Get to know the ASEF Podcast guests [Episode 24]

February 20, 2024

The new episode of the ASEF Podcast titled “Climate Change” hosts Dr. Janez Potočnik, Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel, Partner at SYSTEMIQ, and advisor to thought-leading institutions such as the European Forest Institute. 

Dr. Janez Potočnik’s academic journey began with honors from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Ljubljana. He pursued further studies at the same university, completing his master’s degree in 1989 and obtaining a Ph.D. in 1993. In July 1994, he assumed the role of Director at the Institute of Macroeconomic Analysis and Development of the Republic of Slovenia. Subsequently, in April 1998, the Government of the Republic of Slovenia appointed him as the Head of the Negotiating Team for the Accession of Slovenia to the European Union. 

His extensive involvement in European affairs continued as he served as Minister Councillor at the Office of the Prime Minister in June 2001 and later became the Minister without portfolio responsible for European Affairs on January 24, 2002. Dr. Potočnik joined the European Commission on May 1, 2004, and from 2004 to 2010, he held the responsibility for Science and Research. In 2010, he assumed a second mandate as a Member of the European Commission responsible for Environment, concluding on November 1, 2014. Post-2014, Dr. Potočnik’s commitment to environmental causes persisted as he was appointed a member and Co-Chair of the International Resource Panel hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme. Simultaneously, he took on roles such as Chairman of The Forum for the Future of Agriculture and a Member of the European Policy Centre’s Advisory Council. Since April 2016, he has been a Partner at SYSTEMIQ. 

Additionally, from 2020 onwards, he holds the position of President of ThinkForest. In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Potočnik has received multiple honorary Doctor of Science degrees from institutions such as London Imperial College, Ghent University, and Finland Aalto University. Notable accolades include the United Nations’ 2013 Champions of the Earth Award for promoting resource efficiency and reducing food waste in the European Union, the ACER Award for visionary contributions to the European Research Council, the Twelve Stars for the Environment Award for his science-based approach to environmental sustainability, and the Hans-Carl-Von-Carlowitz-Award 2015 for his courageous and international work in advocating for the circular economy in Europe.

The interview was conducted by Tanja Janko, a Master’s Student of Chemistry at the University of Zurich. She was an ASEF Junior Fellow 2019 with Dr. Dimitri Krainc at Northwestern University. 

Episode 24 is available to stream via

ASEF Podcast