OPEN Fellow – Ward Crawford


MA (Engineering) Cambridge University; MSc (Renewable Energy Systems) Ulster University; Chartered Engineer

Interests & Passions

I work on the basis that every business strategy should be a sustainable business strategy. I don’t see any point in simply developing and issuing separate ESG or SDG reports as an adjunct. Strategies that flow from a central statement of multi-dimensioned purpose are as real and relevant to established businesses as to new ones. While it is inspiring to see so many start-ups addressing social and environmental needs, it is no less relevant for an established business to take on an equally inspiring purpose. And those must recognise the equal value of all stakeholders, including a vital determination to increase shareholder value. And given the transformative role business must play into the future, I’m not comfortable at all with what I see as simplistic calls to shut down whole sectors of economic activity in short order. In summary, I’d quote the Japanese Edo period philosopher Ninomiya Sontoku, who wrote that ‘economy, which forgets moral education, is guilt. A morality that has forgotten the economy, is a lie.” I really couldn’t have expressed it better myself.


I originally trained as an Electrical Engineer, then spent 25 years running consumer goods businesses in the UK and Asia, spanning in size from the few tens of million dollars annual revenues up to well over a billion. And some of those businesses were, as we would now say, more sustainable than others. I’ve also been a teacher, leading modules on Marketing and also on Collaboration, Partnering and Negotiation on the One Planet MBA at Exeter University Business School. And now I’m developing my own business, helping mainly small and medium sized companies to navigate the often challenging journey of adopting sustainable business practices.

Why am I an OPEN fellow?

I am looking to support and enable a new generation of business leaders to achieve their ambitions to lead the changes that need to happen.

How can I help change agents?

Whether you work in an existing business, or want to start up your own, I’d love to help you think about all the dimensions of value you can grow, and how you can work with others more effectively to do that.

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