An inspirational campaigner
Richard Sandbrook was one of the leading campaigners for sustainable development of his generation. A founder of Friends of the Earth UK, Richard joined the International Institute for Environment and Development, eventually becoming its Executive Director. He was closely involved in the drafting of Our Common Future, the 1987 Brundtland Report which led to the concept of sustainable development entering the global discourse.
A respected environmentalist
Although a behind-the-scenes man, Richard did more than anyone to convince people and organisations that ‘environmental stewardship and sustained livelihoods are, in all subsistence economies (and many more) the two sides of the same coin – you cannot have one without the other’. He devoted his life to bringing people and organisations together in order to put that understanding into practice, in the UK and internationally. In 1990 he was awarded an OBE for services to the environment.
A builder of bridges
Richard was the first to convene a global industry – pulp and paper – with scientists, government and NGOs in order to understand its impact and suggest ways it could improve its practice. Based on cross-sector partnership and dialogue, he created a model of engagement that he, and others, would continue to use to good effect, effectively breaking the mould of traditional oppositional campaigning. His warm personality, engaging but without guile, helped seal many an improbable deal, though some in the NGO world were askance at his collaborations with business.
A role model for future generations
Richard put great store by developing the next generation of campaigners and although his early death in 2005 deprived them of a mentor, the legacy of his achievement is an ongoing inspiration and guide to action.