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Esmée Fairbairn Lecture: Sustainable Business: Useful or Dangerously Misleading Oxymoron

11/14/2003 14:50:03

John Elkington, Chairman of SustainAbility delivered the Esmée Fairbairn Lecture in the Biology Lecture Theatre on Thursday 20 November 2003.

A co-founder of SustainAbility ( in 1987, John Elkington has worked in the field for 30 years and is one of the world’s leading authorities on business strategy for sustainable development. He has spoken at several hundred conferences throughout the world, including the 2002 and 2003 World Economic Forum events in New York and Davos and in 1989, he was elected to the UN Global 500 Roll of Honour for his ‘outstanding environmental achievements’.

Since 1974 John has undertaken consultancy work for a wide range of national and international government and non-governmental agencies, including Greenpeace International, IFC, IIED, OECD, UNEP, USAID, WRI and WWF. He has also worked for corporate clients such as Anglian Water, BAA, BP, BP Chemicals, British Airways, British Telecom, Cargill Dow, Dow Europe, Ford Motor Company, ICI Group and ICI Polyurethanes, IBM, Manweb, Monsanto, Nike, Norsk Hydro, Novo Nordisk, Procter & Gamble, Scottish Power, Shell, Sita, Toyota, Unilever and Volvo Car Corporation.

In addition to his Chair for SustainAbility John is also Chair of The Environment Foundation (; Chair of the Environmental and Social Committee of the Association for Chartered and Certified Accountants (ACCA); member of the board of trustees of the Business & Human Rights Resource centre; and a member of the Advisory Board of an ING sustainability investment fund.

As the author or co-author of 16 books and some 40 published reports, John's books include the No.1 best-selling Green Consumer Guide. His book Cannibals With Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business (Capstone Publishing, 1997) was a finalist in the 'Global Business Book of the Year Award’. His latest book is entitled: The Chrysalis Economy: How Citizen CEOs and Corporations Can Fuse Values and Value Creation (Capstone/John Wiley 2001), and his latest co-authored report is The 21st Century NGO: In the market for Change (2003).