Dr Jem Bendell is a Professor of Sustainability Leadership and Founder of the Institute for Leadership and Sustainability (IFLAS) at the University of Cumbria (UK) as well as Founder and former coordinator of the Deep Adaptation Forum.
He focuses on leadership and communications for social change, as well as approaches that may help humanity face climate-induced disruption. This includes the development of the Deep Adaptation agenda and community. Despite misrepresentation of Prof Bendell by reformist environmentalists, who may seek to marginalise preparations for a breakdown of industrial consumer societies, Bendell has never predicted near term human extinction, and continued to support carbon cuts and natural drawdown for over 25 years. He never described himself as a ‘doomer’ and supports opening up to a wider agenda of harm reduction, beyond either giving up on social change, nor sticking to failed tactics, policies and ideologies. He articulated this approach to staying with the total trouble of our times, while being creatively engaged in positive change, in a joint article with a co-founder of Extinction Rebellion.
A graduate of the University of Cambridge, he had twenty years of experience in sustainable business and finance, as a researcher, educator, facilitator, advisor, & entrepreneur, having lived & worked in six countries. Clients for his strategy development included international corporations, UN agencies and international NGOs. The World Economic Forum (WEF) recognised Professor Bendell as a Young Global Leader for his work on sustainable business alliances. With over 100 publications, including four books and five UN reports, he regularly appeared in international media on topics of sustainable business and finance, as well as currency innovation. His TEDx talk is the most watched online speech on complementary currencies. In 2012 Professor Bendell co-authored the WEF report on the Sharing Economy. Previously he helped create innovative alliances, including the Marine Stewardship Council, to endorse sustainable fisheries and The Finance Innovation Lab, to promote sustainable finance. In 2007 he wrote a report for WWF on the responsibility of luxury brands, which appeared in over 50 newspapers and magazines worldwide, and inspired a number of entrepreneurs to create businesses in the luxury sector.
The bio is all past tense, as since 2018 Jem moved into a new phase of work in light of the latest climate science and the viral impact of his Deep Adaptation paper. He will share a revised bio in due course.