board of trustees

Acting Chair

John Elkington

John Elkington is a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development. In 2004, BusinessWeek described him as “a dean of the corporate responsibility movement for three decades.” His first involvement in the field: raising money for the newly formed World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 1961, aged 11.

In 2008, The Evening Standard named John among the ‘1000 Most Influential People’ in London, describing him as “a true green business guru,” and as “an evangelist for corporate social and environmental responsibility long before it was fashionable.”

In July 2008 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in engineering at Bristol University, where he is a visiting Professor in Sustainable Systems Engineering.

In 2009, a CSR International survey of the Top 100 CSR leaders placed John fourth: after Al Gore, Barack Obama and the late Anita Roddick of the Body Shop, and alongside Muhammad Yunus of the Grameen Bank.

In August 2001, John was named among the ‘100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders for 2011’ by ABC Carbon and the Sustain Ability Showcase Asia, based on nominations and recommendations received from around the globe.

Founding Partner & Executive Chairman of Volans and Co-founder of SustainAbility (1987-2008, where he remains a non-executive member of the Board) and of Environmental Data Services (ENDS, 1978). Volans applies thought leadership and global networks across these areas to develop solutions for entrepreneurs, businesses, governments and investors.

In terms of other hats, John is a Visiting Professor at the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at the Cranfield School of Management. He chairs The Foundation for Democracy & Sustainable Development (FDSD) and the Aflatoun Impact and Policy Analysis Steering Group, and is an Honorary Fellow of The Hub. He is also a member of various strategic advisory boards: 2degreesBayer MaterialScienceEcoVadisGaia Energy; the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI); Instituto Ethos; Nestlé’s Creating Shared ValueOne Earth InnovationPolecat UK and a Cleantech Fund developed by zouk Ventures. He is also a Senior Advisor to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, a member of the WWF Council of Ambassadors, a member of the Evian Group Brain Trust and Council of Global Thought Leaders; the Global Leaders Academy; the Cleantech Group’s Cleantech Innovation Council and sits on Newsweek’s Green Rankings Advisory Board.

John has served as a juror for the first Gigaton Awards, developed by Sir Richard Branson’s non-profit Carbon War Room and dubbed the ‘oscars of sustainability’ and has recently joined the Advisory Boards of Guardian Sustainable BusinessOne Earth Innovation, the Katerva Challenge, F&C’s Committee of ReferenceRecyclebank‘s Sustainability Advisory Council, Atkins‘ Futures and also an advisory panel for the Geneva Association. John is Chairman of two new initiatives still in formation: the Bright Young Sustainable Leaders’ Council and the Ecological Sequestration Trust.


Prof Nilay Shah

Professor Nilay Shah is the Director of the Centre for Process Systems Engineering and Co-Director of theUrban Energy Systems project at Imperial, Co-Director of the Porter Institute for Bioenergy, and leader of the Zero-Carbon Production Systems theme of Climate-KIC. He has co-authored over 100 technical papers on energy systems modelling and engineering, bio-energy systems, hydrogen infrastructures, supply chain modelling, process scheduling and optimisation, design of batch and biochemical processes, and plant safety and risk assessment. He has developed an optimisation-based design methodology for a variety of energy systems exhibiting strong spatial and temporal aspects.

Nilay Shah has received several awards including the IChemE Junior Moulton Medal (1996), an RAEng/ICI Engineering Fellowship (1997-2001), the Royal Society of Chemistry Beilby Medal and Prize (2005), the Imperial College Rector’s Award for Research Excellence (2006), RAEng MacRobert Award (2007) and Imperial College Engineering Teaching Excellence Award (2009).

Former Trustee

Prof Sir David King

Professor Sir David King was the Smith School’s first appointed Director from 2008-2012. He drew together an elite group of full-timeassociate and visiting academics from all over the world to be part of the School. With them, he forged links with global businesses and politicians from every continent to achieve the Smith School’s aims – to help leaders in business and government make well-informed decisions to secure a sustainable low carbon future.

Sir David was the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser and Head of the Government Office of Science from October 2000 to 31 December 2007. In that time, he raised the profile of the need for governments worldwide to act on climate change and was instrumental in creating the new £1bn Energy Technologies Institute.  He gave  over 300 talks on climate change at venues around the world between 2002 and 2007.  In 2008 he co-authored The Hot Topic (Bloomsbury) on this subject.  As Director of the Government’s Foresight Programme, he created an in-depth horizon scanning process which advised government on a range of long-term problems, from flooding to obesity.

Sir David chaired the government’s Global Science and Innovation Forum from its inception and advised on the foot-and-mouth epidemic of 2001, post 9/11 risks to the UK, GM foods and energy provision. He was heavily involved in establishing the government’s Science and Innovation Strategy of 2004-2014.

Sir David was born in South Africa in 1939 and in 1974, after an early career at the University of Witwatersrand, Imperial College and the University of East Anglia, he became the Brunner Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Liverpool. In 1988, he was appointed 1920 Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, subsequently becoming Master of Downing College (1995-2000) and Head of Cambridge University Chemistry Department (1993-2000).  He remains Director of Research at the Department of Chemistry in Cambridge and is Senior Scientific Advisor to the bank UBS. He was President of the British Science Association from 2008-9.

He has published more than 500 papers on chemical physics and on science and policy, and has been awarded numerous prizes, fellowships, and honorary degrees.

Sir David became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991, Foreign Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2002, was knighted in 2003 for his work in science, and received the award of “Officier dans l’ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur” from the French President in 2009 for his work on climate change and on negotiation the international agreement to build the world’s largest technology project, the ITER fusion reactor.