Richard Howitt - Biography
Global Leader in Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability for over 20 years
• European Parliament Rapporteur on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in a distinguished 22-year political career
• Lead role proposing and negotiating the EU’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive, described as the world’s foremost legislation on corporate transparency.
• Three years as Chief Executive Officer of the worldwide business coalition driving reform of corporate reporting to embrace inclusive and sustainable development.
• Established the global project to implement recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure through alignment of sustainability reporting frameworks
• Advisor to the UN Global Compact, member of the European Commission SDG Platform, and the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights Reporting Framework Eminent Persons’ Group
• Sage Top 100 Global Business Influencer; Thomson Reuters ‘Top 30’ influencer in Risk, Compliance and Regtech.
• Member of the B20 international business leaders’ group and its Climate and Resource Efficiency Task Force.
• Accomplished leader with a reputation as a strategic thinker and outstanding communicator.
Strategic Advisor, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Business and Human Rights
Some of my current/recent projects are:
• Senior Associate at the international law firm, Frank Bold, advising on the ‘Alliance for Corporate Transparency’ survey of sustainability reporting by 1000 European companies, and working with companies on recommendations for reform of the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive.
• Assessor for the PwC ‘Building Public Trust’ awards, undertaking detailed assessment of company reports in the fields of corporate governance, sustainability, strategic reporting, cyber security, remuneration, in the Financial Services and in Tax reporting.
• leading the ‘Task Force for Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD) Investor Keynote at the European Sustainability Reporting Summit and at the Sustainability Leaders’ Forum.
• lecturing on Business and Human Rights at the Hult International Business School, and on Corporate Social Responsibility at the Institute for Social Responsibility, Liverpool Edge Hill University, and the Centre for Business, Organisations and Society at the University of Bath.
• member of the Advisory Group of the European Parliament Working Group on Responsible Business Conduct
• member of the Stakeholder Advisory Council of the ‘amfori’ business association
• co-lead training on ‘Improving performance through measurement of relationships’ for the Relationships Foundation
• drawing up and overseeing implementation of a European strategy for an international development charity specialising in Latin America
• project to build a digital archive of the 100+ reports on local economic strategy
• support for a social enterprise in the field of disability rights
2016 - 2019
Chief Executive Officer, International Integrated Reporting Council, (IIRC)
Leading a diverse international coalition, involving extensive international representation and speaking, managing a multi-disciplinary team of 31 staff to achieve results in key markets and institutions, and acting as a high-level adviser to global institutions in relation to restoring trust, tackling Climate Change and advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals
• Delivery of a new global strategic phase, achieving growth from 1,000 to 1,600 companies in 71 countries over the past three years.
• Introduced strategy to focus upon 4 key markets – US, Germany, China, ASEAN - leading to a substantial increase in awareness, endorsements and uptake
• Successfully fundraised for US$1.5m to undertake the Corporate Reporting Dialogue ‘Better Alignment Project’
• Gained the support of 295 institutional investors to long-term value creation for their investment in companies, in accordance with IIRC reporting guidelines
• Oversaw the creation of a U.S. practitioner network – 28 major companies including Intel, Southwest Airlines, Dow Chemicals, General Electric, Pfizer
• Recruited the Chinese Ministry of Finance and included in their 5-year plan
• Gained the support of the Indian Securities Commission resulting in uptake by their top 500 listed companies
• Partnership with the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to promote business reporting to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals
• Achieved references in 16 corporate governance codes internationally
• Consultant to World Economic Forum ‘Building an effective ecosystem for ESG’ project and advisor helping produce the Coalition for Inclusive Capitalism ‘Long-term value creation’ framework.
1994 - 2006
Member of the European Parliament (MEP)
Senior European politician serving as Rapporteur on Corporate Social Responsibility throughout my mandate. President, Disability Rights Group of MEPs. Senior experience in international relations. A track record of grassroots campaigning and representation, successful in being elected four successive times
• Key architect of the European Union’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive
• Established and served on the EU Multi-Stakeholder Forum on CSR
• Represented Europe in the development and agreement of the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, (2005-2011); and appointed by the OECD to advise on the update of the Guidelines on Multinational Enterprise (2011)
• Author of parliamentary reports including on Social, Environmental and Human Rights Standards in International Trade Agreements; the EU’s Position for the UN World Summit on Social Development; and on the private sector and international development
• Participated on behalf of the European Parliament at the Rio +20 UN Summit for Sustainable Development, and at the Paris Climate Change Agreement
• Honorary Ambassador to HRH Prince of Wales’ Accounting for Sustainability Project
1986 - 1994
Disability Resource Centre and Service Manager, London Borough of Waltham Forest
CEO and Company Secretary role for a public-private partnership providing training, information and transport services for and by people with disabilities. Managed transition from old style occupational work to an integrated, supported employment model. Awarded ‘Local Model Activity’ under the EU Helios Programme.
1983 - 1994
Elected councillor, Harlow Council (Council Leader 1992 - 1994)
Chaired regional association of councils developing local economic development strategies and served three years as Council Leader. Responsible for negotiations for new town extension, with guaranteed social housing.
Volunteer Bureau Organiser, Harlow Council for Voluntary Service
Recruited, trained and supported volunteers in local community action. Researched and helped establish a community Trust for local business philanthropy. Trained counsellor.
Trustee / Non Executive Director Positions
Director – LMH Settlement; Trustee – Sewell Harris Memorial Trust; Vice-President – RSPCA; School Governor.
Education and Qualifications
BA Hon (Oxon) Politics, Philosophy and Economics, University of Oxford
Diploma in Management Studies, University of Hertfordshire
Leading Businesses in to the Future programme, London Business School