We couldn’t finish this year’s awards without saying how delighted we are that our readers backed three inspirational, dedicated and visionary leaders, all of them women. Decided solely by our readers. In the end we had the founder and CEO of an award-winning renewable energy company, the CEO of an organisation campaigning for greater responsibility in investment and our ultimate winner was a campaigning Member of Parliament. Anyone who was nominated was awesome. We’re delighted we trusted the wisdom of the Blue & Green crowd. Here’s a reminder of why these three rose to the top.
Juliet Davenport OBE – Founder & CEO of Good Energy
Citation: For leading a company that makes it simple for people to switch to clean energy while providing clear leadership and commentary on developments in the renewable industry. The company she leads consistently comes top for customer service.
Juliet graduated from Merton College, Oxford in 1989, where she studied Atmospheric Physics and developed her interest in climate change.
She found it difficult to find a pure science career path related to climate change so took a Masters degree in Economics and Environmental Economics at Birkbeck, University of London, completed in 1994. Here she was able to gain business knowledge and an ability to put ideas into commercial practice.
Before entering the private sector, Juliet worked at the European Commission on European energy policy and later at the European parliament on carbon taxation. Buoyed by her experiences in Europe she came back to the UK and went to the Energy Committee to hear a debate on new energy technologies. What a disappointment. The UK was so far behind politically with no industry to speak of that was looking at a future for low carbon technology.
But while there wasn’t an industry in the UK, there were organisations here doing work abroad. In 1999 Juliet began working with environmental consultancy Energy for Sustainable Development (ESD, now Camco) as a consultant running technology models and analysing policies on renewable energy from countries around Europe. Her aim was to try and discover why they were further along the path to a low carbon economy than the UK.
The key seemed to be the politics, and little was changing. It was time to make a change of tack and see if going direct to the consumer and voter would make a difference…and so Good Energy was born.
Catherine Howarth – CEO of ShareAction
Citation: For the patient and painstaking, and often thankless, work on raising awareness and driving action for responsible ownership amongst institutional investors – the pension funds who are responsible for the vast majority of investment in the UK.
Catherine joined ShareAction in July 2008, having previously been the founder and lead organiser of West London Citizens. Earlier in her career she was Senior Researcher at the New Policy Institute. Catherine is a board member of Green Alliance and of the Scott Trust, owner of The Guardian, seving on the Scott Trust’s investment committee. She was a Member Nominated Trustee of The Pensions Trust (the multi-employer pension scheme for the UK’s not-for-profit sector) for five years until Spring 2013. She served for four years on The Pensions Trust’s Investment Committee.
Catherine holds a First Class BA in Modern History from Oxford University and an MSc in Industrial Relations from the London School of Economics. In June 2011 Catherine was named a ‘Rising Star of Corporate Governance’ by Yale University’s, Millstein Center. In 2013, Pensions Insight featured her as one of the 50 most influential people in pensions and in May 2011 Investment and Pensions Europe called her one of the ‘top ten women in pensions’. Catherine was recognised by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader in 2014.
Our winner: Caroline Lucas MP, Green Party of England & Wales
Citation: For campaigning on fracking, environmentalism, and being an exceptional constituency MP. She may be a party of one in Parliament, but has a more positive impact than much larger parties when it comes to sustainability.
Caroline Lucas is a British politician and member of the Green Party of England and Wales who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Brighton Pavilion since 2010 general election, when she became the UK’s first Green MP. She was re-elected in 2015 with an increased majority.
Born in Malvern in Worcestershire, Lucas graduated from the University of Exeter and the University of Kansas before earning a PhD from the University of Exeter in 1989. She joined the Green Party in 1986 and held various party roles, also serving on Oxfordshire County Council from 1993 to 1997. She was elected as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South East England in 1999 and re-elected in 2004 and 2009, also serving as the Party’s Female Principal Speaker from 2003 to 2006 and from 2007 to 2008.
Lucas was elected the first Leader of the Green Party in 2008 and was elected to represent the constituency of Brighton Pavilion in the 2010 general election. She stood down as Leader of the Green Party in 2012 to devote more time to her parliamentary duties and focus on an ultimately successful campaign to be re-elected.
She is known as a campaigner and writer on green economics, localisation, alternatives to globalisation, trade justice, animal welfare and food. In her time as a politician and activist, she has worked with NGOs and think-tanks, including the RSPCA, CND and Oxfam.
And finally, nominations for this year’s full Marbles will open on 1st February 2016.