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About John Elkington

John Elkington is founder and chief entrepreneur at SustainAbility. He blogs at

Articles by John Elkington

This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Can consumers save our climate?

After Copenhagen, can market forces – and consumers in particular – help address global warming? In an article originally published on, John Elkington looks at the promises and pitfalls of “green” consumption

Copenhagen: climate countdown

The United Nations climate-change summit is a vital moment in the world’s effort to avert catastrophe. openDemocracy authors reflect on what needs to happen and how much Copenhagen can achieve.

International Democracy Day: work to do

In marking democracy's achievements,the global community must also recognise the scale of the dangers posed to democracy by climate change, say Halina Ward & John Elkington.

Finance, politics, climate: three crises in one

The breakdown of the global financial system highlights the need for a change in ways of thinking as well as strategic direction, say John Elkington & Mark Lee.

(This article was first published on 14 October 2008)

Can democracy save the planet?

In the effort to contain global warming and create an environmentally viable world, is democracy help or obstacle? A London conference sought to break imaginative new ground on a question of global relevance, report John Elkington & John Lotherington.

(This article was first published on 21 April 2008)

Davos 2008: ends and beginnings

This year's World Economic Forum summit clarified the scale of current global challenges and highlighted the key role of the world's new social entrepreneurs in addressing them, says John Elkington.

Anita Roddick: outsider rules

The achievement of the Body Shop's founder offers ten rich lessons for the entrepreneurs who follow, says John Elkington.

India’s third liberation

The size of India's economic and social tasks in the new century exceeds those it achieved in the last, says John Elkington.

Brundtland and sustainability: history's balance-sheet

A shaping idea of our time is twenty years old. John Elkington tracks the epic journey of "sustainable development", assesses its record, and looks forward.

Climate change's right and wrong fixes

The publication of a major Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, following the Bush administration admission of the issue's importance, marks a new phase in public debate. There are effective technological response to global warming, argue John Elkington & Geoff Lye, but they must be true and long-term.

After Stern: let's get technical

Environmentalists must overcome their aversion to technical fixes to global warming, says John Elkington.

Globalisation's reality check

The world’s targets for sustainable development, codified in the Millennium Development Goals, can only be met by concerted action from governments, business and civil society. But if proposals for a “global covenant” have meaning, it is time for companies to get real, says John Elkington.

'It's the system, stupid!'

A third visit to the World Economic Forum left the sustainability campaigner John Elkington enthusiastic about a gathering force which can connect pro- and anti-globalisers: social entrepreneurs.

Biotechnology: the case for sustainability

Many environmentalists see biotechnology solely in terms of threat and danger. This is short-sighted, says John Elkington of SustainAbility. The challenges of the 21st century – climate change, poverty, disease, demography – make biotechnology a potentially valuable tool. The question is: can it be used in ways that sustain democracy and public trust?

Why I'm going to Davos

A veteran green activist, allergic to summits, looks at the past and future of the World Economic Forum.
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