Andrew Wordsworth is a Founder and Managing Director of Sustainable Ventures which works with investors, entrepreneurial managers and corporate partners to originate, build and grow businesses in the low carbon and sustainability sectors. The company also established Sustainable Workspaces, Europe’s largest cluster of start-up companies in the sector hosting over 35 ventures based in two locations near London Bridge.
Sustainable Ventures portfolio includes E-Car Club which created the UK’s first crowdfunding exit in 2015 when Europcar acquired a majority stake; and Powervault which is seeking to disrupt the domestic electricity storage industry. In 2017, the Company launched the Sustainable Accelerator fund, which is now the UK’s leading specialist seed stage investor in the sector.
Prior to establishing Sustainable Ventures, Andrew had over 15 years' experience in the energy and climate change sector - including roles within Esso, Bain & Co, Arthur D Little and Managing Director of Carbon Trust Enterprises. Andrew holds an M.Eng from the University of Cambridge.
Dr Ben Caldecott is the founding Director of the Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme at the University of Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. He is the inaugural holder of the Lombard Odier Associate Professorship and Senior Research Fellowship of Sustainable Finance at the University of Oxford, the first ever endowed professorship of sustainable finance. He is a Supernumerary Fellow at Oriel College, Oxford, and a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. Ben is also the COP26 Strategy Advisor for Finance based out of the UK Cabinet Office.
Ben specialises in environment, energy, and sustainability issues and works at the intersection between finance, public policy, and academe, having held senior roles in each domain. Ben has authored and edited a substantial number of publications related to sustainability and is an experienced media commentator and public speaker. He is also a regular peer reviewer and has a number of board and advisory panel appointments, including with the University of Oxford Socially Responsible Investment Review Committee, The Prince of Wales's Accounting for Sustainability Project, ATLAS Infrastructure Partners Ltd, Impact Lens Ltd, the British Standards Institution (BSI), and the Green Alliance.
Beverley is a business leader with a proven track record in early stage cleantech investments and commercialisation. She has over 30 years’ experience in the international energy sector and is a thought leader in the commercialisation of sustainable technologies. She specialises in accelerating innovation to market and scaling companies by providing strategic insights, developing industry partnerships and identifying novel ways to overcome barriers to entry. In 2006 she established CLT whose mission is “scaling transformative technologies for clean growth, sustaining our planet”. Her ambition is to create a better, sustainable world and she firmly believes that this will be achieved through innovation playing a transformative role in our economy.
She founded CLT in 2006, and has supported low carbon ventures in a wide range of sectors including power, transport, built environment, industry and waste. During her tenure at Shell she gained wide international business exposure and delivered the £500 million subsurface technology transfer programme to worldwide operations. Beverley was founder and Vice President at Shell Technology Ventures in this role she was instrumental in defining Shell’s technology venturing strategic approach. At QinetiQ she was Performance Director for the corporate venture division managing a portfolio of ventures (total value of £60 million), which went on to yield an IRR of 18%. She Chairs BEIS Energy Entrepreneurs Fund commercial panel which has invested £72 million into early stage, cleantech ventures. Beverley holds a degree in Mining Geology from University College Cardiff.
On 6th April 2020 Craig Bennett became the new Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts. He brings with him huge knowledge and experience of nature conservation issues, campaigning and leadership within the sector. He has been described as “one of the country’s top environmental campaigners” and by The Guardian as “the very model of a modern eco-general”. He has been listed as one of the UK’s top “social media CEOs” and in June 2019 was identified by Onalytica, the influencer marketing company, as the “top influencer driving the debate around sustainability and financial services”.
Craig started as CEO of Friends of the Earth in 2015, following five years as Director of Policy and Campaigns. During Craig’s tenure, he refocussed the organisation on its unique role of empowering communities to take action where they live to protect the planet and using that momentum to tackle the climate and ecological crisis. The impact has seen campaign successes to protect nature and the climate - with the banning of bee-harming pesticides, and securing a moratorium on fracking in England - as well as growth in the movement - including over 170 new community groups set up to fight the climate crisis. He led Friends of the Earth in their battle against the expansion of Heathrow Airport – and in February 2020 the government’s decision to expand Heathrow Airport was ruled ‘unlawful’ by the Court of Appeal on climate change grounds. It was one of the most important environmental law cases in this country for over a generation.
Earlier in his career, Craig was Deputy Director at The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (from 2007 to 2010), where he built the group into one of the most influential and progressive business voices in the international climate debate. Before that, he campaigned on corporate accountability, trade, and wildlife issues at Friends of the Earth and on international wildlife crime at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
He maintains his links with The University of Cambridge, as Policy Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy (CsAP), and as a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). He has twenty years’ experience of designing and contributing to executive education and leadership programmes at numerous universities and business schools, including the Judge Business School, London Business School, and Duke CE.
Craig is Honorary Professor of Sustainability and Innovation at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, Chair of the Sustainability and Resilience customer challenge panel for the Anglian Water region (established as part of the OFWAT price review process) and was formerly a member of the Net Positive Board Advisory Panel for Kingfisher plc. From 2013-2015, he was Chair of the Board of Stakeholder Forum.
He has a BSc (Hons) in Human and Physical Geography from The University of Reading and an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation from University College London, and an Honorary Doctoral degree from University College of Estate Management (UCEM). He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). Craig has a policy of not accepting speaking invitations that would result in an all male panel.
David Symons leads WSP’s Future Ready innovation programme. He was BusinessGreen’s leader of the year in 2018 and is a regular media commentator on environmental and other future trends for BBC, Sky News and national print media. David is a director for Aldersgate Group, and Commissioner for IPPR’s Environmental Justice Commission working to decarbonise the UK in a fair way. In 2019 he convened www.pledgetonetzero.org – an initiative to galvanise the environmental sector to take leadership on its own environmental performance. Outside work David is a keen runner, and a rather less accomplished amateur photographer.
Ed King is international lead, strategic communications at the European Climate Foundation. He was founding editor of Climate Home News, which he ran from 2011-2017. Before climate change intervened he was a journalist and producer at BBC Sport, living in blissful ignorance of climate change, covering rugby, football, horse racing along with the odd game of darts.
Gabrielle has lead BT's environmental sustainability programme since 2009. Her work has spanned BT's carbon targets - BT's 1.5°C science-based carbon reduction target, BT's net positive carbon abatement target to help customers save three times the end-to-end carbon impact of BT's business and ICT's carbon abatement potential, including the acclaimed GeSI SMARTer2030 report.
Gabrielle also developed BT’s supply chain engagement programme - the award winning BT Better Future Supplier Forum.
Gabrielle represents BT in external for a such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), We Mean Business and Aldersgate Group and chairs the UNFCCC Momentum for Change Advisory Panel. She is a regular speaker and writer about BT's climate action journey.
Prior to joining BT's digital impact and sustainability team, Gabrielle held roles in regulatory and public affairs and programme management. She has an MSc in Telecommunications Business from the University College London, an MA in International Economics and Relations from SAIS Johns Hopkins University and a BA in International Relations/Asian Studies. She is also an alumnus of the University of Cambridge Sustainability Leadership Programme and has completed the WBCSD Leadership Programme.
Heather has a track-record of creating new ways to involve young people in sustainability. The pioneering Greenprint 2020 project she lead helped young people set out their vision for a better future and succeed in engaging 4,500 of their peers to take part in environmental projects and events. Heather was recognised for this work by winning the prestigious Institute for Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) graduate of the year award.
Central to Heather’s approach in a constant desire to use design, photography and video as a way of engaging people through simple and compelling communication. This has not only worked with young people, but has also been used by Heather to run sustainability programmes within Telefonica, Accenture, Lloyds Banking Group, British Gas and the University of Creative Arts.
James Cole is Director of Corporate Relations and Communications at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). James joined the Institute in 2014 from Friends of the Earth where he set up a Business Engagement and Innovation team to develop new ideas, business partnerships, networks and alliances. In this role he worked across environmental campaigns and programmes on climate and energy, food, resource use, nature and biodiversity. He previously held a variety of senior commercial roles at Vodafone UK developing strategic partnerships.
Justin Adams has spent more than 20 years championing innovation and sustainability in the private and public sector. He joined The Nature Conservancy as Global Managing Director for Lands in April 2014. In this role, his focus is on integrated landscape strategies to achieve high-impact conservation and development outcomes on a large scale. He leads a broad team of Conservancy experts, working on global development and environmental challenges, including sustainable agriculture, forests and climate change, siting and mitigation, and indigenous and communal conservation. Before joining The Nature Conservancy, Justin worked as a Senior Advisor to the World Bank and to the Duke of Westminster’s new agricultural fund, Wheatsheaf Investments. He also built a boutique advisory business working with NGOs and companies on sustainable agriculture and energy issues. Prior to that, Justin was a senior executive at BP for 10 years where he helped to build its $8 billion renewables division, Alternative Energy. Justin is a Fellow at the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford and has completed a role as Chairman of Mendel Plant Sciences in 2015. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Bath, in the UK.
Before joining IPPR in 2016, Luke worked in parliament, the voluntary sector and the private sector. Luke has worked for the Labour party as a policy and political adviser for a shadow secretary of state and successive shadow housing ministers leading their work on housing, also working on local government and devolution. He has worked on policy and advocacy projects for the Living Wage Foundation and a leading housing association. Luke also has significant experience in communications and campaigning.
Luke is an experienced media performer and contributor. He has appeared on national broadcast media, including BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 2, BBC news and Channel 4 Dispatches, and has written for a range of newspapers including the Guardian, the Times and the Independent, and for other outlets including the New Statesman and HuffPost.
Mark is the Founder of the Carbon Tracker Initiative and conceived the ‘unburnable carbon’ capital markets thesis. In November 2011 he commissioned and was editor of Unburnable Carbon – Are the World’s Financial Markets Carrying a Carbon Bubble? More recently, Mark co-founded ‘Planet Tracker’ which focuses on agriculture, seafood, forestry, water and textiles. Mark is responsible for management strategy, board matters and developing their capital markets framework analysis. Their goal is to align capital markets with natural ecological limits to growth.
Prior to forming these groups, Mark had 25 years’ experience in sustainable financial markets working for major institutional asset management companies. Mark is a co-founder of some of the first responsible investment funds, firstly at Jupiter Asset Management in 1989 with the Ecology Funds, NPI with Global Care, the AMP Capital Sustainable Future Funds, and Henderson Global Investor’s Industries of the Future Funds.
Mark served on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development working group on capital markets leading up to the 1992 Earth Summit; was a Member of the Steering Committee of UNEP Financial Sector Initiative (1999-2003). Mark is a Founder Director of the UK Sustainable and Responsible Investment Forum (UKSIF), 1990-2006, a member of the Advisory Board of the New Venture Philanthropy’s ‘Conservation and Markets Initiatives’; is Hon Treasurer of The Rainforest Foundation UK and on the Development Board of the Ashden Awards. Mark is an advisor to Consilium Capital, to Faith Invest and serves on the Advisory Board of Tribe Impact Capital. Additionally, Mark is Visiting Lecturer at the Master’s Course of the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
Mark has a BA in Politics & Economic History and an M.Sc in Agricultural Economics.
Mark Kenber is the CEO of Climate Advisers UK and the Managing Director of Orbitas. Mark has worked on environment, climate and energy issues for over two decades, in government, NGOs and the private sector.
Until June 2018 he was Chief Executive of Mongoose Energy Ltd, the UK’s largest developer and manager of community energy projects, before which he had spent twelve years at internationally-renowned NGO, The Climate Group, including six as its Chief Executive.
With a background in development and environmental economics, Mark has worked across various areas of environmental and climate policy, with a particular focus on the use of economic instruments in the pursuit of sustainable development. His career to date has included spells with Fundacion Natura in Quito, as climate change advisor to the Ecuadorian government, at WWF International’s climate change programme and as lecturer at both the Catholic University in Quito and the Institute of Development Studies in the UK.
Highlights of his career include: founding the CDM Gold Standard and Verified Carbon Standard; overseeing the establishment of the RE100 and EP100 platforms; being a co-founder of the We Mean Business Coalition; leading the Breaking the Climate Deadlock project with former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair; designing the Ecuadorian National Climate Change Office; designing Ecuador’s first economic instruments for industrial pollution control and establishing the country’s first environmental economics programme at the Catholic University in Quito.
He is currently a board member of Community Energy England, Brighton and Hove Energy Services Coop and Verra, and Chair of the Reneum Advisory Council and the BP Carbon Advisory Panel. He lives in Brighton with his wife Gioconda and daughter Natasha, is a season ticket holder at Brighton and Hove Albion, active in local politics and an avid walker and concert and theatre-goer.
Mike is a change agent, committed to helping business big and small, new and established to prepare for and succeed in the great sustainability disruption that will wash through the economy in the 2020s.
Mike was until recently Director of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, spearheading its ground-breaking Plan A (because there is no Plan B for the one planet we have) sustainability programme. He co-chaired the Consumer Goods Forum’s sustainability work bringing the world’s largest retailers and fast moving consumer goods brands together to work on issues such as deforestation, plastics and forced labour. He is a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership.
Munish Datta is passionate about the crucial role every sector of society - government, business, civic - must play to create a truly sustainable world. As director of membership & operations at UK Green Building Council, he is responsible for leading the organisations membership strategy and enabling the delivery of its mission to radically improve the sustainability of the built environment. As Senior Associate, faculty & tutor at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership he empowers senior business leaders & organisations to tackle critical global challenges. Formerly, Munish led cross business teams to design and deliver Marks & Spencer’s multi award winning, globally renowned sustainability strategy (Plan A) for its 1000+ buildings property portfolio. He is a start-up advisor, member of the UK Government BEIS ‘Green Construction Board’, Governor of the Stephen Perse family of schools & trustee of Rama Foundation, a charity building the capacities and skills of disadvantaged communities. Twitter: @MunishDatta
Rupert has a track record of managing successful innovative campaigns across the health, charity, environment and political sectors. Rupert’s key strengths include integrating communications and campaign strategy development, social media and website management, building stakeholder engagement and media relations. He previously was Public Engagement Officer for a Green Party MEP, and has worked for the Centre for Justice Innovation, Global Action Plan, Release and TalkingDrugs.
Sam is the Director of the Conservative Environment Network, an independent forum for conservatives that support conservation and decarbonisation. Sam joined CEN after having served as a Policy Adviser to Michael Gove when he was Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. He was also the Head of Research at the liberal conservative think tank Bright Blue, leading their work on energy and the environment and authoring several policy reports. Before that, Sam was a Parliamentary Researcher for Graham Stuart MP.
Sharan Burrow was elected General Secretary of the ITUC at its Second World Congress in Vancouver, June 2010. Prior to this, she held the position of ITUC President since its Founding Congress in Vienna (November 2006) and the position of ICFTU President since its 18th World Congress in Miyazaki (November 2004). She is the first woman to have held any of these positions.
Sharan was born in 1954 in Warren, a small town in western NSW, into a family with a long history of involvement in unions and the struggle to improve the lives of working people.
Her great, great grandfather participated in the shearers’ strike of 1891/92, becoming one of the first organisers for the Australian Workers’ Union and standing for the state seat of Cobar for the fledgling Australian Labor Party in 1896.
Sharan studied teaching at the University of NSW in 1976 and began her teaching career in high schools around country NSW.
She became an organiser for the NSW Teachers’ Federation, based in Bathurst, and was President of the Bathurst Trades and Labour Council during the 1980s.
Sharan was elected Senior Vice-President of the NSW Teachers’ Federation and became President of the Australian Education Union (AEU) in 1992. She represented the AEU on the ACTU Executive through the 1990s.
Sharan was previously Vice-President of Education International from 1995 to 2000. Education International is the international organisation of education unions representing 24 million members worldwide.
In May 2000, Sharan Burrow became the second woman to be elected President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU).
In October 2000, Sharan also became the first woman to be elected President of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Asia Pacific Region Organisation.
She has also served as a member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation and is a member or ambassador of a number of international commissions on climate action, industrial transition and economic reform.
Sharan Burrow was re-elected General Secretary of the ITUC at its 3rd Congress, in Berlin, May 2014 and at its 4th Congress, in Copenhagen, December 2018.
Sharon Johnson brings more than two decades of strategic communications, movement building and campaigns experience to Global Optimism’s work.
She has consulted to FTSE500 CEO’s, driven programmes for global philanthropic foundations and built civil society campaigns across climate change, gender equality, digital inclusion, human rights and access to justice. She has designed and implemented global advocacy campaigns, including leading work that helped to define the transformational long-term goal for net zero emissions by 2050 and ensure it was embedded into the landmark Paris Agreement.
Prior to joining Global Optimism, Sharon was Director of Campaigns for The Elders, a group of former world leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela, where she led their efforts to inspire and build collective courage and action around the world in a range of advocacy areas including universal healthcare, climate change, access to justice, peace and human rights.
Sharon lived in Sydney, Australia from 1996 until 2001, leading strategy for a global portfolio of high profile brands, during a period of rapid globalisation and digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific region. Witnessing the notable impacts of climate change on industries from agriculture to retail during this time activated her commitment to shifting practices to those that are more sustainable and equitable.
Sharon began her career creating marketing initiatives and campaigns in Africa, with highlights including the ANC’s first election campaign in South Africa, and the launch and growth of MTN, Africa’s largest cellular phone network. Sharon Johnson was born and educated in Johannesburg, South Africa, and holds degrees from Wits University in Industrial Psychology (Hons) and English Literature.
Sharon is a Trustee and Board member of Namati, the world’s largest grassroots legal empowerment organisation and is an advisor to the co-Presidents of the Club of Rome and the Office of the Founder at The Graça Machel Trust. Sharon lives in London with her husband, where they have raised three nearly grown up children.
Shaun became executive director of Green Alliance in June 2017. He was chief executive of CPRE, the countryside charity, for 13 years. Previously he led ABCUL, the credit union trade association. From 1994 to 1999, he was an MEP for the South East, serving on the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
Shaun chairs the board of Greener UK, a coalition of 12 environmental groups set up in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum. His book, How to build houses and save the countryside, was published by Policy Press in March 2018.
Sonya Bhonsle is the Global Head of Value Chains & Regional Director Corporations at CDP. She leads all of CDPs corporate activity in the UK and Worldwide region. She also leads CDP’s work on value chains including CDP’s supply chain program which enables major multinationals and governments to achieve sustainable supply chains, influencing trillions of annual procurement spend.
Sonya has over 17 years of environmental experience, both in the public and private sector. Over the last few years she has specialised experience on Scope 3, setting and meeting scope 3 targets (including science-based targets), as well as setting and meeting water security and deforestation related supply chain goals.
Steve has managed the Secretariat of the UN Global Compact Network UK since 2008, providing support for UK-based endorsers of the UN’s corporate sustainability framework. He was previously a Programme Director at the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF) leading projects across a wide range of responsible business issue areas. Prior to joining IBLF, Steve was the founder and Managing Director of a successful retail sports equipment business in Canada. He has a B.Comm from the University of British Columbia and an MSc in Business & Environment from Imperial College London.
Susanne Baker is Head of Programme, Environment and Compliance at techUK, the business organisation for the UK’s technology sector. She also is a board member of the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute and of JTAC, the body currently tasked with spending £10m to improve the reuse and recycling of waste electricals. Before joining techUK, Susanne worked for EEF, the manufacturers association (now Make UK) and the environmental business journal, The ENDS Report. She is a Fellow of the RSA and a graduate of Kings College London.
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.
Viki Cooke is a co-founder of BritainThinks. She has more than 20 years’ experience in strategic insight. Viki also has overall responsibility for a great deal of our work for government and works closely with a number of departments including DHSC, Home Office and Department for Transport.
Viki has a track record for innovation having pioneered deliberative research methods in the UK – she has been involved in delivering the UK’s first Citizens’ Jury, first Citizens’ Forum and first Citizens’ Summit. She personally led a number of high-profile programmes including Your Health, Your Care, Your Say for the NHS and The Prince of Wales’s Business Summit on Climate Change. Viki is passionate about involving citizens in informed, influential and inspiring debates about the issues that impact on their lives and is well known for her work in this area.
Viki is a serial entrepreneur having co-founded a number of other successful companies over the last two decades including Opinion Leader Research, The SMART Company, Brand Democracy and Caucus.
Viki is also Vice Chair and Pro Chancellor of the University of Warwick, Chair of Hubbub Foundation and a Trustee of The Climate Group.