Universiteit Leiden

nl en


Collective Stewardship for Sustainability Transformations

Tuesday 28 January 2020
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden
Petra Kuenkel

The state of the world suggests humankind is at a crossroad—the next 15 to 20 years will have a decisive impact—more than in any period before—on the conditions of life on Earth. While FridaysForFuture and Extinction Rebellion have put the global climate crisis and biodiversity loss high on the agenda of the public discourse, the warnings about the limits to growth of our current economic model, are more than 50 years old. Rising awareness about the urgency of finding new ways of maintaining the global life support system become increasingly important. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are, for the first time, an attempt to look at human progress in a holistic and interconnected way. However, if—as many scientists predict—humanity needs to rise up to its capacity for a stewardship approach to stabilize the trajectories of our planet, it becomes clear that understanding life support systems as an interdependent and interlinked system is paramount for implementing the SDGs. The talk argues that understanding what gives life to systems can become a guiding force for approaching the large systems change needed to advance such approaches. It explores the conceptual foundations for principles that govern socio-ecological systems in support of ‘systems aliveness’. Understanding such principles, and translating them into the design and implementation of stewarding sustainability transformations in SDG implementation (Kuenkel, 2019; Waddock & Kuenkel, 2019). 

About the speaker

Dr. Petra Kuenkel is an accomplished author in the field of sustainability transformations and a leading strategic advisor to pioneering international multi-stakeholder initiatives that tackle common goods and aim at transformative change. As a Full Member of the International Club of Rome and the founder and executive director of the Collective Leadership Institute, she promotes the scaling-up of collective leadership and collaboration skills for change agents in sustainability transformations from the private sector, public sector and civil society. She has developed a science and practice based breakthrough methodology for transformative change and is an expert in strategy designs for complex cross-sector partnering and large-scale multi-stakeholder initiatives. An industrial psychologist by profession, her teaching areas include applied systems thinking and leadership in complex systems. With projects all over the world, the Collective Leadership Institute (CLI) is an internationally operating non-profit organization focusing on thought leadership, executive education and sustainability transformation support.

Missed it? The lecture is now available online!

Due to the selected cookie settings, we cannot show this video here.

Watch the video on the original website or

This website uses cookies.  More information.