A Collaborative Framework for Preserving Biodiversity

Attending the Inaugural World Biodiversity Forum

Maddy Macdonald
Carly Williams

Shortly after the World Economic Forum, our planet’s leading environmentalists will reconvene in Davos, Switzerland for the World Biodiversity Forum.

First of its kind, the inaugural World Biodiversity Forum brings to­geth­er lead­ing re­searchers, prac­ti­tion­ers, and decision-makers from dif­fer­ent sectors to re­de­fine the agen­da for bio­di­ver­si­ty through sessions and interactive workshops from February 23-28 2020.


Our Role

TEALEAVES and the University of British Columbia (UBC) Botanical Garden will present a collaborative framework to preserve biodiversity through a network of international organizations. The two-part session and workshop (Session 163S & Session 156W) will be presented alongside the World Health Organization, Botanic Gardens Conservation International, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Microsoft, and NSCAD.

Together these leading organizations will illustrate the connection between biodiversity and public health, reinforcing the role of botanical gardens as “idea libraries.”

We believe that biomimicry as a design discipline is a compelling story for the case for biodiversity as it speaks to a different audience, and offers a means to solve the problems that humanity is facing today.

– Lana Sutherland, TEALEAVES Co-Founder and CEO.


The Case for Engagement

Public health is both directly and indirectly linked to the health of biodiverse ecosystems at all scales. Loss of biodiversity and the resulting impact on ecosystem processes is often correlated with a concordant increase in public health challenges. Further exacerbating the complexity of these problems is the climate crisis.

From catalyzing the invention of critical pharmaceuticals to prevent a looming pandemic, to inspiring durable physical structures, biomimicry–the practice of observing, understanding, and recreating the processes or materials that have evolved in biodiversity–is a wellspring of knowledge that remains underutilized. While art and design have long been influenced by the natural world, it is only in recent decades that there has been prominent recognition that science and engineering can find untapped solutions through biodiversity.

We want to help create a movement and demonstrate that the for-profit sector can be part of the solution, furthering the goals of the social and public sector through fostering multi-layered partnerships to address global challenges.

– Lana Sutherland, TEALEAVES Co-Founder and CEO.


Session Convenors

  • Professor Jas Pal Badyal, FRS & Professor of Chemistry, Durham University
  • Dr. Paul Kersey, Deputy Director of Science, Kew Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Dr. Robert S. Lawrence, Co-founder of Physicians for Human Rights, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate 1997, Emeritus Professor at Johns Hopkins Center for a Liveable Future
  • Patrick Lewis, Director, University of British Columbia Botanical Garden
  • Dr. Aoife Mac Namara, President, Nova Scotia College of Art & Design
  • Daniel Mosquin, Research Manager, University of British Columbia Botanical Garden
  • Francesca Racioppi, Senior Policy and Programme Adviser, Environment and Health Policy and Governance for Europe, World Health Organisation
  • Albert Shum, CVP of Design, Experiences & Devices Group, Microsoft
  • Dr. Paul Smith, Secretary-General, Botanic Gardens Conservation International
  • Lana Sutherland, Co-founder & CEO, TEALEAVES


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