitz; Middle: Karena Albers and Adam Sweidan; Bottom left: Sonu Shivdasani and Jochen Zeitz; Bottom right: Peggy Liu

Jochen Zeitz is the former CEO of PUMA. While at PUMA, Jochen introduced the Environmental Profit & Loss Account (eP&L) that puts a monetary value to PUMA’s use of ecosystem services across the whole supply chain. Since being inspired by this at the Symposium, Soneva has since taken the eP&L concept and applied it across all operations to develop the Soneva Total Impact Assessment.

Top left: Sanjay Prakash; Top middle: David de Rothschild and Georgie White; Top right: Dorinda Elliott and Sonu Shivdasani; Bottom: Johan Rockström

Co-chair Johan Rockstöm, director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, leads the international team of scientists that developed the planetary boundaries framework. The framework defines the ‘safe operating space’ for humanity to be able to safeguard a stable planet. Planetary pressures include carbon dioxide emissions, extraction of fresh water resources, nutrients and pollutants emissions, and loss of biodiversity. Many of these pressures are directly related to food production, both from land and sea.

Top left: Jessica Sweidan, Adam Sweidan and Pavan Sukhdev; Top right: Leo Johnson and Jenifer Willig; Middle: Jochen Zeitz and David de Rothschild: Bottom left: Karena Albers and Jenifer Willig; WHOLE WORLD Water bottles

Karena Albers participated in the 2011 SLOW LIFE Symposium. Inspired by Soneva’s process of filtering and bottling water on site as a means of eliminating plastic waste and reducing transportation emissions, Karena co-founded WHOLE WORLD Water with Jenifer Willig and Sonu Shivdasani. WHOLE WORLD Water aims to role out on-site processing of water across the hospitality industry and simultaneously raise millions of dollars in funding for clean drinking water projects around the world.


The following are examples of coverage generated by the SLOW LIFE Symposium.

Left: Daryl Hannah and Peggy Liu; Right: Jon Bowermaster