As part of the latest phase in my working life, I have been taking stock of my parallel life as a Committee Person. With some regret, late in 2007 I resigned several committee memberships—notably the Chairmanship of the Advisory Council of the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), my membership of the RSA Advisory Council and my role as a Trustee at the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (B&HRRC: http://www.business-humanrights.org/Home). Happily, however, in this third case my colleague Kavita Prakash-Mani seamlessly took over from me as a Trustee and I continue to serve as Senior Advisor. At the same time, I have found myself drawn into a number of new roles that better align with my growing focus on scalable entrepreneurial solutions, including advisory board memberships with organizations like 2degrees, EcoVadis (http://www.ecovadis.com), Physic Ventures (http://www.physicventures.com) and zouk ventures (http://www.zouk.com). Then late in 2007 I was also invited to become a Visiting Professor at the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at the Cranfield University School of Management (http://www.som.cranfield.ac.uk/som/research/centres/ccr/).
I never thought of myself as a potential ‘Committee Man’, certainly not in the Sixties, but this type of work has taken a good deal of my time over the years. Since the late 1970s, I calculate, it has been my privilege to sit on over 30 boards, advisory boards, councils and committees. Some of that time has been squandered, inevitably. My seven years with the European Commission’s Consultative Forum on Sustainable Development, for example, were pretty taxing at times.
But, again, I can remember meetings when we were able to make a real difference. For example, I recall a meeting of the Global Reporting Initiative steering committee in the early days, high up in a New York skyscraper looking out towards the Statue of Liberty. With a couple of colleagues I pushed hard to have the GRI embrace a triple bottom line agenda, rather than their evolving into simply another set of environmental reporting guidelines. And we carried the day.
I have really enjoyed chairing The Environment Foundation, though the legal battle we fought over several years with the Charity Commissioners to get sustainable development accepted as a charitable objective had me wanting to do a Guy Fawkes on them. In the event, we won, and I am infinitely grateful to Helen Holdaway, the Foundation’s Director, and to Stephen Lloyd, who took up the legal cudgels on our behalf.
I am also enormously grateful to my colleagues at SustainAbility for allowing me to do this work, almost all of which is done pro bono.
Currently, in addition to my SustainAbility and Volans roles, I am:
Member of Advisory Board, 2degrees, details to come once the organisation is launched.
Chairman, Impact and Policy Analysis Steering Group, Aflatoun (Child Savings International). Aflatoun equips children with the knowledge and skills to become economically self-reliant citizens and empowers them to break the cycle of poverty through Child Social and Financial Education (CSFE). See www.aflatoun.org
Senior Advisor to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, spun off (but still supported) by Amnesty International. A fantastic organisation. The purpose of the Centre’s website is to promote greater awareness and informed discussion of important issues relating to business and human rights. The online library covers over 150 topics, over 160 countries, over 150 industry sectors. The site is composed of links to a wide range of materials published by companies, NGOs, governments, intergovernmental organisations, journalists, academics, etc. It includes reports of corporate misconduct, as well as positive examples of ‘best practice’ by companies. Run by the indefatigable Chris Avery. www.business-humanrights.org
Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (CSEAR) I am pretty much a sleeping partner here, but (Professor) Rob Gray has been a long-standing colleague and friend. CSEAR was established in 1991 as networking institution which gathers and disseminates information about the practice and theory of social and environmental accounting and reporting. CSEAR provides a mechanism for academics and practitioners to make contact and support each other. It currently has over 300 members in over 30 countries. www.gla.ac.uk/departments/accounting/csear
Visiting Professor, Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility, Cranfield University School of Management, http://www.som.cranfield.ac.uk/som/research/centres/ccr/
Advisory Board Member of Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes I was invited to join the new DJSI Advisory Board in late 2003. Launched in 1999, the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes are the first global indexes tracking the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide. Currently 60 DJSI licenses are held by asset managers in 15 countries to manage a variety of financial products including active and passive funds, certificates and segregated accounts. In total, these licensees presently manage over 5 billion USD based on the DJSI. www.sustainability-index.com
Advisory Board Member, EcoVadis, Paris. EcoVadis was incorporated early in 2007 with the objective of becoming a trusted partner for procurement organizations aiming to implement sustainable supply management practices. Leveraging innovative information technologies and service expertise on sustainable procurement, EcoVadis helps procurement organizations improve their performance, while reducing the costs associated to suppliers CSR performance assessment (http://www.ecovadis.com/)
Member of the Advisory Council of The Environmental Law Foundation (ELF) ELF is the national UK charity linking communities and individuals to legal and technical expertise to prevent damage to the environment and to improve its quality for all. Through its network of members, ELF provides people with information and advice on how the law can help resolve environmental problems such as pollution, development and health. www.elflaw.org
Chair of The Environment Foundation A financial sector charity founded in 1983, The Environment Foundation was launched in 1983 and celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2003. I joined as a Trustee in 1994 and was invited to take over as Chairman in 1995. Among other things, the Foundation has sponsored a series of Consultations at St George’s House, Windsor Castle. A major coup was achieved when the Foundation fought the Charity Commissioners to establish sustainable development as a charitable objective for the first time—and won, with the invaluable help of Stephen Lloyd of Bates, Wells & Braithwaite.www.environmentfoundation.net
Member, Evian Group Brain Trust.
Member, International Board, Instituto Ethos, Brazil Ethos Institute is a leading CSR organization in South America and an emerging global reference point on the theme. Its mission is “to mobilize, encourage and help companies manage their business in a socially responsible way, making them partners in building a sustainable and fair society.” www.ethos.org.br
Patron of The Haller Foundation Julia (Hailes) and I first came across Dr Rene Haller through the UN Global 500 network. He is working to transform the desert-like, lunar landscapes of a limestone quarry in Kenya into a series of interlinked wildlife conservation and sustainable agriculture projects.www.thehallerfoundation.com
Advisory Board Member, Physic Ventures, San Francisco. Physic Ventures combines the teams, sector expertise and portfolio experiences of Great Spirit Ventures and Unilever Technology Ventures. It works closely with entrepreneurial teams and invests in technology-enabled, consumer-driven businesses in North America, primarily early to mid-stage. Physic Ventures broadly characterizes its investments in terms of the four P’s: Prevention—technologies, products or services that have the ability to prevent or delay the onset of decline or disease and sustain our personal and environmental vitality. Prediction—technologies, products or services that have the ability to predict and diagnose the potential and onset of disease. Personalization—technologies, products and programs that enable more individualized approaches to maintaining health or that offer patients more control over their preventive or therapeutic regimens. And Performance—technologies, products and services that enhance human performance or perhaps delay the onset of cognitive, physical or biological decline. This area of interest also relates to performance materials that contribute to personal health or address resource scarcity or ecosystem safety issues.
Founder, Board member and Managing Partner, Volans Ventures. See www.volans.com.
Member, WWF UK Council of Ambassadors.
Cleantech Industry Advisory Board member, zouk ventures, London. Seehttp://www.zouk.com/iagtable.php?pageid=w
- Member, Tomorrow’s Global Company Inquiry Team
- Chairman, Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD) Advisory Council
- Trustee, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre
- Chair of the Social and Environmental Committee, Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants
- Commissioner, State of the World Forum Commission on Globalisation
- Member, International Selection Committee, World Business Awards in support of the Millennium Development Goals
- Non-executive director of the Association of Environmental Consultancies (AEC) from 1993-1995.
- Chairman of Board of the Environment Faculty, Herning Institute of Business Administration & Technology, Denmark, from 1995 to 1998.
- Member of the European Union Consultative Forum on the Environment and Sustainable Development (1994-2001).
I have also served on committees, among others, for:
- AccountAbility, see ISEA.
- Anglian Water (Board Sustainability Committee, 1996-2003).
- Central Electricity Generating Board (CEGB).
- European Partners for the Environment (EPE).
- Friends of the Earth (FoE).
- Global Reporting Initiative (GRI).
- ICI Polyurethanes.
- ING Sustainability Investment Fund Advisory Board (ING)
- Institute for Social and Ethical Accountability (ISEA).
- Institute of Environmental Management (IEM).
- Merlin Ecology Fund.
- National Provident Institution (NPI).
- National Wildlife Federation’s Corporate Conservation Council (NWF, US)
- Nature Conservancy Council (NCC).
- New Economics Foundation (NEF).
- Royal Society of Arts
- The Other Economic Summit (TOES).
- World Resources Institute (WRI, US).
- World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF).