Impact Economy Foundation Board

John Elkington

Board member


John Elkington (1949, United Kingdom) is a writer, thought-leader and business strategist, a serial entrepreneur and an environmentalist.

He is the Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Pollinator of Volans, a certified B Corporation (2008 to date). He is also Co-Founder, Honorary Chairman (for life), former Chairman (1995-2005), and Board member (1987-2014) of SustainAbility, a certified B Corporation.

John is a Visiting Professor at the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility at the Cranfield School of Management, as well as at Imperial College London and University College London (UCL).

He served as Co-Founder, Founding Editor and Managing Director of Environmental Data Services (ENDS, 1978-1983).

At the age of 11, in 1961, he raised money for the newly formed World Wildlife Fund (WWF), where he has for many years served on the Council of Ambassadors. He went on to dedicate his life to helping influence, inspire and stretch the thinking of business leaders through informed story-telling and delivering ‘constructive discomfort,’ all in service of sustainability’s triple bottom line and breakthrough innovation.

John is leading on uncovering new intelligence around innovative mindsets, disruptive technologies, and tomorrow’s business models as part of Project Breakthrough, in partnership with UN Global Compact. Intelligence from this work will also feed into a new report, Breakthrough Business Models, commissioned by the Business & Sustainable Development Commission.

John is the author or co-author of 19 books, and has written chapters or forewords for many others. His most recent book is The Breakthrough Challenge: 10 Ways to Connect Today’s Profits with Tomorrow’s Bottom Line (John Wiley & Sons, 2014), co-authored with Jochen Zeitz, former Chairman and CEO of PUMA and co-founder of The B Team, alongside Sir Richard Branson. 

He co-chairs the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Breakthrough Innovation Advisory Council, chairs the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Technology Consortium, and is a member of the Advisory Board of the Business & Sustainable Development Commission (BSDC). He is a member of the Board of the Social Stock Exchange (SSX), and chairs its Admissions Panel. He is also a member of the Boards of organizations like the Biomimicry Institute and The Ecological Sequestration Trust (TEST), and a member of Advisory Boards for organizations like 2degrees Network, Aviva’s Stewardship Committee, The B Team, Nestlé, Tesco and Zouk Capital.