Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland Foods, has been appointed as Chair of the Board of Trustees by Surfers Against Sewage (SAS), the national marine conservation and campaigning charity that inspires, unites and empowers communities to take action to protest oceans, beaches and wildlife.
The appointment follows three years of collaborative environmental campaign work between SAS and the Iceland Foods Charitable Foundation. Together they founded the Plastic Free Awards, which celebrate the heroes of the plastic pollution movement, and their partnership has already supported beach cleans across the UK.
Hugo Tagholm, CEO of Surfers Against Sewage, said: “There is huge momentum to be gained from activists and businesses talking to each other. It creates pragmatic opportunities to reach consumers and to shape policy by understanding what is possible and presenting workable solutions to government. Therefore, we are delighted to welcome Richard Walker to SAS as Chair of the Board of Trustees and welcome his passion and drive for change. Positive, disruptive leadership is now the only way forward and in collaborating, we create a unique opportunity to drive the change we all want to see, with one voice.”
If the existing ambitions of the 2030 climate and energy framework are to be met, both Tagholm and Walker share the view that corporates and charities urgently need to implement practices of change in a post-Covid world.
Walker said: “What makes SAS so special to me is the absolute authenticity of the charity as the voice of the ocean – bringing together people whose commitment to environmental protection for the planet’s waters is rooted in their enjoyment of surfing and the understanding of the sea that brings. As a keen surfer who has a deep-rooted love of the ocean, I am honoured and delighted to have been invited to take on the role and thank the outgoing Chair, Alex Wade, for the great work he has done over the last three years.
“Becoming a charity trustee is a great way for business leaders show commitment to prevent the further unravelling of the world we treasure. I would especially encourage younger leaders to consider how they can drive real change in this way.”
As Chair, Walker aims to push forward and publicise the work of SAS, including increasing beach, river and street cleans, lobbying to ensure there are more marine protected areas, campaigning for rewilding of oceans to create healthy and vibrant ecosystems and hosting the second, UK Plastic Free Awards.
Iceland’s commitment to remove plastic packaging from its own label range in its entirety by the end of 2023, has been acknowledged by environmentalists as the tipping point for corporate action on plastic pollution.