Honorary Board

We have envisioned globally recognized individuals to contribute to the development of Plantagon  in form of advice, lecture, speech, debate etc. Some work is public and the preliminary content of the annual program is set containing keynote speakers, experts and lecturers. The timing for the different activities is set as we move along. Check the Calendar for more information.

Professor Oren R. Lyons
Professor Oren R. LyonsUniversity of Buffalo / Faithkeeper of Onondaga Nation - Onandaga Nation, New York State
Professor Oren Lyons is the Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation of the Iroquois Confederacy. Once a legendary lacrosse player, Lyons is now a recognized advocate of indigenous rights and the global environmental challenge. Oren Lyons was born in 1930 and raised in the culture and practices of the Iroquois on the Seneca and Onondaga nations in Upstate New York.

For over fourteen years he has taken part in the meetings in Geneva of Indigenous Peoples of the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations, and helped to establish the Working Group on Indigenous Populations in 1982.

He serves on the Executive Committee of the Global Forum of Spiritual and Parliamentary Leaders on Human Survival, and is a principal figure in the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders. He was a negotiator between the governments of Canada, Quebec, New York State and the Mohawk Indians in the Oka crisis during the summer of 1990.

In 1992 he addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations where he opened the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People. Lyons has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Syracuse University. He has been the recipient of the Ellis Island Congressional Medal of Honor, the National Audubon Award, the Earth Day International Award of the United Nations, and the Elder and Wiser Award of the Rosa Parks Institute for Human Rights.

In 2000 Chief Lyons addressed the Millennium Peace Summit in the UN Assembly Hall, making his famous ”The Ice is Melting Speech”. 2014 he gave the same speech, at the same UN Assembly Hall – ending it with: ”As we speak, the ice continues to melt in the north”.

Lyons serves on the board of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development and is board chairman of Honoring Contributions in the Governance of American Indian Nations.

Oren R. Lyons served as the Chairman of Plantagon International AB from January 2008 until May 2016. He is now Honorary Chairman of the Plantagon International Association Board of Directors.

Professor Dickson Despommier
Professor Dickson DespommierColumbia University -New York City, The United States
Dr. Dickson Despommier is a microbiologist, an ecologist, and emeritus professor of Public and Environmental Health at the Columbia University. For 27 years he conducted research on cellular and molecular parasitism and held lectures and courses on Parasitic Disease, Medical Ecology and Ecology. From one of these courses, in 1999, he founded the root for this idea of raising crops in tall buildings; so called vertical farming.

The Vertical Farms are hi-tech hydroponic greenhouses stacked one on top of the other, thus making it possible to farm crops in a city. Although indoor agriculture has been around for a long time, nobody before Despommier had thought of making it vertical. Despommier thinks that vertical agriculture is one of the best solutions to counter population increase, urbanization and infectious diseases caused by parasites that spread when human feces is used as a fertilizer for traditional farming methods.

In 2010, Despommier published his widely received book: “The Vertical Farm: feeding the world in the 21st Century”, St. Martin’s Press, New York. Two years ago vertical farms were regarded as a utopia, but one year ago the first prototypes were built. Among those prototypes are: a three-story VF Suwon, South Korea, over 50 (plant factories that qualify as vertical farms) in Japan, a commercial vertical farm in Singapore that opened in 2012, and another in Chicago that was built in an old industrial building.

Vertical farms have many advantages: food is organically farmed, urban space is saved, it is possible to farm all year round and in any place, and use of agrochemicals is eliminated. His idea was regarded as visionary several years ago, but today it has become a beacon for all countries where food imports are high.

Despommier claims that even developing countries could use this technique to fight one of the most dangerous plagues of the world: hunger. Vertical farms serve as the basis for re-designing cities as technological equivalents to functional ecosystems.

Ms. Connie Hedegaard
Ms. Connie HedegaardFormer European Commissioner, EU Commission - Copenhagen, Denmark
Connie Hedegaard Koksbang is a Danish politician and public intellectual who has been European Commissioner for Climate Action since 10 February 2010 till 31 October 2015.

On behalf of Denmark, she hosted the UN Climate Change conference in Copenhagen 2009. She was Danish Minister for Climate and Energy from 23 November 2007 and had been the Danish Minister for the Environment from 2 August 2004 to 23 November 2007.

In Denmark, she was a member of the Conservative People’s party (DKF), and was a member of parliament from 10 January 1984 to 3 October 1990. She was also elected a member of the Folketing in the 2005 Danish Parliamentary election. Prior to becoming a minister, she worked as a journalist at DR, the Danish national broadcaster.

Dr. Jan de Wilt
Dr. Jan de WiltAgribusiness program manager, The Innovation network – Utrecht, The Netherlands
Dr. Jan de Wilt is Champion for sustainable agriculture at the Dutch innovation network, InnovatieNetwerk. His specialties are agriculture and agribusiness, industrial ecology, bio-based economy, animal integrity, marine production systems. Working experience in academia and public administration.

Jan de Wilt is a Dutch agricultural engineer, with a background in animal sciences. After his PhD in animal behavior and welfare at Wageningen University, he held jobs in research planning and management, foresight and innovation. He is now involved in groundbreaking innovations in agriculture, agribusiness and rural areas.

Industrial ecology is an important focus in his work de Wilt, at Innovation network he is responsible for Agroparks (industrial ecology in agriculture), Greenhouse Village (linking greenhouses and buildings to create new public utilities), Bioport (Rotterdam as main port for biomass), Marine Parks (multifunctional use of space at sea by combining energy infrastructure with aquaculture), Ecoferm (remediation of waste streams from farms and power plants by algae production) and Ecopyramid (multiple use of biomass aimed at eco-efficiency and value creation).

Dr. Franz Fischler
Dr. Franz FischlerFormer European Commissioner for Agriculture & Rural Development / Executive director of Fischler Consult GMBH – Absam, Austria
Franz Fischler is an Austrian politician. He was the European Union’s Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries between 1995 and 2004.Currently he is the acting President of the European Forum Alpbach.

Dr. Fischler has been Director of Tyrol Chamber of Agriculture from 1985 to 1989, between 1989 and 1994 Fischler was Federal Minister for Agriculture and Forestry and since 1990 elected Member of National Council. In 1995 he became European Commissioner in Brussels, responsible for agriculture and rural development and in 1999 fisheries also became part of his responsibilities.

At the 1999 Berlin summit, Franz Fischler had significant influence on the Agenda 2000+.

In 2011 Austria has decided to nominate Dr. Franz Fischler as a candidate for the position of director general of FAO.

Professor Lou Yongqi
Professor Lou YongqiDean and Vice President, Tongji University – Shanghai, China
Lou Yongqi is the Dean and Professor of the College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University in Shanghai. He is also Vice President of CUMULUS, the International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media, and visiting Professor at the School of Art, Design and Architecture of Aalto University in Finland.

His main research focuses on social design and sustainable design. He plays an active role in promoting interdisciplinary sustainable design education, research and practice internationally. Lou Yongqi currently serves on the boards of Alta Scuola Politecnica, Danish Design School Kolding, DESIS, and Design Issues (a MIT Press journal), among others.

His latest book is Design Harvests: An acupunctural design approach toward sustainability, published by Mistra Urban Futures in Sweden.

His works have been exhibited in the Design Museum of Helsinki, the Triennale Design Museum in Milano, and other prestigious institutions.

Ms. Monika Zimmermann
Ms. Monika ZimmermannDeputy Secretary General at ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability - Bonn, Germany
Monika Zimmermann joined ICLEI, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives, in 1993. She started to build up the International Training Centre at ICLEI European Secretariat, where she was responsible for around 50 events, distance training courses, international projects and the set-up of ICLEI’s new working areas.

Since joining the World Secretariat in 2010, she has been responsible for the teams working on global events, knowledge management, urban research, EcoMobility and Future City Leaders. Today, more than 1200 cities, towns, counties, and their associations in 84 countries comprise ICLEI’s growing membership.

Monika, has published various books, founded and edited environmental magazines, and served as board member of national NGOs in Germany.

Professor William McDonough
Professor William McDonoughChair of World Economic Forum's Meta-Council on Circular Economy - Virginia, United States
Professor William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development and is the founding principle of the firm William McDonough + Partners. After establishing William McDonough Architects in New York in 1981, he later moved the practice, which became William McDonough + Partners, to Charlottesville, Virginia, in 1994, when he became Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.

McDonough is the architect of many recognized flagships of sustainable design, including the Ford Rouge truck plant in Dearborn, Michigan; the Adam Joseph Lewis Center for Environmental Studies at Oberlin College; and NASA’s “space station on Earth,” Sustainability Base, one of the most innovative facilities in the federal portfolio, among others.

In 1996, McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, and in 2003 he earned the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award for his work with Shaw Industries. In 2004, he received the National Design Award for exemplary achievement in the field of environmental design. He is currently serving as the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Meta-Council on Circular Economy

Mr. Mats Hellström
Mr. Mats HellströmFormer Swedish Minister of Agriculture, Foreign Trade and European Affairs - Stockholm, Sweden
Mats Hellström is Former Minister of Foreign Trade, European and Nordic Affairs and Agriculture in various Swedish Cabinets between 1983–1991 and 1994–1996. He served as Sweden’s Ambassador to Germany in 1996–2001 and also as Governor of the Province of Stockholm in 2002–2006. Within his work, Mr. Hellström is devoted to the promotion of sustainable innovation and is a champion of Urban Agriculture.
Margaret M. Towle
Margaret M. Towle
Margaret M. Towle, CIMA®, CPWA®, Financial Advisor, is Managing Director-Wealth Management/Senior Portfolio Manager and Global Institutional Consulting at Merrill Lynch. Working out of the Bainbridge Island, Washington office, she offers investment advisory services to ultra high-net-worth individual and institutional clients, including foundations & endowments, retirement plans and family offices.

Margaret has over 30 years experience in the industry as an asset manager and advisor, including her role as executive vice president and CIO at Northern Trust Global Advisors, where she was responsible for managing assets in excess of $25 billion across all asset classes, including alternative investments and as Director of Research at a multi-family office advisory firm. Her areas of specialties include Outsourced CIO, Asset Allocation, Alternative Investments, and Impact Investing.

Margaret was nominated and recognized as “Top 50 Women in Wealth Management” and is the recipient of IMCA’s Stephen L. Kessler Writing Award. She is a founding board member of the Center for Women and Democracy at the University of Washington, and an angel investor in 100 Women in Hedge Funds. She served on IMCA’s board of directors from 2009 to 2014 and is Editor-in-Chief of the “Journal of Investment Consulting” and the “Investments & Wealth Monitor” editorial advisory board. She is a member of the investment committee of the YWCA Seattle/King/Snohomish. Margaret is Editor of Masters of Finance: Interviews with Some of the Greatest Minds in Investing and Economics (2014) and has appeared on CNBC and Bloomberg.

Margaret earned BA, MA, and PhD degrees, with emphasis in political economy and public finance, from the University of Washington-Seattle. She was a Kaufman Fellow at the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and completed the Executive Education Program in Risk Management at the Booth School of Business University of Chicago and completed post-graduate studies in quantitative methods at the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor.

Michael Roux
Michael Roux
Michael Roux has had a leading role in both government and business circles in Australia and internationally for more than 40 years. He has demonstrated leadership, initiative, business acumen and entrepreneurship using his expertise in management and organisation to build and create major changes and reform. He was responsible for reform of major government entities in the late 80’s and early 90’s and was responsible for managing the Victorian Government’s corporatisation and privatisation (value of sales $37 Billion) program in the early to mid 90’s. This included the restructure, corporatisation, renewal of contracts and privatisation of various entities in the delivery of electricity, gas, horse racing and gambling, water, transport and ports.

Michael Roux is Chairman, Roux International and Senior Adviser to an associated group of companies, including Dragon Tree Capital. He was previously Director and Chairman, KPMG Asian Markets; Vice-Chairman, Citigroup; Director, Deutsche Asset Management; Director; Deutsche Bank Australia; Chairman, VicSuper Pty Ltd; Chairman, Victorian Superannuation Board; Director, Victorian Funds Management Corporation; Director, Local Authorities Superannuation Board; Executive Director, Office of State-Owned Enterprises and Deputy Secretary, Department of Treasury (Vic); Director, Office of Trade and Investment and Director-General, Ministry of Employment and training.

He is Founder, ADC Forum (Australian Davos Connection); Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Rwanda to Australia; Advisor to the President of the Republic of Rwanda; Member of the Presidential Advisory Council, Rwanda; Honorary Associate, King’s College London; Member, Asialink Advisory Council; Advisor and Ambassador with the World Economic Forum over 2 decades and Member, Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy.

He was previously Chairman, Victorian Opera; Director, VicUrban; Director, Great Barrier Reef Research Foundation; Director, Urban Land Authority; Director, Bell Shakespeare Company; Director, Heide Museum of Modern Art; Director, St James Ethics Centre; Honorary Fellow at Faculty of Business & Economics, Monash University; Chairman, Advisory Board Centre of Astrobiology, Macquarie University; Member, India Advisory Committee; Chairman, MyInternet Ltd; Director, NextEd Ltd; Member, Committee Barclays Global Investment Company; Advisor, Russell Company; Member, Opera Australia; Deputy Secretary, Department of Treasury; Honorary Treasurer, Camberwell Grammar School; Director, State Library; Chairman, Accident Compensation Commission; Director, Victorian Accident Rehabilitation; Honorary Trustee CEDA; Executive Chairman, Transport Accident Commission; Chairman/Managing Director, Road Traffic Authority; Chairman, Motor Accident Board; Chairman, Government Housing Authority and Research Fellow, Flinders University.