New commissioners to head up London Sustainable Development Commission

04 December 2017

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has appointed ten new commissioners to the London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC) following a formal recruitment process.


The new commissioners will serve alongside the newly appointed Chair, Dr Ashok Sinha, and existing commissioners, to help the city meet the challenges of a rapidly growing population, rising inequality and mitigating climate change.


The LSDC was established in 2002 to advise the Mayor of London on sustainability issues including ways to improve and protect Londoners' quality of life, now and in the future.


The new commissioners are:

  • Maria Adebowale-Schwarte – Founding Director of the Living Space Project
  • Syed Ahmed – Director of Energy for London 
  • Sarah Chare – Director of Operations at the Environment Agency, South & East  
  • Anna Coote – Principal Fellow at the New Economics Foundation
  • David Elliott - Chief Executive of Trees for Cities
  • Samantha Heath – Chief Executive of the London Sustainability Exchange
  • Julie Hirigoyen – Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council
  • Nick Mabey - Chief Executive of E3G 
  • Malini Mehra - Chief Executive of GLOBE International
  • Dimitri Zenghelis – Principal Research Fellow at the LSE's Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment


The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan welcomed the new commissioners to the LSDC, saying: “We’ve selected the very best from across London’s diverse sustainability sector to join the new-look commission and help ensure that our world-class city is a sustainable one: now and in the future.


“These ten new appointments will join the eight existing commissioners in bringing a wealth and diversity of experience to this important advisory body. I look forward to working with them, and the new Chair Dr Ashok Sinha, to meet the challenges posed by a rapidly growing population, social inequality, climate change and the need for London to shift to a low-carbon economy.


“I would also like to thank our outgoing commissioners for all their hard work and dedication over the last few years.”


The Chair of the LSDC, Dr Ashok Sinha, said: “Solving London’s big sustainability challenges requires utilising London’s wealth of talents and ideas; the new-look commission provides access to these.  I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners – themselves respected leaders drawn from the city’s economic, social, environmental and governance sectors – to provide the Mayor with imaginative and workable solutions to create a more equitable city that lives within its environmental means, now and in the future.”   


The new-look commission will focus on promoting good economic growth, improving the quality of life for all Londoners while respecting the environment and promoting social cohesion and inclusion.


The commission will strive to ensure sustainability is at the core of policies and strategies impacting on London, and will help make sustainability a meaningful concept for Londoners.


For more information on the London Sustainable Development Commission please visit their website ( or follow on Twitter @LondonSDC.

Notes to editors

  • The new commissioners bring the LSDC to its full contingent of 18: made up of equal numbers of highly-talented women and men from across London’s diverse sustainability sector.
  • 50 per cent of the commission are women, an increase from 29 per cent in the previous commission.
  • 28 per cent of the commission are BAME, an increase from 6 per cent in the previous commission.
  • The new commissioners’ biographies are below.  Further details, along with the biographies of existing commissioners, can be seen on the LSDC’s website.


Maria Adebowale-Schwarte

Maria is the Founding Director of Living Space Project (formerly Capacity Global), which specialises in urban place making green spaces, inclusive collaborative participation, research and policy development. She is currently an advisor, patron or trustee of a number of environment, heritage and place shaping boards and organisations. And she was a former Commissioner on the UK Sustainable Development Commission as well as the English Heritage Commission.


Syed Ahmed

Syed has spent close to 20 years working in the sustainable energy industry, in a wide variety of roles and organisations ranging from Friends of the Earth, the Combined Heat and Power Association, the Greater London Authority, Arup, and as a director of a trade association working in the insulation sector. Syed established Energy for London (, an independent think tank supporting London’s progress to becoming a low-carbon city. In 2014, he was seconded into the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) undertaking a review of linkages across the Government’s demand side policies. He is also a Director of the Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group (PRASEG), a Trustee for national fuel poverty organisation National Energy Action (NEA), and a policy advisor to the Green Gas Certification Scheme. In 2015, he produced a report on the opportunities for green infrastructure investment in cities for the Green Investment Bank.


Sarah Chare

Sarah is Director of Operations for the Environment Agency South East. After graduating from Kings College London, Sarah joined the National Rivers Authority (NRA), the predecessor organisation to the Environment Agency, in the mid-nineties, and has worked in a number of sectors in the organisation since. Her early career was primarily in Fisheries. Over the past 10 years Sarah has held a variety of roles, heading the National Enforcement Service, and then supporting the Operations Executive as Head of Operations. More recently she was the Deputy Director for Agriculture, Fisheries and Biodiversity, before taking up her current role as Director of Operations for the South East of England. Sarah’s operational responsibility for the Environment Agency’s activity in the South East includes responsibility for issues such as water resources, flood risk management, waste management and sustainable development. She also holds a national portfolio for Water, Land and Biodiversity.


Anna Coote

Anna is a Principle Fellow at NEF - the New Economics Foundation. She was Commissioner for Health with the UK Sustainable Development Commission (2000-9). In this role and as director of health policy at the King’s Fund, she produced ground breaking work on health and sustainability, starting with Claiming the Health Dividend (Kings Fund 2002), which showed how the NHS could promote sustainability and better health for all. At the New Economics Foundation, she has specialised in identifying the connections between social justice, sustainable development and new economics, and in developing policies that have positive social and environment impacts.


David Elliott

David is Chief Executive of Trees for Cities, a charity that operates nationally and internationally and delivers projects in many corners of London. He has led programmes in the non-profit sector for over a decade for several international development organisations, originally running landmine clearance and post-conflict recovery programmes across Africa and Asia.  Prior to this he was a management consultant for Accenture. He is an Adviser for the Forestry Commission's Forest and Woodlands Advisory Committee for London. He has been a trustee of the International Tree Foundation and the African Conservation Foundation. He holds a BSc in Biological Sciences from Edinburgh University, a BSc in Politics and International Relations from LSE, and an MBA from Judge Business School, University of Cambridge.


Samantha Heath

Samantha is the CEO of London Sustainability Exchange (LSx); a ‘think and do’ charity which celebrates community-led collaborations that address the complex barriers to a sustainable London. Her experience includes ten years in London politics, eight years in academia and research and ten years in civil engineering. This includes a period at the Greater London Authority as an Assembly Member (serving as its Deputy Chair in 2003-04). During this time, she was the Mayor’s representative on the Energy Taskforce, responsible for setting a carbon emission reduction target for London, and lead member for the Mayor on London Waste Action, for which she facilitated funding for London’s waste awareness. Samantha has written for various publications and speaks at conferences and seminars on waste, air quality, energy and other issues. She sits on the NICE panels for outdoor and indoor pollution..


Julie Hirigoyen

Julie was appointed Chief Executive of the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) in April 2015. Julie was previously UK Head of Sustainability and an International Director at JLL, having come into JLL as a result of an acquisition. JLL acquired Upstream, a leading sustainability consultancy which Julie was co-founder and Joint MD of, in 2007. Having led the Upstream team through the integration into JLL, Julie oversaw further development of cutting-edge sustainability services to property investors and occupiers across the UK and EMEA. Julie sits on the Green Construction Board, the Igloo Sustainable Investment Advisory Committee, the ULI UK Sustainability Council Steering Committee and the Carbon Trust Advisory Panel. She also chaired the British Property Federation’s Sustainability Committee for two years.


Nick Mabey

Nick Mabey is Chief Executive and a founder director of E3G (Third Generation Environmentalism), a non-profit European organisation dedicated to accelerating the transition to sustainable development. In addition to his management role, Nick leads E3G’s work on European climate change policy, climate diplomacy and foreign policy, and the security implications of climate change and resource scarcity. Nick was previously a senior advisor in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit leading work on national and international policy areas, including: energy, climate change, countries at risk of instability, organised crime and fisheries. Nick was employed in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Environment Policy Department, and was the FCO lead for the Johannesburg Summit in 2002 where he established international partnerships on clean energy, tourism and environmental democracy. Before he joined government, Nick was Head of Economics and Development at WWF-UK.


Malini Mehra

Malini is chief executive of GLOBE International, the world's leading cross-party parliamentary organisation dedicated to sustainable development. She brings more than two decades of international expertise advancing sustainability within government, business, civil society and the United Nations. From 2000-2013, she founded and led the award-winning Indian NGO, Centre for Social Markets, an early pioneer of CSR, sustainability and climate leadership in India. Malini is an author of the UN’s Human Development Reports, and has written widely on gender, human rights and sustainable development, including a handbook on Sustainable Development for Local Authorities. A political scientist and gender specialist by training, Malini has degrees from Smith College (USA) and Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and speaks six languages. Her honours include Asian Woman of the Year 2013, Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, and CNN Principal Voice. 


Dimitri Zenghelis

Dimitri joined the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment in 2013. Dimitri was previously acting Chief Economist for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and recently an Associate Fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House. He was Senior Economic Advisor to Cisco's long-term innovation group and headed the Stern Review Team at the Office of Climate Change, London, and was a senior economist on the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change. He has worked with a wide range of organisations involved in the economics of climate change and the environment including the World Bank, UNEP, the UNFCCC, the World Resource Institute, Green Alliance, the Global Green Growth Institute and a host of regional development banks. Dimitri was Head of Economic Forecasting at HM Treasury and also Head of the EMU Analysis Branch. This informed and administered any future assessment of the Five Economic Tests reviewing progress of the single currency in the euro area.

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