Gunter Pauli was born in Antwerp, Belgium, in March 1956. In 1979 he graduated as “Licencié en Sciences Economiques” from Loyola’s University (today University of Antwerp) in Belgium and obtained his masters in business administration from INSEAD in 1982 at Fontainebleau, France thanks to a scholarship from the Rotary International Foundation. During the time he was studying, he held the most diverse jobs in order “to sustain family, education and to save money, which permitted extensive traveling during the summer holidays“. In 1978 he was elected as national president of the students’ union AIESEC.
He was the founder and Chairman of PPA Holding and of more than 10 other companies, founder and CEO of the European Service Industries Forum (ESIF), Secretary General of the European Business Press Federation (UPEFE), founder and president of the Foundation “Mozarteum Belgicum“, Chairman and President of Ecover, and advisor to the Rector of the United Nations University in Tokyo (Japan).
His entrepreneurial activities span business, culture, science, politics and the environment. Under his leadership, Ecover pioneered an ecological factory in 1992, featured on CNN Prime Time News. He founded the „Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives“ (ZERI) at the United Nations University in Tokyo, and subsequently established The Global ZERI Network as a foundation, redesigning production and consumption into clusters of industries inspired by natural systems.
He is dedicated to design and implement a society and industries, which respond to people’s needs using what is locally available. His visionary approach supported by dozens of projects on the ground landed him an invitation to present his cases at the World Expo 2000 in Germany. There he constructed the largest bamboo pavilion in modern days presenting 7 breakthrough initiatives. It became the most popular pavilion with 6.4 million visitors. Unfortunately, the pavilion was destroyed after the Expo. However the original built in Manizales, Colombia still stands as a symbol for the Coffee Region. His latest initiatives include the redesign of mining operations and the development of a novel concept of transparent investment banking.
He has been visiting lecturer and professor at universities in on all continents, and Member of the Board of NGOs and private companies in Asia, USA and Latin America. Since 2009 he has taken responsibility for the design of an economic development concept based on GNH (Gross National Happiness) principles and values as part of his advisory role in designing an economic development strategy for Bhutan.
He is a Fellow of the World Academy of Arts and Sciences (San Francisco, USA), a creative Member of the Club of Budapest (Hungary), Member of the Club of Rome, moderated the Roundtable of Nobel Science Laureates hosted by HM King of Jordan State and obtained a Doctorate from the Italian Government in systems design. He has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Pécs, Hungary.
Gunter has published 19 books (written 15 – edited 4), which have been printed in +30 languages and 36 fables bringing science and emotions to children. Over 17 million copies have been distributed worldwide. One of his fables “The Strongest Tree” is available in over 100 languages. His next book “The Inclusive Growth – The Blue Economy moves from vision to reality” will be forthcoming in 2015. He is father of four sons, one daughter (adopted) and married to Katherina Bach. Fluent in seven languages and having resided on 4 continents, he is a world citizen.