Thomas Lingard
Thomas Lingard
Global Climate & Environment Director
Unilever

Thomas leads climate and environment within Unilever’s Global Sustainability Team, responsible for strategy, policy, advocacy and partnerships.

Thomas led the development of Unilever’s new climate and nature strategy, launched in June 2020, which included a recommitment to 1.5 degree Science-Based Targets, a new Net Zero by 2039 commitment and the launch of the €1bn Climate & Nature fund.

Thomas joined Unilever in 1999, abandoning the finance graduate scheme after 3 years in 2002 to take a role in UK Social & Environmental Affairs. After 6 years in Unilever’s UK business, Thomas joined Green Alliance as Deputy Director, where he learned more about climate change and the critical importance of public policy in decarbonising the economy.

Thomas re-joined the business in 2010 as Global External Affairs Director, and was part of the original team that launched the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, subsequently founding the Unilever Global Advocacy team to drive transformational change on systemic issues such as recycling, public health and sustainable agriculture.

During that time he served as sherpa to former Unilever CEO, Paul Polman KBE in his role as Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on the Post 2015 Development Agenda. He was part of the Dutch delegation to COP21 and was part of the virtual team that choreographed the business input to the Paris Climate Summit.

Thomas read Philosophy and Modern Languages at Durham University and holds an Advanced Diploma in Sustainability and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Cross-Sector Partnerships for Sustainable Development from Cambridge University and a Masters in Development Management from the Open University.

Thomas is a Chartered Management Accountant and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is married to Sarah, a British diplomat, and they live with their three children near Cambridge.

My Sessions
PANEL: A science-based approach to biodiversity
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Panel discussion Plenary