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Obituary: David Middleton 1944 – 2020

18 June 2020
Reading Time: 2 mins

David Middleton FRSA. Founding chairman of UK branch of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

David Middleton was UKBCSD’s first and longest serving CEO, retiring in 2013. He was a man ahead of his time, ‘doing’ sustainability long before it became popular, respected or acknowledged as fundamentally important to our planet. We wish to share a resumé of his life with UKBCSD members, to ensure he is acknowledged by the sector he helped to create. Thank you, David. Your work continues.
- Jason Longhurst Chairman, UKBCSD


“David was a larger than life character full of passion and enthusiasm for making the world a more sustainable place, and proud to be a Brummie. He started his life in journalism, working for regional newspapers and radio, then turning to photo journalism in motor sport. It was during his time as a conference and events organiser that David had his ‘green epiphany’ conversion in 1988 while standing on a bridge in Pittsburgh looking down at a city decimated by the loss of the steel industry. Since then he devoted his not inconsiderable energies to promoting sustainable development to politicians, business and anyone who would listen.

David wanted everything he was involved in to be ‘doing’ not talking, and believed that it was the business community who actually do things and make things happen. In 1991 he helped launch, and later became CEO of, Midland Environmental Business Club, the leading Midlands business network focused on sustainable development. He was Secretary General of The Urban Renewal Foundation before adding the role of CEO of the UK Branch of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development in 2001. While at BCSD he expanded membership well beyond the oil and gas sector and championed UKBCSD, bringing it into the European fold.

David retired from UKBCSD and MEBC in 2013 to combine his two passions, sustainability and writing, to author four fast moving adventure stories which are a weave of fact and fiction. All stories, not surprisingly, have a sustainable development theme which could have world shattering consequences if not seriously accepted by politicians, business and the general public.

Throughout his career, David has been ably supported by his wife, Jennie, who was also his PA and secretariat – also trying in later years to control his workload to allow for his health issues.

David was justifiably proud of becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce in 2017 in recognition of his 25 years of green economy and sustainable development work. His enthusiasm for debate, drive for change and of course his novels will be sadly missed by all who were touched by his life.”