25 November 2020 – International sustainability non-profit Forum for the Future has announced that Rita Clifton CBE will join the organisation as Chair of the Board of Trustees.

The global climate and biodiversity crises – coupled with the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our economy and society - means that the need to fundamentally change the way we live and work has dramatically intensified in 2020.

Ms Clifton’s extensive experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors as well as her long-standing commitment to sustainability will add huge value to Forum as it looks to engage business, civil society, investors, government and philanthropic organisations across multiple markets to find systemic solutions to systemic challenges – particularly economic crisis and reform, climate breakdown and growing inequality.

Ms Clifton will officially begin her new role on 1 December, taking over from Keith Clarke, who has been Forum’s Chair since July 2012.

Over the last eight years, Mr. Clarke has overseen Forum’s ongoing internationalisation, with growth in offices located in the US, Singapore and India; the strategic development of new areas of work focused on key global challenges - including climate and energy, sustainable food systems and sustainable value chains; and the significant growth in Forum’s School of System Change.

Ms Clifton has held a range of board roles in the green and sustainability sector, including as Trustee and Fellow of WWF, as a member of the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission, as Trustee of Green Alliance and as Chair of The Conservation Volunteers. Her private sector experience has included the boards of Nationwide Building Society, Bupa, ASOS, Ascential plc, and as non-executive chair of Populus, the market research and insights group. Her earlier career was as London CEO and then Chair at global brand strategy consultancy, Interbrand, over a 15-year period.

Ms Clifton’s initial focus will be on working with Forum’s Board and management team to help develop the non-profit’s strategic direction across its key markets, and building relationships within the organisation and with its key partners and stakeholders. She will also draw on her strategic communications expertise to help hone the charity’s messaging and external engagement.

Rita Clifton said: “I have been a huge admirer of Forum for the Future for some time, and it is a privilege to take up the Chair role at such an important moment for sustainability. Organisations across all sectors are learning that they can change their behaviour fast when it is needed, and business is reflecting on new ways that it can use its global reach to drive transformative change. If we can learn lessons from this period of revolutionary change, generations to come will thank us. Forum’s expertise in systems change and futures - which has been highlighted so meaningfully in their latest Future of Sustainability report: From System Shock to System Change - will be critical in this time. I am very much looking forward to working with the Board and the management team.”

Dr Sally Uren, Forum for the Future’s Chief Executive, said: “The world faces daunting challenges, from the climate and biodiversity crises to how we ensure COVID-19 resets the way we live and work to put us firmly on a transformative track to a more sustainable future. The next six to 18 months will be vital if we are to emerge stronger and now more than ever we need urgent and decisive action from key players in our society and economy. Rita brings incredible experience in working across multiple sectors, industries and issues, as well as strong skills in using brand and communications to engage multiple audiences across multiple markets. These will be huge assets to Forum.”

Keith Clarke said: “As the world continues to navigate COVID-19, Forum’s mission has never been more relevant. Over the last 10 years, the organisation has gone from strength to strength – from expanding internationally and into new areas of work to further developing our unique ability to combine futures and systems approaches to drive transformational change. Forum is now well positioned to create real impact at a critical moment for the sustainability movement. Of course there is so much more to do and Rita joins us at a time of intense challenge – but also opportunity. I wish her every success in taking up the reins.”

Today’s announcement follows the appointment of six new Trustees in 2019: Charlotte Ersbøll, Noa Gafni, Heather Grady, Laura McGonigal, Jonny Wates and Andrew Winston. Long-standing Board members Anita Tiessen, Fiona Thompson and Volker Beckers continue to stand, while Jonathon Porritt and Kelvyn Derrick stepped down as Forum Trustees earlier this year.


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Full Trustee biographies

Full Trustee biographies and quotes are available on the Forum website.

About Forum for the Future

Forum for the Future is a leading international sustainability non-profit with offices in London, New York, Singapore and Mumbai. We specialize in addressing critical global challenges by catalysing change in key systems. For almost 25 years, we’ve been working in partnership with business, governments and civil society to accelerate the shift toward a sustainable future. Together we are reinventing the way the world works.

Download our latest report: The Future of Sustainability: From system shock to system change

Find out more at www.forumforthefuture.org or by following @Forum4theFuture on Twitter.