In a significant appointment, WWF-UK has announced that Tesco CEO Dave Lewis will join the charity as Chair of the Board of Trustees.
With environmental issues increasingly important to people in the UK, and a series of crucial milestones on the climate and nature emergency over the next year, businesses and politicians must make the environment central to their decisions, especially as we come out of the pandemic and make choices about economic recovery. Mr Lewis’s long experience in business will be a strong asset to WWF-UK as it increases its influence to ensure that decisions made now will stand the test of time.
Mr Lewis will take over from Sir Andrew Cahn, who has been Chair since April 2014, in June.
Mr Lewis is due to leave Tesco in October 2020 after over six years, having extended his tenure to support the transition of the incoming CEO. Prior to this he worked at Unilever for almost 28 years in a variety of international roles including UK and Ireland Chairman, President for the Americas and Global President, Personal Care. He is also the Chairman of Champions 12.3, a coalition of leaders from government, business and civil society, dedicated to accelerating progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals target to halve global food waste by 2030.
The role of the food system in the climate and nature crisis is one of the most difficult but important to tackle, with deforestation and the destruction of nature principally driven by food production. This increases the risk of runaway climate change as well as destroying habitats and increasing the risk of new zoonotic diseases. Mr Lewis’s experience and leadership in the food sector will be a particular asset to WWF-UK in this aspect of its mission.
Dave Lewis said:
“I’m delighted to be joining WWF in its vital mission. We need to change the systems that are destroying our natural world and ensure that, as the world recovers from the pandemic, we are rebuilding in a way that protects nature and the climate. I know firsthand the particular challenge of making the food system truly sustainable, but these are challenges that we must and will tackle head on.”
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive of WWF said:
“This appointment could not be more timely. The devastating impact of the pandemic has underlined the need to focus on the climate and nature crisis, and in particular to make our food system more sustainable. Dave has made a huge impact at Tesco setting an ambitious plan to reduce their environmental impact and improve the sustainability of the average shopping basket, which we have done together. I am thrilled that he has agreed to join us as our Chair and look forward to his leadership in approaching these huge challenges with clear vision and real ambition.”
Sir Andrew Cahn said:
“WWF’s mission is critically important, and one I have been proud to take forward over the last six years. And the fight to reverse nature’s decline and tackle climate change is increasingly at the heart of government and business priorities, and crucially those of the public as a whole, both in the UK and across the world. So I’m very excited that Dave Lewis will succeed me as WWF’s UK Chair – he has the vision, track record and energy to drive forward our vital work in the coming years, and I wish him every success.”