chartered environmentalist dave hampton

What do you really, really, really want to be?

Described as “a fossil-free version of troubleshooter Sir John Harvey-Jones” Chartered Environmentalist Dave Hampton is now External Relations Manager for Society for the Environment…

I can’t think of anyone better for the job… his passion for neutralising carbon is infectious… if your family are looking forward to a foreign holiday this year, you’d best postpone your meeting with Dave until after! Or you’ll be cancelling & there will be tears.

He wrote this piece a couple of years ago & it was publish in Sustain Magazine last July… enjoy…

How the Chartered Environmentalist came of age – in 2012

by Dave Hampton – the carbon coach – and Chartered Environmentalist

Lately people who know me well have been asking:- “Dave. What’s with this Chartered Environmentalist ‘CEnv’ malarkey mate? You seem a bit OECD* about it lately?”

*That’s like OCD, but with added E for Eco?

It’s true; it does seem to be positively grabbing my inner psyche; I do seem to be emotionally investing and personally identifying with the evolution of the ‘CEnv’ as a force for good in global society. And I happen to believe it’s healthy, helpful, healing and wholesome. Which is good news. Exciting even!

Slow steady cooperative evolution?

I’ve been a member of the Board of The Society for the Environment, (the registration authority for the CEnv qualification) for almost a decade. Likewise I’ve quietly been a Chartered Environmentalist myself, for seven years or more.  So maybe I’ve been slow to “get it”?  And also, maybe it’s all been shaping up very nicely, steadily, from within.

I believe the Chartered Environmentalist is a force for good in society: standing for professional, grown up, integrated environmentalism, worldwide, starting at home, and in UK.

2012 was the year the Chartered Environmentalist tipped… forward:

We got a new CEO, a new Chair, and in Tony Juniper a fab new President (our first). We’ve got the A-team!  A triple A-rated, self-coherent and motivated leadership team. A bit like three buses coming along… but all coupled together… all joined up.

This leadership team being the icing on top of a cake, one that has been painstakingly baking for a decade, with much hard work, dedication, prescience, planning, mixing and leadership ingredients from within: i.e. dozens more ‘A-team’ people – involved from day one.

At the beating heart of it all, I suspect, is the vital word “integration”. Tony Juniper also points to this:

Environmentalists have come of age –

We are integrating:

– our aspirations with reality;

– our activism with strategy;

– our words with our deeds;

– and our desire for urgent change with some cohesion and solidarity.

We are being the change we wish to see, starting internally.  Like charity, environmentalism starts at home.

So what has changed?

Nothing. And everything. For instance, instead of the ‘CEnv’ slipping off the end of a long list of letters after my name, I now use it all the time. Of all my ‘post nominals’ it is now first and foremost, and sometimes stands alone.

It’s almost like a CBE to me! 

And I spell it out too, the full version.  “Cee enve” sounds awful and says nothing.  My elevator pitch, even at parties is:

“Hi, I’m Dave Hampton, Chartered Environmentalist, and I’m very pleased to meet you.”

Yes, sure I get “looks”.  That’s the point!

And we are legion: 7,000 of us already, and surely hitting 10,000 soon.

Don’t get me wrong.  Chartered Environmentalists won’t ever “sing from the same hymn sheet” – that would be dull – and unhealthy – but we will probably be humming the same background tune.  You know, the one that resonates eternally with Nature… that sweet slow sustainability song.

A couple of years ago I was asked to talk about my solar panels on the BBC Today program. I asked if they would be willing to introduce me as “David Hampton, Chartered Environmentalist”  – rather than as “the carbon coach”.

So at 7:30am, over her cornflakes, the woman on the Clapham subway (c.f. the man on omnibus)heard the message, loud and clear:-

“Hmm; it’s another of those blooming ‘environmentalist’ types; but wait; they said he was “Chartered”?… that sounds a bit different; interesting? If he is Chartered maybe he knows his onions?
Might even pay me to listen up?”

When the BBC starts to make ‘environmentalists’ sound good, or at least normal and healthy, then the world really has moved on!

Some of the greatest inventions in the world are also the simplest and the most obvious with hindsight. I think we may have just witnessed the birth of a vital new profession: Professional Environmentalism. Grown up Environmentalism. The Chartered Environmentalist. By Royal Charter. Made in Britain.

“The Professionals” even.

Wanna start to change the world?  Who you gonna call?

Whoever it is, best check they are CEnv.  Whatever you want done, professionally, whether by architects, engineers, lawyers, accountants, surveyors, planners, designers, it will be a whole lot better if they are *also* a Chartered Environmentalist.

*e.g. as well as Chartered Engineer, Chartered Surveyor etc…

After all, you don’t want anything done non-environmentally – do you?

So how high is the bar set?

Although the standards required to become a CEnv are set high enough to be meaningful, they are not unachievable – with a bit of experience, study, tenacity and application. And you can apply via any of 23* Institutions.

*So far. More Professional Institutions are seeking to join all the time.

The Chartered Environmentalist ‘badge’ worn with pride – can change the world. 

Planting seeds…

The CEnv plants the small seed – of a big idea – in the established order – that an “environmentalist” can be professional too! We have a Royal Charter. #MadeInBritain #London2012 #RoyalCharter #Olympics #Winners #Gold

It plants the seed that it is safe now, for us all to lower the drawbridge and allow a professional environmentalist, or two, to come back into the fold. Back inside our long established economic fortresses: the environmentalist within: within our boundaries, within our corporate bodies and within our homes/castles.

Truth is we’ve been missing them!

 And we can welcome them back now. They’ve ‘moved on’ too. Now they are ready to bring happiness, health and prosperity again. They are no longer peddling guilt and inaction, frozen in the headlights, angrily at odds with both progress and lack of it!

The same small seed also propagates the big idea – by extension – that maybe just maybe therereally is profit in all this ethical and ecological malarkey!  Environmentalists have long been saying that it makes good financial sense. Now they are professionals – Chartered Environmentalists – just doing it.  Harvesting green economic shoots.

This is the profound shift. The 2012 tipping point I observe.

MORE dollar value in healing the Earth? in long-term rehabilitation? in physical regeneration,  than in asset stripping, carrying on consuming, and laying waste to our own nest?  Phew…. At last.


Don’t get me wrong. I will always remain deeply proud of my committed activist friends on the barricades, and in most cases they are still badly needed there. And often I will stand with them. I am proud to share with them the good name of “environmentalist”.

And the times they are a changing, and the doors of Portcullis House are already open – to bright eyed (Chartered) Environmentalists who can communicate and represent a sound evidence-based, broad-based case for positive change – who can advocate for change from within – from within!  Especially when they live those values, and model that change.

Watch out for a new bike rack full of Bromptons (foldaway cycles) in the House of Lords!

To be an activist, I no longer need to hide my education and professionalism.

To be a professional, I no longer need to hide my passion for radical change.

In short, I am proud to be both ‘the carbon coach’ and a Chartered Environmentalist (and a Chartered Engineer) again.  This feels way more centred, wholesome, integrated and action-oriented.

As Margaret Mead famously said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Today she’d probably have added that the small group would be Chartered Environmentalists!

One thought on “What do you really, really, really want to be?

  1. Really nice piece and something I can really resonate with as we (that is professionals working in corporate responsibility and sustainability) have just this month got our very first professional body in the Institute of Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability (ICRS). Hoorah!
    After decades working with and within organisations to affect change on everything from climate change to human rights, its long overdue recognition (and support) for the thousands of people working in the field.
    A small part of me remembers fondly the days when to work in the environment team in a large company earned you the ‘beardie hippy’ tag but I wouldn’t swap it for the increasingly widespread recognition in the business world that in order to thrive (some might say survive) we need to be far better stewards of the environment and much better corporate citizens.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.