We Mean Business Coalition appoints new ChairThe We Mean Business Coalition
Sir Ian Cheshire announced as chair of corporate climate action coalition We Mean Business
Sir Ian will bring strategic guidance, long experience as a CEO committed to bold climate action and an independent voice to the Coalition.
February 1, LONDON – Sir Ian Cheshire has been announced as the new chair of the We Mean Business Coalition, the global non-profit working with the world’s leading companies to scale up climate action and increase the ambition of government policies to halve global emissions by 2030.
Sir Ian is the former CEO of Kingfisher, the international home improvement company. Under his leadership, Kingfisher was one of the world’s first major businesses to commit to becoming Net Positive, seeking to replenish more timber and other resources than it consumed and remove more emissions from the atmosphere than it produced.
Sir Ian’s commitment to climate action has also seen him chair the UK Government’s Global Resource Initiative taskforce, to ensure the UK’s global commodity supply chain is sustainable and avoids deforestation and other environmental degradation. Thanks to the taskforce’s work, UK companies have a legal duty to declare where products in their supply chain originate. He also chairs the Food, Farming and Countryside Commission and has won a number of awards for his contributions to sustainable business, including the Fortune WEF award for leadership in the circular economy and Sustainable Business Leader of the Year. Sir Ian was knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to business, sustainability and the environment.
Having lived and worked in numerous countries across Asia, Africa and Europe, Sir Ian is currently the chair of Spire Healthcare Group; Menhaden Capital, and a non-executive director at BT. Between 2017 and 2020, he was the chair of Barclays Bank UK, and was previously the non-executive chair of Debenhams.
Sir Ian joins the We Mean Business Coalition at a crucial phase in its development, as it seeks to rapidly accelerate the number of companies delivering climate action consistent with halving emissions by 2030. Sir Ian has committed to work with CEO, María Mendiluce, Secretariat staff and coalition partners to provide strategic guidance, long experience as a CEO and a credible, independent voice on the global stage, to further the We Mean Business Coalition’s mission.
“I am honoured to take on this role chairing the preeminent global organisation working with business to act on climate – the greatest challenge of our generation. I know that business has a vital role to play in transforming economies and systems that will cut global emissions in half by 2030 and secure a long-term sustainable future. Since its inception, the Coalition has helped lead the global movement of businesses committing to bold climate ambition. Now we must deliver. As a former CEO, who dealt with these issues every day, I understand the challenges and the huge opportunities this moment presents. The We Mean Business Coalition, our partners and the thousands of businesses we work with are ready to act in ways that are fast, measurable and inclusive,” said Sir Ian Cheshire.
“As the We Mean Business Coalition enters the next phase of our journey, in this crucial decade of climate action, it is a privilege to have Sir Ian Cheshire as our chair. Ian has been working on sustainable business for decades and brings a depth of knowledge of the issues and of how you lead sustainable transformation in complex international businesses that will help drive the We Mean Business Coalition to even greater impact,” said Dr. Steve Howard, We Mean Business Coalition founding chair.
Welcoming Sir Ian’s appointment, the Coalition also paid tribute to the achievements of his predecessor, the We Mean Business Coalition’s founding chair, Steve Howard. During its first phase, the We Mean Business Coalition grew from an idea to a solid Secretariat with a $20 million annual budget, launched initiatives with its partners, such as the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) and RE100, and led more than 5,000 companies, from large multinationals to SMEs to set ambitious commitments and plans to address climate change. Dr. Howard, Chief Sustainability Officer at Temasek International, formerly CSO at IKEA and Founder and CEO of The Climate Group, will remain on the Coalition board in the role of “founding chair”.
The Coalition also paid tribute to Dr. Celine Herweijer, who has served as co-chair since 2018, for her contribution, service and leadership. Dr. Herweijer, Group Chief Sustainability Officer at HSBC, will remain on the Coalition board as vice-chair. She said: “I’m delighted to be working alongside Ian in this next chapter for the Coalition. Not only has We Mean Business grown in size and remit over recent years, but so has the scale and urgency of what we need to accomplish. Ian’s experience as a chief executive leading on transformation, and more recently in galvanising industry leaders on climate and nature action, will bring immense value to We Mean Business and our agenda.”
“The We Mean Business Coalition is hugely grateful for the leadership and vision provided by Steve since our foundation in 2015 and in recent years from Celine. Their contribution to our collective efforts to accelerate global business action to avert the climate crisis, cannot be underestimated,” said María Mendiluce, CEO, We Mean Business Coalition. “On behalf of everyone at the Secretariat I’d like to welcome Sir Ian, and look forward to the important work we will undertake together in the years ahead.”
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About We Mean Business Coalition
The We Mean Business Coalition works with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change. The Coalition is a group of seven non-profit organizations:
BSR, CDP, Ceres, Climate Group, Corporate Leaders Group Europe, The B Team, and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Together we catalyze business and policy to halve emissions by 2030 and accelerate an inclusive transition to a net-zero economy.
For more information: www.wemeanbusinesscoalition.org
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