My public policy and not-for-profit work

Alan has had several public policy and not-for-profit roles and continues with some of them. A selection is:

DEFRA Sustainable Growing Media Task Force

Starting in 2011, chaired Defra’s Sustainable Growing Media Task Force, to bring consensus amongst retailers, producers and growers on the best roadmap to deliver DEFRA’s target to reduce peat use in horticulture and gardening. The initial report and findings “Towards Sustainable Growing Media” was published in June 2012. (


I was a commissioner of the Sustainable Development Commission from 2000 to 2009 and during this time I co-chaired the Roundtable for Sustainable Consumption and there we published I will if you will which led to Defra’s ongoing programme of product roadmapping projects. In addition I produced on behalf of the SDC Product Roadmapping and Sustainable Lifestyles.

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

I am a senior associate at the CISL and my work has ranged from presentations to workshops to advising on specific issues. I was involved in drafting the White Paper on Natural Resources.

Panellist for the Natural Environment White Paper

I was a member of the advisory panel which published ‘The Natural Choice’ in May 2011, the first White Paper on the natural environment in 20 years. The White Paper also acts on the recommendations of ‘Making Space for Nature’, a report into the state of England’s wildlife sites, led by Professor John Lawton and published in September 2010. (

Independent Panel on Forestry

I served on the Independent Panel on Forestry Policy in England, launched by DEFRA. I, along with other panel members and chair, the Right Reverend James Jones, have been advising DEFRA on the future direction of forestry and woodland policy in England and on the role of the Forestry Commission. The final report was published by DEFRA in July 2012. (


I chaired the Advisory Panel for Consumer Products and the Environment from1998 to 2005. While I was there, three publications led to the creation of government policy on eco-labelling: the car label and house label and ultimately the bedrock of the product forum recently launched by WRAP.

Forest Stewardship Council

Back in 1991 – one of seven founding directors of what was in 1993 to become the Forest Stewardship Council. This has grown to become the leading forest certification scheme. Served on the board between 2009 and 2012 and had a very close involvement in its formation.


The Global Association for Corporate Sustainability Officers was set up in 2010 by myself and others who believe that sustainability as a business driver has more relevance than CSR. We also believe that there is a need to create a safe space to share, develop and even codify the role of the sustainability professional. In March 2014 GACSO joined forces with the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment to widen the scope and power base of both organisations. See for more information.