Claudio Ruch

Claudio Ruch

Claudio is a master student in Robotics, Systems and Control at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH). He has completed a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering at ETH. His motivation to be an engineer is to enhance sustainability and the joy of creating new products. With a team of ETH students he has developped a Skye (, an innovative flying eyeball. In his opinion, change towards a more sustainable economy can be supported highly by creating new technical solutions that are not only more sustainable but offer better economic performance at the same time. Claudio is highly interested in the interaction of technological innovation, social changes and the economy. He is convinced that engineers and technological experts can and should influence the public discussion on sustainability more by bringing in their knowledge. His interests in the fields of engineering are mainly focused on the control of dynamic systems, mechanics and on the mathematical theories at the basis of engineering. At university you'll find him either listening eagerly to lectures or teaching exercise hours himself: He cares about handing on his knowledge to undergraduate students. Claudio is an active member of the Swiss Study Foundation, loves working in an international environment and travelling. He speaks German, English, French and Spanish.

Recent Posts

Going Beyond the Carbon Footprint Calculator

The World Resources Forum has officially opened and the student reporters are reporting live. This is reason enough to shed light on some of our activities from an ecological point of view. Since we’ll be sleeping, breathing, and talking resources for the next three days, we thought it’d be interesting to see the resource footprint of getting our team to Beijing. We’re only looking at the carbon footprint for now, and using an easily accessible online calculator, we came up with a quick calculation. 6.68 tonnes CO2e (4 people from Zürich to Beijing, return)
4.63 tonnes CO2e (2 people from Philadelphia to Beijing, return)
1.53 tonnes CO2e (1 person from Budapest to Beijing, return)
0.47 tonnes CO2e (1 person from Hong Kong to Beijing, return)
1.71 tonnes CO2e (1 person from London to Beijing, return)
1.72 tonnes CO2e (1 person from Geneva to Beijing, return)
1.80 tonnes CO2e (1 person from Zürich to Beijing via Helsinki, return)

This results in 18.54 tonnes CO2e for transporting 12 student reporters.

What do you mean by “sustainable”?


It has become fashionable to be sustainable: More and more companies try to aquire a green identity, products and labels rival for lucrative sustainable customer’s favour. A trendy image certainly accelerates things: More customers encourage companies to develop sustainable technologies, therefore, sustainability policies can be introduced faster.  However, this process is also blurring the topic and the connected ideas because also people and institutions become part of the movement, that do actually not act sustainably. The main cause for this confusing state is nothing else but the complicated definition of sustainability itself. It is not that easy to define this term that is used so often (in this article I’ve made use of it already 7 times). In order to sharpen our image of the concept sustainability I dedicated this article to one famous, possible definition of sustainability and to the consequences that it implies.  This is the definition:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Japanese insights at WRF 2011

Prof. Masafumi Maeda

Finally I have enough time to sit down and give you the insights from Prof. Masafumi Maeda’s  speech, as promised in my  last post on him. He mentioned at the start of his presentation facts and numbers. An interesting plot presented by him showed a strong correlation between life expectancy and GDP per capita until a GDP per capita of approximately 8000 USD / person. Life expectancy reaches about 72 years at this point. Further growth of GDP per capita is contributing only very little  to superior life expectancy.

The favourite scapegoat


Free market economy is often blamed to be the scapegoat these days, especially  in discussions on sustainability and resources efficiency. Enterprises are accused for using resources irresponsibly. Some experts demand for stronger regulations, others claim that adapted economic models and even command economy are needed to solve the resources problem. In my opinion, the  implementation of measures that go against free market economy does not make any sense. Why?

Video: Actions to improve resources management


Student reporters have witnessed a lot of highly interesting discussions, speeches and sessions at the World Resources Forum 2011 in Davos. Research, theories and improved policies are certainly important to promote resources efficiency, but nevertheless actions is what’s needed the most. With this short video we’d like to show you examples of participants of the WRF 2011, who brought ideas from theoretical space down to business. On a broad scale. Please enjoy our video and get inspired:

Exciting guest from the Far East: Prof. Masafumi Maeda, University of Tokyo

Europe has learned many times from Japan. In past decades Japanese business administration principles were adapted by European management consulting agencies, Japanese art of cooking found it’s way into our restaurants and even Japanese styles of bedding are popular in Europe. Tomorrow maybe we’ll  have the chance to adopt Japanese resources management into our European concepts. Masafumi Maeda, Vice President of the University of Tokyo, Japanese Academy of Engineering is giving a keynote address at the World Resources Forum on Tuesday 20th of September. The general title “The Japanese View of Resource Management – a Perspective of Industry and Science” promises different insights into the way resources topics are discussed in Japan.

Necessary aims are announced – but when will the Turning Point happen?

WRF 2011 has started and I am currently listening to the opening session. The goal of the conference has become clear: Delivering the immediately needed impact on resources management. The reason for this: change towards a more efficient use of resources and towards a closed circles economy is going to be a lot more difficult once shortness of resources has reached an even more alarming level than today. Some key facts of the opening speaches:

Commissioner Janez Potocnik mentioned the necessity of dematerializing Europe which is not the same thing as deindustrializing. According to him,  shift towards efficient and sustainable resource management can only be achieved by using our industrial intelligence, engineering skills and intelligent policies. In contrast to the past: using them not only for material growth but for sustainable resources management.

Resources management: A new platform for counting the assets

As promised, I am bringing some information from the dinner with Jacqueline M. McGlade to you:

Actually the last post did not cover at all the various and different research activities of her. Her newest project is just about to be released. It is going to be presented in mid December in Abu Dhabi and it is called Eye on Earth. What is the main goal? To make satellite information accessible to everyone and to connect it with loads of informations from various fields, starting from energy topics to resources and ecosystems.

What are the implications of this project?

Environmental Monitoring with Jaqueline M. McGlade

Jaqueline McGlade

Imagine someone telling you: “We are living a completely sustainable life. Exploitation of our resources for example fishery is not dangerous and there will be enough left for our children and grandchildren.” Of course you’d reply: “No, we aren’t living a sustainable life. We can’t go on like this forever.” But how could you conquer your opponent by using facts?