|Known for||sustainability advocacy|
Solitaire Townsend is a female entrepreneur, sustainability expert and author. She co-founded the change agency Futerra in 2001, one of the first sustainability agencies in the UK.
She is a leading advocate for climate optimism and hope/positivity approach to sustainability. She co-founded the #climateoptimist campaignin 2017.
Early life and education
Born in Bedford, Bedfordshire, Solitaire is the eldest of three girls. She attended Sharnbrook Upper School where she was diagnosed as dyslexic when aged 16.
Solitaire first became involved in sustainability at the age of 13 when the nuclear decommissioning company Nirex planned to dump nuclear waste in her hometown. She joined Bedfordshire Against Nuclear Dumping, known as BAND, which was formed to fight the proposal. In 1987, the government announced plans to abandon Bedfordshire as nuclear waste dumpsite.
In 1996 she graduated from The Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham with her first Masters degree, in Shakespeare Studies. In 1998 she completed a second Masters degree in Leadership for Sustainable Development at Middlesex University, a course run by sustainable development charity Forum for the Future.
Between 1998 and 2001 Solitaire worked as an independent consultant for BT, the UN and Mori on issues of human rights, business ethics and environmental sustainability.
With Ed Gillespie, she co-founded Futerrain 2001 and was CEO for the first decade of the agency. Originally a project funded by NESTA, Futerra became one of the first sustainability agencies in the UK.
Futerra focuses on building sustainability strategies and creative communication campaigns for corporations, governments and non-profits. Today the change agency has offices in London, New York, Stockholm and Mexico City and over 60 staff. Futerra became a B-corp in 2016.
Solitaire is Co-founder of the She is Sustainable events, encouraging young women in sustainability and purpose careers.
She is also Co-founder of the Climate Optimist movement.
Solitaire was named ‘Ethical Entrepreneur of the Year’ in 2008 and Chair of the UK Green Energy Scheme between November 2009 and July 2015. She was trustee of the Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy from May 2012 until December 2016. Solitaire was a member of the United Nations Sustainable Lifestyles Taskforce and was a London Leader for Sustainability.
In October 2017, Unbound published her first book The Happy Hero – How To Change Your Life By Changing The World. The book reveals the secret of how to feel good by doing good.
She was the lead author in Futerra thought leadership Sell The Sizzle – the New Climate Message.
In May 2013 she published the opinion report The Naked Environmentalist.
In 2018, Solitaire was featured on the Mallen Baker podcast, speaking on positivity and its power to save the world.
In 2016, Solitaire spoke at the Climate Week conference in NYC, launching the #ClimateOptimist campaign.
2014 TEDxLSE talkon how to change consumption patterns to be sustainable.
2013 keynote at the World Resources Forum in Davos on How Sex Will Save Sustainability.
In 2009, Solitaire spoke at TEDxWarwick on insights into marketing strategies that can save the planet.
- Townsend's TEDxWarwick presentation
- Townsend's TEDxLSE presentation
- Townsend's 2013 keynote at the World Resources Forum
- Townsend's Forbes contributor page
- Townsend's The Guardian contributor page
- Townsend's Huffington Post contributor page
- Townsend's feature as a disrupter on Ethical Corp
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