Robert Swan Profile

The first person ever to have reached both the north and south poles on foot, explorer and adventurer Robert Swan knows what it takes to motivate both himself and others. When his extraordinary walks were completed he was invited by world leaders (meeting in Rio de Janeiro at the inaugural World Summit for Sustainable Development) to spend the next decade undertaking global and local environmental missions with the assistance of industry, business and young people. Once this mission was complete, Swan recommitted to another decade of service, inspiring young people to become sustainable leaders and also promoting the use of renewable energy.

Swan’s company, 2041, is the first to offer corporate entities meaningful opportunities to improve teamwork and leadership on genuine Antarctic missions. His Inspire Antarctic Expeditions teams were intimately involved in the design and construction of the first-ever Antarctic education station (The E-Base).

Swan’s achievements have been recognized with appointments as UN Goodwill Ambassador for Youth, Visiting Professor of the School of the Environment at Leeds University and Special Envoy to the Director General of UNESCO. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has invested him with the Order of the British Empire.

Swan has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica and the planet through promoting renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change.

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    With his presence and integrity, accomplishments and reflections, Robert has an extraordinary ability to inspire and motivate audiences worldwide. Having experienced leadership and team cooperation in some of the world’s most hostile environments, Robert applies the leadership lessons he has learned to inspire bold management practices and effective communication styles. Robert’s talks are thrilling, uplifting and stimulating – all while fostering courage, vision and teamwork. His core themes are inspiration, leadership and future thinking for business, society and the environment.

    26 years ago, French ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau gave Robert Swan a 50-year mission to save Antarctica from the realities of climate change. The 2041 Foundation was founded and through perseverance and dedication, Robert has helped inspire the next generation of leaders to take responsibility for their life paths.

    As the founder of the 2041 Foundation, Robert has dedicated his life to the preservation of Antarctica and the planet through promoting renewable energy and sustainability to combat the effects of climate change.

    Swan has been working side-by-side with his son Barney for the past 5 years. On January 15th 2018 at the South Geographic Pole, the baton was passed onto Barney Swan, who, on that day, became the first person in history to journey to the South Pole powered entirely by renewable energy. This incredible feat marked the launch of CLIMATEFORCE, a 7 year campaign to remove 326 million tonnes of CO2 out of the atmosphere through effective solutions and education to encourage personal leadership in our carbon neutral future. CLIMATEFORCE continues to build on the 2041 legacy through action and personal leadership today and in the future.

    This is not only an incredible story about a father and son, it is a legacy story of Robert Swan and the 2041 Foundation and their unstoppable commitment and leadership to preserve this earth for generations to come.

    As founder of the 2041 Foundation, Robert’s life time of commitment to the preservation of Antartica and the world has lead to International influence through expeditions, E-Bases and inspiring action to the next generation of leaders:

Robert Swan Speaking Videos

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Robert Swan's Speech Descriptions

Over a quarter of a century exploring some of the most inhospitable environments in the world have made Robert Swan one of the most compelling and exciting motivational speakers around today. He knows what it takes to achieve seemingly impossible goals, and how to take others with him on that journey.

Swan has set himself a 50-year mission of creating operational business strategies to help sustain human life on the planet. He can speak with great authority on the importance of flexibility and setting short-term milestones.

As an environmentalist, Swan has been recognized by being invited to give a keynote address to the United Nations’ inaugural Earth Summit, and he speaks with immense authority on many aspects of environmentalism, particularly the damage which global warming has done to the polar regions.

Robert is a polar pioneer and leader in energy innovation and works closely with many of the world’s leading organizations on their ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) practices. As the founder of the 2041 Foundation, Robert Swan has spent the last 30 years supporting the preservation of Antarctica through the engagement of industry and business, young people, and the promotion of renewable energy.

Hire Robert for your next speaking event to hear the riveting story of how he overcame the challenges he has faced and the lifelong lessons he draws from these experiences.


After experiencing unexpected setbacks and serious injuries on the way to completing his lifelong dream of being the first person in history to walk to both Poles, Robert had no choice but to become an expert on resiliency. Robert discusses the specific challenges he has faced on his expeditions, and how he and his team had to be resilient in their toughest moments to accomplish their goals. Robert relates these experiences to the specific challenges of your audience and inspires strength and resiliency in the face of modern-day setbacks.

Creating a New Normal
As we emerge from the initial phases of the pandemic at different rates across the globe, many of us are being met with the stark realization that things may never return to our idea of “normal.” Robert divulges his experiences with returning to society after nine months of isolation in Antarctica and finding out that everything had changed – even himself. He gives advice on how to embrace these changes and deal with the confusion and disappointment that often accompany them so that we may create and thrive in our “new normal.”

Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG)

After experiencing the effects of climate change firsthand on his expeditions, Robert uses his expertise to relay the importance of incorporating and improving sustainable practices within businesses and corporations. Robert discusses his trek to the South Pole powered entirely by renewable energy and why a global shift to renewable energy is crucial for the preservation of Antarctica and the survival of our planet. Robert tailors his speeches to discuss your company’s specific Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) policies as well as how your company can join Rob’s lifelong fight in protecting Antarctica for decades to come.

The Communicator

Robert Swan is not only a polar explorer, an environmental leader and the first person in history to walk to both the North and South Poles, but he also an exceptionally gifted and natural communicator. Audiences are left with key lessons that include the importance of humor, diversity, communication, teamwork, and inspiring leadership.

The Visionary

Robert Swan understands the enormity of a 50-year mission, and has created operational and business strategies over the years to sustain such an undertaking. Swan’s flexibility towards external factors and his unmistakable enthusiasm for short-term milestones enable him to work tirelessly towards his vision.

The Strategist

After returning from the Poles, Robert Swan needed to mobilize world opinion and influence business and political leaders to succeed in his mission. Through a combination of diplomacy, action and determination, Swan successfully transitioned from intrepid explorer to global motivator, and displayed a natural grasp of the importance of solid strategy to reach one’s desired goals.

The Environmental Leader

After witnessing firsthand the damage to the Polar Regions due to global warming, Robert was invited by the United Nations as a keynote speaker to the first Earth Summit for Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. During the conference he was challenged to “Think Global, Act Local”. His commitment has resulted in the removal of 1,500 tons of waste from Bellingshausen Station on King George Island in Antarctica, and the creation of the worlds’ first education station in Antarctica, the E-Base.

Robert Swan on Speaking

I want people to walk away with hope, perspective and some lessons on doing the impossible.

SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn / take away from your presentations?

SWAN: I want people to walk away with hope, perspective and some lessons on doing the impossible, the things other people say you cannot do.

SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How to you prepare for your speaking engagements?

SWAN: I take the opportunity very seriously, knowing that people have invested valuable time coming to hear me, so I think very carefully about who is coming and to not give out the ‘same old talk’ and make it custom, meaningful and personified.

SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

SWAN: I’ve had many memorable engagements and of course the odd situation. For example, being asked to close TED Global in Rio de Janeiro was not only an hounor but quite nerve wracking!

Having to deliver a lecture in shorts, due to my luggage being lost in transit, was fun to explain to an audience.

SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

SWAN: Anyone in business that wants to go that extra step.

I like challenges and they’re a real part of life.

SPEAKING.COM: Which of your keynote speaking topics are your favorites and why?

SWAN: My favourite topics are: delivery against the odds with minimum resources, and making a success of working with diverse people who perhaps don’t get on well. I like challenges and they’re a real part of life.

SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

SWAN: In a world dominated by instant communications, to be able to deliver ‘our’ story in person is my honour and privilege. I really enjoy doing it.

SPEAKING.COM: How much do case studies, personal stories and or humor factor into your keynote speech content?

SWAN: 100%. No one is inspired by negativity, by dry, non-humorous stories. But people need to have a balance of reality.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you’ve helped clients make?

• Underlined and supported the senior leader’s messages, and brought the messages to life.
• Helped teams realize that a stretched goal is still an achievable one.

• Drove home relevant messages on efficiency, communications and trust, with real stories that people remember. Exclusive Interview with Robert Swan
Exploring Business Leadership with Robert Swan
In this interview Robert Swan discusses:
  • How it felt to reach the north and south poles.
  • His ten-year global environmental mission.
  • Improving teamwork and leadership through his company, 2041.
Read the Full Interview

""I certainly didn’t feel that we had overcome the Poles... by reaching them, the Poles let us through and it was a ‘WE’ celebration, not a ‘ME’ celebration.""
- Robert Swan

What People are Saying about Seeing Robert Speak

Rating Entries

    How can I thank you? Your talk on Tuesday night was the smash hit of our meeting. You are a one of a kind, wonderful person. Not only are we lucky to have had you, the Antarctic is lucky and so are kids from around the world. I would love to be a reference to anyone, anywhere who is considering you to talk. Thank you again. Let me know if I can ever do anything for your foundation. Everyone asked me if you wrote a book and could they buy it. Think you might have an audience out there!
    An entertainment guide

    “Robert Swan doesn′t just talk; he is involved on a hands-on level and his positive, inspiring example provides a workable model our employees can actually use in their daily roles and responsibilities.”
    Chairman, CEO, a major beverage company

    “Robert’s presentation is very powerful and very applicable to any business. It makes it clear that success is about leadership: defining a clear direction, taking the appropriate risks, having the willpower to get it done.”
    President and CEO, a major cosmetics company

    “Robert Swan′s successful ventures have been nothing less than extraordinary. What is truly important though, are the principles by which he achieved this success.”
    Vice Chairman, a major beverage company

    Feedback from a computer company on Swan — All went very well, marvelous presentation, everyone really enjoyed him, he added a lot to our program. Very pleased with the outcome.
    A Fortune 50 computer company

    I just want to reiterate how exceptional “Our Story” was and how engaging Robert was as he told the story from his heart and helped paint a picture of the experience he and his team went through. It truly was exceptional and I′d be happy to be a reference for any of the Leigh′s clients who are considering using him. Robert, thanks for joining us and caring so much for the environment we all live in. It′s individuals such as yourself, and those you inspire, who make a significant difference in the world in which we live.
    A major softdrink company

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Books by Robert Swan:

    Antarctica 2041: My Quest to Save the Earth′s Last Wilderness

    Adventurer turned environmentalist Robert Swan illuminates the perils facing the planet come 2041—the year when the international treaty protecting Antarctica is up for review—and the many steps that can be taken to avoid environmental calamity.

    In 1985, when Robert Swan walked across Antarctica, the fragile polar environment was not high in his mind. But upon his return, the earth’s perilous state became personal: Robert’s ice-blue eyes were singed a pale gray, a result of being exposed to the sun’s rays passing unfiltered through the depleted ozone layer. At this moment, his commitment to preserving the environment was born, and in Antarctica 2041 Swan details his journey to awareness, and his firm belief that humans can reverse the harm done to the planet thus far, and secure its future for generations to come.

    Despite the dire warnings Swan raises in Antarctica 2041—exponentially high greenhouse-gas levels; rising seas; massive species extinction—he says there is much we can do to avert looming disaster. Ultimately an upbeat call to action, his book provides the information people need to understand the world’s crisis, and the tools they need to combat it, ultimately showing us all that saving Antarctica amounts to saving ourselves.

    Order Here

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