Hugh Knowles

Contact Number:
(0)20 7324 3603

User Profile



Find myself caught between getting excited about what is possible in the future and that gnawing worry about the present state of things. I am endlessly distracted by tracking developments in both of those areas. I am working on how we can support as many disruptive and entrepreneurial ideas as possible. The theory being that radical change rarely comes from those enjoying success in the current system so we need to look to the fringes and scale alternatives as quickly as possible.

The story so far…
I worked for WaterAid in Nepal before going to University and this experience combined with three mind-bending lectures from a great man called Dr Ulrich Leoning in 1996 had made me absolutely determined to work on sustainability. His 10 Principles of Ecology including ‘Nature bats last’ have stayed with me since. In 1997 I saw the Forum for the Future Masters programme. I applied. I failed. I did not even get invited to interview. After that I was absolutely determined I would end up working at Forum.

I would love to say that it was an easy journey but my jobs on the way included hosing chicken muck off pallets, putting together office chairs and a stint doing sales for an IT Consultancy. The sales job was the worst – easily.

I was rescued by The UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development who looked kindly on the combination of my degree (Zoology & Ecology) and IT experience and hired me to work on the sustainability impacts of technology. After spending way to much time in household recycling centres looking at old TVs I dreamt up a sculpture made of the waste one person throws away in a year. The WEEEman ( can now be seen at the Eden Project.

My dream project? Getting as many new sustainable business models and entrepreneurial ideas off the ground as quickly possible.

What floats my boat outside work? Really really good coffee, rock climbing, cycling and swimming in fresh water (preferably in that order).

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