Robert Swan OBE is a Record-Breaking Polar Explorer, Environmental Campaigner and Keynote Speaker.
Swan has earned his place in history alongside the great explorers and adventurers who have tested their physical and mental strength to the limit in the planet’s most hostile environments.
By the age of 33, Robert Swan became the first man to walk to both the North and South Poles.
In the Footsteps of Scott (1984–1987)
His 900-mile journey ‘In The Footsteps of Scott‘ across the treacherous Antarctic ice cap to the South Pole stands as the longest unassisted walk ever made.
Icewalk – The North Pole (1987–1989)
Icewalk, The International North Pole Expedition was designed to draw attention to the environmental crisis confronting both the polar and world ecologies. This ambitious project, costing over US$4 million, was a two-pronged endeavour consisting of an eight-man assault on the Pole and the world’s first international student expedition to venture into the Arctic wilderness.
On both expeditions, Robert Swan experienced, firsthand, the effects of environmental damage on the Polar icecaps. In Antarctica, his eyes were affected and the skin peeled from his face after walking for weeks under the hole in the ozone layer. In the Arctic, the team almost drowned due to melting ice, caused by global warming.
One Step Beyond, The South Pole Challenge (1996 – 1997)
Robert organised One Step Beyond, The South Pole Challenge, which brought 35 young adventurers from 25 nations together in Antarctica. The mission was to remove and recycle 1,500 tons of waste that had been left at Bellingshausen station in Antarctica after decades of scientific research. The team worked for eight years to raise the money, plan, and execute the mission.
The 2041 Voyage for Cleaner Energy (2003 – 2012)
The Voyage for Cleaner Energy is an expedition by Robert Swan and his 2041 team to increase awareness about environmental issues related to climate change.
Starting in Cape Town in 2003, yacht ‘2041’ has spread the message of renewable energy and sustainability to places throughout the world, including Antarctica, Europe, and Australia, the Middle East and has circumnavigated the coasts of both Africa and the United States of America.
The yacht and Robert have been featured guests of multiple universities and schools throughout the globe, as well as the 2009 UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Voyaging almost 120,000 nautical miles over a period of 8 years, the Voyage for Cleaner energy connected with over 450 000 students from around the world with personal talks from Robert Swan. The yacht is fitted with a variety of eco-friendly features, including sails made entirely from recycled plastic bottles
South Pole Energy Challenge (2017)
Highlighting the need for more cleaner energy solutions, the South Pole Energy Challenge team walked to the South Pole using only renewable energy sources, including advanced biofuels provided by Shell.
Having shown incredible mental and physical fitness, as the expedition reached the halfway point, Robert made the tough decision to return to Base Camp to allow the team to increase their pace.
The remaining members of the team, consisting of Robert’s 23-year-old son Barney Swan, expedition guide Martin Barnett and documentary filmmaker Kyle O’Donoghue, arrived at the South Pole ahead of schedule having completed this epic 600-mile trek.
Motivational and Environmental Keynote Speaker
Robert is an exceptionally gifted communicator and is regarded as one of the world’s top motivational speakers.
Robert’s talent as a communicator is the key to his extraordinary career. Maintaining a positive view. No one is inspired by the negative – the challenge in the world isn’t lack of information – it’s a lack of inspiration. Robert’s job is to inspire people to get them to believe it is possible by showing them small achievable steps.
Robert Swan has shown through his expeditions to both Poles that we have the power to overcome obstacles and achieve our goals through perseverance, determination and commitment.
A leader must make decisions, sometimes tough ones, and have the courage to stick to them. In the Antarctic, there is no desk to hide behind.
We live in an age of complex communication technology, yet many people find little time to communicate effectively. In a hostile environment like the Arctic, you need to explain your thoughts, feelings and actions, just to survive. Effective communications in business are equally vital.
Robert witnessed firsthand the damage to the most delicate of the world’s environments, the Polar Regions. Travelling under the hole in the ozone layer in Antarctica and seeing the Arctic ice melt earlier than predicted – both results of global warming.
Robert accepts that great feats are rarely achieved by individuals in isolation: more often it is a team effort. A team which understands its strengths and weaknesses and pulls together to face the challenge will achieve the seemingly impossible.
Robert Swan compares his icy experiences to boardroom manoeuvres and his inspirational addresses have received the acclaim of discerning audiences worldwide.
Robert Swan and Barney Swan are also available to deliver joint presentations. Both travel from the USA.