This is a profile on Helen Clarkson, the CEO of The Climate Group.
Corporations are among the most difficult organizations to effect change. There are so many variables that affect their sales, products, and operations, that few are able to conceive of the appropriate route to sustainability. But to even get the opportunity to tackle these challenges, an innovator must first get their foot in the door, which has proven to be a significant hurdle all its own.
This is where activists and leaders like Helen Clarkson come in. Clarkson has a long history of tackling some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian and sustainability concerns. Today, she acts as CEO of The Climate Group, among other roles, and continues to work with big names in the industry to forge a path for sustainability in the future.
Having started her professional career in finances, Clarkson trained as a chartered accountant with Deloitte & Touche. She then moved onto her first role in the activist area through Médecins Sans Frontières, where she began working directly with developing nations. At Médecins Sans Frontières she went on various humanitarian missions providing aid to countries, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Clarkson also acted as Project Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, and Pakistan.
This experience undoubtedly shaped her approach to activism and effecting change in the real world. Clarkson has mentioned on several occasions the tense and difficult process of advocating for humanitarian resources in Pakistan in the wake of 9/11. It was these experiences in her early career where she honed her skills for navigating complex issues and challenges within governments, all while providing essential aid and negotiating difficult agreements.
Helen Clarkson has tackled some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian and sustainability concerns. Today, she acts as CEO of The Climate Group.
Clarkson soon put her skills to use in the corporate arena. She joined Forum for the Future as Deputy Director, leading and managing her own team while working with partners and offering strategic sustainability solutions. She focused on the public sector with projects for the National Health Service, Department for International Development, and Birmingham City Council.
Having gained this perspective and experience in the United Kingdom, she took the initiative to establish and lead a division in the United States. Clarkson began working with massive corporations in the United States, including Target, Walmart, Nike, Gap, and Levi Strauss & Co. In her new role as Director, she sought to tackle some of the biggest issues in sustainability, both within corporations and government, and saw much success for her efforts.
Clarkson spent over five years growing her US office. She adapted the global mission of the organization and localized it for the US, doing intense research and work with a variety of projects to develop strategies to overcome new challenges. During this period, she also teamed up with various big NGOs, such as The Forest Stewardship Council, The Rainforest Alliance, and The Rockefeller Foundation. Clarkson also poured all of her energy into collaborating and initiating important discussions, speaking and writing extensively on the subject of sustainability.
Although her earlier work was substantial, joining The Climate Group in 2017 has been a milestone in her career. Clarkson acts as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of this international organization, working with business leaders and governments around the world to combat climate change. Her approach to solving these issues centers on collaboration. She takes complex problems head-on, facilitating solutions through strategies that incorporate experts from different fields. Her work has brought about real change in big name businesses and large governments alike, promoting sustainability and a strategic navigation of real-world problems.
In addition to her work with The Climate Group, Clarkson has continued her work elsewhere as well. She is on the Mission Council for Pukka Herbs, the board of the We Mean Business Coalition, the advisory board for the Global Climate Action Summit, and chair of the Finance and Audit Committee for the Sustainable Development Capital Energy Efficiency Income Trust. She was also an attendee in the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
These initiatives all exhibit her commitment and dedication to sustainability, which is reflected in her long career in the industry as well. Her activism has helped shape the world of sustainability as we know it, and she continues to help the movement forward.
-Experience, and an understanding of the strategies used within the industry, are the most powerful tools at your disposal.
-True change can only be achieved by working with both businesses and governments.
-Facilitating collaboration expedites your efforts in sustainability.
Get the best content and best stories
in your inbox every day!