The International Geosynthetics Society Vice President, Dr. Nathalie Touze, delivered an inspiring Giroud Lecture at the 11th International Conference on Geosynthetics (September 2018, Seoul). The lecture’s topic was “Healing the World: A Geosynthetics Solution,” and since that event Dr. Touze has delivered the lecture in different forums around the world.

Now, the IGS has released a video of the full lecture. The recording comes from a visit Dr. Touze paid the UK Chapter of the IGS in December 2019.


Dr. Touze’s Giroud Lecture delivers a unique engineering vision on how connected geosynthetics are to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The lecture provides a foundation for understanding what geotechnical engineers and geosynthetics professionals can do now, in their every day work, to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals mission in order to combat climate change.

The Giroud Lecture highlights how engineer can make their connections to the SDGs clearer and how they could create even more beneficial impact because the designs and solutions they promote already embrace so many sustainability concepts.

Nathalie Touze Giroud Lecture from 11ICG
Dr. Nathalie Touze

“Geosynthetics play an important role in the protection of the environment,” Dr. Touze said in an interview about the Giroud Lecture with Dr. JP Giroud himself. “But, in many countries, the economic situation is not so good; so, the tendency is to reduce the budget for measures aimed at protecting the environment. There is a belief protecting the environment costs money–but at the same time geosynthetics can protect the environment and save money on the projects. This is a very important statement.”

Consider that construction practices account for an enormous amount of carbon emissions. Large infrastructure projects disturb a significant amount of land. Heavy truck traffic is involved. Transport of heavy materials accounts is a major contributor to a project’s carbon footprint.

RELATED: IGS Video Focuses on Sustainable Development

With geosynthetics a number of advantages can be realized, such as:

  • Smaller construction footprints (e.g., less land disturbance)
  • Geosynthetics are significantly lighter than earthen materials like clay so require significantly fewer truckloads to site (e.g., up to 150:1, earthen materials truckloads to 1 truckload of geosynthetic rolls)
  • Greater reuse of on-site materials with geosynthetics vs trucking in special fills

Watch the full Giroud Lecture here and see more videos from the International Geosynthetics Society on its YouTube Channel.