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20 years as a full time corporate sustainability professional


Speaker:Dr. Alan Knight, OBE, Freelance Advisor
Date: Wednesday 23 November 2011
Time: 5.30 p.m.
Location: Xfi Building, Henderson Lecture Theatre

Further details

University of Exeter Business School
‘20 years as a full time corporate sustainability professional:
my confession’
Dr Alan Knight, OBE
Wednesday 23rd November, 5.30pm, Xfi Building, Henderson Lecture Theatre
Alan has nearly 20 years’ experience of working with global & national companies and governments on sustainability. He is currently a freelance advisor to business and government. He advises the Virgin Group on sustainable development and directs the Virgin Earth Challenge, an initiative to develop technology to recycle CO2 direct from the air into commercially viable products. He is also a panelist on the UK Independent Panel on Forestry and a founder of the Global Association of Corporate Sustainability Officers (GACSO), and chairs the UK Task Force on Peat which is coordinating the phase-out of peat in UK gardening and food production.
He has worked with companies as diverse as B&Q, Kingfisher, SABMiller, Coca Cola, Axa Insurance, Body Shop, Alberta Oil Sands Industry, and has served on several Government advisory groups. For nine years he was a commissioner with the Sustainable Development Commission. He helped to create the Forest Stewardship Council and introduced the concept of ‘choice editing’ into the product policy debate. He frequently lectures on sustainable lifestyles and product centric corporate sustainability in Europe, the Americas, Australasia and Asia. He was awarded the OBE in June 1998, and in 2005 the US-based Rainforest Alliance presented him with a lifelong award for his contribution towards finding solutions to forest loss by the timber trade. Alan’s roles have included:
  • Head of Corporate Sustainability at SABMiller, the world’s second largest brewer, where he developed a group-wide framework for sustainable development, covering issues as diverse as water, climate change and HIV/AIDS.
  • Head of Social Responsibility for the Kingfisher Group where he co-ordinated social and environmental policies for over 590 stores in 12 countries and worked extensively with supply chains across Asia.
  • Head of Sustainability at B&Q plc, the UK’s market leader in DIY and part of the Kingfisher Group. There he became best known for his work on sourcing sustainable timber and developing new techniques for supply chain management.
    Alan has served on the UK Sustainable Development Commission, authoring “I will if you will” and “You are what you sell”. He co-chaired the UK Government’s Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption which lead to introduction of the concept of choice editing. For six years he was chair of the Government’s Advisory Committee on Consumer Products and the Environment (ACCPE). This committee led to consumer products becoming a central element of DEFRA's policy. The committee's advice directly led to the energy label on cars and in the Homeseller's information pack.
    He has a degree in Geology from Southampton University and PhD from London University for his study of marine pollution in St Austell Bay, Cornwall.