John Elkington

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John Elkington

"Co-founder of SustainAbility ( in 1987 (Chair from 1995 -2005), and Founding Partner & Director of Volans Ventures, John Elkington is a world authority on corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. In 2004, BusinessWeek described him as 'a dean of the corporate responsibility movement for three decades.' Established in 1987, SustainAbility advises clients on the risks and opportunities associated with corporate responsibility and sustainable development. Working at the interface between market forces and societal expectations, SustainAbility seeks solutions to social and environmental challenges that deliver long term value. With offices in London, Zurich, New York and Washington DC, and team members representing more than ten nationalities, SustainAbility works with leading companies, NGOs and influencers around the world. Clients include ABN Amro, BP, Coca-Cola, Ford, Microsoft, Nestlé, [Nike]], Norwich Union, Shell, Swiss Re, Unilever and Wal-Mart. A global network of experts and partners helps SustainAbility to track emerging agendas, evaluate the market implications and engage business and its main stakeholders worldwide.

"Volans Ventures, launched in April 2008 aims to find, explore, advise on and build innovative scalable solutions to the great global divides that overshadow the future. Volans is carrying forward John's work with The Skoll Foundation ( on a $1 million, 3-year field-building programme in relation to social entrepreneurship.

"Directly linked to this work, John's latest book is on entrepreneurial solutions – particularly on the work of leading social and environmental entrepreneurs. Co-authored with Pamela Hartigan, at the time the Managing Director of The Schwab Foundation ( and now a Founding Partner of Volans Ventures, The Power of Unreasonable People: How Social Entrepreneurs Create Markets That Change the World, was published by Harvard Business School Press on 5 February 2008.

"Over time, John has authored or co-authored 17 books, including 1988's million-selling Green Consumer Guide and Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business (1997), has written hundreds of articles for newspapers, magazines and journal – and has written or co-written some 40 published reports.

"In terms of other hats, John is a Faculty member of the World Economic Forum (2002-ongoing) and a Visiting Professor at the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at the Cranfield University School of Management. He chairs The Environment Foundation and the Aflatoun Impact and Policy Analysis Steering Group. He is a member of advisory boards for, among others: 2degrees; the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes; EcoVadis; Gaia Energy;; Instituto Ethos; Physic Ventures, LP; and a Cleantech Fund developed by Zouk Ventures. Among other roles, he is Senior Advisor to the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre; a member of the WWF Council of Ambassadors; and a member of the International Judging Panel for the DHL YES Awards, Asia; the Evian Group Brain Trust; the Global Leaders Academy; the Tomorrow's Global Company Inquiry Team; the Cambridge Research Advisory Group for the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry (CPI); and the United Nations Global Compact Cities Programme (UNGCCP) International Advisory Council." [1]

John Elkington recalls "In the mid-1970s I was part of a Friends of the Earth-hosted initiative called Planners Against Growth —which sucked me a little deeper into the organization. But when I co-founded Environmental Data Services (ENDS) in 1978 with WWF co-founder Max Nicholson, he was anti both Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, seeing them as “unscientific.” I pointed him in the direction of FoE affiliate Earth Resources Research (ERR). Max was in his mid-70s, and his generation of Conservationists tended to be pro-hunting, pro-shooting, pro-Establishment, whereas the new generation of Environmentalists were anti pretty much all of the above. Over time, we helped change Max’s worldview, but not that of some of his generation." His daughter is called Gaia. [2]


Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. John Elkington, , accessed April 25, 2009.
  2. John Elkington [ Friends of the Earth is 40], organizational web page, accessed January 10, 2013.
  3. Ecological Sequestration Trust Trustees, organizational web page, accessed February 29, 2012.
  4. Council of Ambassadors, WWF-UK, accessed April 25, 2009.
  5. One Earth Innovation About, organizational web page, accessed June 19, 2012.
  6. Prince of Wales's Business & Sustainability Programme Faulty, organizational web page, accessed September 30, 2012.
  7. Environmental Law Foundation Patrons & Advisory Council, organizational web page, accessed January 1, 2013.
  8. Impetus Trust Advisory Council, organizational web page, accessed October 13, 2012.
  9. Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility PEople, organizational web page, accessed June 20, 2013.