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Craig Bennett has today been confirmed as Friends of the Earth’s new Chief Executive Officer.
Since 2010 Craig has led the Charity’s campaigns department as its Director of Policy and Campaigns. Under his campaign leadership, the organisation achieved a number of notable successes including ensuring the UK remains frack-free and securing a National Pollinator Strategy to reverse the decline of bees.
Prior to this role at Friends of the Earth, he was Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and Director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change from 2007 to 2010, where he built the Group into one of the most influential and progressive business voices in the international climate debate.
Craig replaces Andy Atkins, who steps down this summer as CEO after seven years in the role.
Craig Bennett said: “I first started campaigning with Friends of the Earth local groups as a young teenager, so it’s an incredible honour to have now been appointed Chief Executive of this remarkable organisation.
“For over 40 years, Friends of the Earth has been the one place where people can take practical and political action locally and as part of the world’s largest grassroots environmental network.
“Working together, we’ve won countless campaigns for fair and just solutions to environmental problems – however, with our amazing planet facing ever more serious threats there is an urgent need for us to step up our efforts, and broaden and strengthen our movement, to make lives better across the globe.”
Roger Clarke, Chair of Friends of the Earth’s Board, said “As one of the country's top environmental campaigners, we are very excited about Craig’s appointment.
“Craig has shown himself to be a visionary and inspirational leader and his commitment to Friends of the Earth and our objectives runs through him like a stick of rock.
“From dangerous climate change to the decline in nature, we have no doubt that he will help Friends of the Earth to raise its game to meet the major environmental challenges we face.”
Craig is currently on sabbatical undertaking a Policy Fellowship at the Centre for Science and Policy at the University of Cambridge and writing a book called Progress. He will start in his new role on 1 July 2015.
Notes to Editors
1. Craig began his campaigning career as an Endangered Species Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency, working on wildlife trade issues. He was also Head of the Corporates and Trade campaign at Friends of the Earth. During this time he successfully led the campaign for a legal requirement on UK companies to report on social and environmental impacts, represented the charity at the 2002 Johannesburg Earth Summit and ran high profile campaigns against some of the world’s largest companies.
Under Craig’s leadership of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group, they became one of the most influential and progressive business voices in support of a strong, effective and equitable global climate deal. The Copenhagen Communiqué, for example, secured the support of nearly 1000 companies from more than 50 countries and was widely seen as the definitive progressive statement from the international business community ahead of the UN climate conference in Copenhagen.
He maintains his links with the University of Cambridge, as Policy Fellow at the Centre for Science and Policy, a Senior Associate at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and an occasional contributor on Judge Business School Executive Education programmes. Craig is also an Educator with Duke Corporate Education – the world’s top rated provider of corporate education. From 2013-2015, he was Chair of the Board of Stakeholder Forum.
When Head of the Corporates and Trade Campaign at Friends of the Earth, Craig also sat on the Board of Friends of the Earth International, the Steering Group of the Corporate Responsibility (CORE) Coalition and was a Board Member of the Trade Justice Movement. He currently sits on the Board of Friends of the Earth Europe.
He has a BSc (Hons) in Human and Physical Geography and an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation and is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.
Craig has made frequent appearances as a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth on television, and has had many articles printed in national newspapers. He is also a regular columnist for BusinessGreen.
Craig lives in Cambridge with his wife, the collage artist Emma Bennett, and children William (10) and Molly (7).