Forum for the Future founder-director Jonathon Porritt steps down

Porritt co-founded the Forum in 1994 alongside Sara Parkin and the pair launched the organisation in earnest in 1996. Since then, it has grown into one of the world’s most recognisable sustainable business organisations, with offices in Europe, North America and Asia.

Porritt notably received a CBE in 2000 for services to environmental protection.

Over the past 27 years, Porritt has collaborated with a wide range of organisations, including governments and corporations, to encourage the adoption of systems thinking and futures thinking approaches for a more sustainable future.

Businesses currently working with Forum for the Future include Aviva, Bupa, Marks & Spencer, Reckitt, SC Johnson, Target, Unilever and the Walgreens Boots Alliance. The Forum also works with civil society organisations and philanthropic bodies such as the Walmart Foundation and People’s Postcode Lottery.

Beyond his work at the Forum, Porritt has also served as chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, and as a co-founder of the Prince of Wales’s Business and Sustainability Programme.

Porritt is also president of Population Matters, president of The Conservation Volunteers and a patron of Compassion in World Farming. He also served as Chancellor at Keele University between 2012 and 2022. In 2019, edie presented Porritt with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Forum for the Future has stated that Porritt is stepping down to dedicate more time to green policy campaigning, through the Green Party and some of the aforementioned organisations.

Porritt said: “The fact that the world today, unfortunately, is still in a wretched place is primarily down to an almost complete lack of political leadership throughout that time, and that’s a massive challenge we all need to confront.”

Forum for the Future’s chief executive Sally Uren has described Porritt as !a tireless advocate for sustainability, [whose] work has inspired countless individuals and organisations to take action”.

She added: “[his] willingness to ask tough questions and challenge shortfalls have been instrumental in ensuring difficult but critical conversations are had on where we need to focus going forwards. We look forward to building on his legacy as we strive for a just and regenerative future.”

A successor has not yet been announced. A special event in Porritt’s honour will be hosted in central London this evening (4 May).

editor’s note: edie and Forum for the Future recently formed a strategic partnership, so watch this space for more though leadership from the Forum’s team. 

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