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Environmental and social sustainability

Environmental and Social Advisory Council

The EBRD's Environmental and Social Advisory Council (ESAC) was created shortly after the Bank was founded in 1991. It is an independent body of environmental specialists who advise the EBRD on environmental issues such as policy, international standards, technical development, emerging trends and future opportunities.

ESAC members are appointed for three year periods, and are selected based on professional expertise as well as their potential to contribute to the development of EBRD’s policies and programmes. They represent a wide spectrum of interests including non-governmental organisations, the private sector, academic and research institutions.

ESAC members and EBRD staff maintain regular contacts between the meetings, which are normally held twice a year.

Current ESAC members
George Kremlis, Honorary Director in the European Commission
Jacqueline McGlade, Former Chief Scientist and Director of UNEP’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment
John Morrison, CEO of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) 
Nicholas A Robinson, Pace University, United States
Jan-Olaf Willums, InSpire, Norway
David Wheeler, President and Vice-Chancellor of Cape Breton University

George Kremlis

George Kremlis is Honorary Director in the European Commission. He started his career therein in 1981. He was a Legal advisor (from January 1981) in the European Commission’s Legal Service, with an interruption of three years (1990-1993) in Greece where he exercised the functions of Advisor to the Greek Minister of National Economy (1990), National Co-ordinator for the EEC internal market (1990-1992), Head of the EEC Committee under the Greek Prime Minister (1993), and Secretary General for European Affairs in the Ministry of National Economy (1993). During this period he was also a Member of the Greek Competition authority.

In 1995 he joined DGENV. From 1995 to 2004 he served as Head of the Legal Unit, responsible for all legal issues in the DG. From 2004 to 2005 he was the Head of the “Legal affairs and Governance” Unit, and from June 2005 to May 2013 Head of the Unit "Cohesion Policy and Environmental Impact assessments”. From June 2013 till 30 March 2018 he has served as Head of the "Mainstreaming and Environmental Assessments" Unit (former "Enforcement, Cohesion Policy & European Semester, Cluster 1" Unit); in between, from March to August 2011, he served as Acting Director of the Directorate "Legal Affairs and Cohesion" and from June 2013 to January 2014 as Director ad interim of the Directorate "Implementation, Governance and Semester".

In his last positions he was also the Chairman of the ENEA-MA (European Network of Environmental and Managing Authorities), and the EIA/SEA (Environmental Impact Assessment / Strategic Environmental Assessment) Experts Groups.

He is the Chair of the Bureau of the Espoo Convention, and elected Chair of the upcoming MOPs in 2019 and 2020.

He has also served as a member of the Board of the National Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development in Greece, and as a member of the Greek Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE). He is the Founding and Honorary President of the Hellenic Environmental Law Association.

He is a lawyer of the Greek Supreme Court and in the past he has been a Research fellow at the Centre of International Economic and European Law (1979-80), in Thessaloniki. He is visiting Professor in a number of universities, in Greece and abroad, especially on post-graduate studies. He is the co-author of a four volumes Commentary, Article by Article, of the EU Treaties (in Greek). He is also the author of a very large number of various publications, in English, French and Greek, including books and articles, on EU Policy and Law, in particular institutional law, business law, private international law, environmental law, and comparative law.

Professor Jacqueline McGlade

Jacqueline McGlade is the Former Chief Scientist and Director of UNEP’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment. Prior to joining UNEP as Special Advisor to the Executive Director on knowledge management and science, Professor Jacqueline McGlade was Executive Director of the European Environment Agency from 2003-2013. Before this, she was Professor in Environmental Informatics in the Department of Mathematics at University College London, Director of the Centre for Coastal and Marine Sciences of the UK Natural Environment Research Council, Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Warwick, Director of Theoretical Ecology at the FZ Jülich and Senior Scientist at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography in the Federal Government of Canada.

Her activities continue to be focused on participatory knowledge systems and citizen science, the dynamics of ecosystems and planetary systems, sustainable development and the governance of natural resources, environmental informatics with particular reference to socio-economic transitions, technological innovation and policy analysis.
Fiona Murie

Since early 2000, Fiona Murie is the Director of Occupational Health and Safety and Global Construction Coordinator at the Building and Woodworkers International in Geneva. Fiona is responsible for occupational health and safety as well as global advocacy work with the International Labour Organisation, the International Financial Institutions and construction industry organisations. Before joining the BWI, she worked for seven years at the Spanish Trade Union Comisiones Obreras. Previously she spent seven years at the London Hazards Centre, and writing and delivering health and safety training courses for the TUC, after having worked with UK Trade Union the GMB from 1984.

John Morrison

John Morrison has been CEO of the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) ( since its foundation in 2009 (collective annual budget £3.2 million). The Institute is a global 'think and do' tank on human rights policy and practice working closely with governments, business, civil society and trade unions. IHRB has established regional centres in Burma and Colombia and also works thematically on issues such as responsible recruitment, mega-sporting events and big data. IHRB now has special consultative status at the United Nations. John has acted as a formal adviser to a number of governments, including during the Swedish and Danish EU Presidencies and is currently a member of the UK Foreign Secretary’s human rights advisory group and the UK export credit agency. In 2017, John was named one of the 100 most influential people in efforts to end modern slavery.

Nicholas A. Robinson

Nicholas A. Robinson is the Gilbert & Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental at Pace University School of Law, and a Professor Adjunct at the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Pace University conferred upon him the appointment of University Professor, recognizing his leadership in the field of environmental law and his service in establishing the Pace’s legal education program.

Prof. Robinson served as Legal Advisor to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature & Natural Resources (1998-2004) and chaired IUCN’s Environmental Law Commission. He has held a number of governmental posts in New York State, including service as General Counsel to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. From 1974-92, he served as the environmental law specialist on US Environmental Law delegations to the USSR under the 1972 US-USSR bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in the field of Environmental Protection. Author of several books and many articles on environmental law, he led the Asian Development Bank’s program to introduce environmental legal education into the curricula of Asian and Central Asian law faculties, and led 150 universities world-wide to establish the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.

He is the draftsman of a number of statutes and international soft-law declarations and participated in preparation of several international environmental agreements, and co-edited the UNEP Training Manual on International Environmental Law (2006). The l’Université libre de Bruxelles conferred upon him the Elizabeth Haub Prize in Environmental Law in 1992. He is a graduate of Brown University (A.B. 1967 and Columbia University School of Law (J.D., 1970).

Dr Jan-Olaf Willums

Dr. Willums chairs the privately held Inspire Group , and has been co-founder of several pioneering technology companies including REC (Solar), Think (electric vehicles) , MoveAbout (EV carsharing), and ZEM-Energy Ltd. (EV battery financing). He is a founding investor in Novus Energy Partners.

Dr Willums has a M.Sc. from the Swiss Institute of Technology and a D.Sc. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was a founding Director of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and Professor of Entrepreneurship at the Norwegian School of Management. Today he is member of the Private Sector Advisory Group of the World Bank Corporate Governance Forum, serves on the World Economic Forum’s Automotive Agenda Council, and chairs the Bellagio Forum.

David Wheeler

Dr Wheeler is Chairman and Co-Founder of the International Higher Education Group LLC, a consultancy and web-based matchmaking agency for students, faculty and institutions of higher learning with offices in the US, UK, Canada and the Middle East.   He is a professor at York University Canada and the University of Alberta and an advisory council member for Export Development Canada and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. 

David is an internationally experienced academic and business person with more than two decades of senior executive level involvement in change management and sustainable business practice, research and teaching.  In the last six years, David has focused much of his advisory work in the fields of energy conservation and renewable energy policy, both in Canada and the UK.  He was responsible for the processes that set up Efficiency Nova Scotia and the Alberta Energy Efficiency Agency; he co-designed the renewable electricity strategy for Nova Scotia, and he oversaw a major review of hydraulic fracturing that led to a continuation of a moratorium on the practice in the province.

David continues to pursue his interests in the role of the private sector in international development which has been built on major projects undertaken for the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, the Canadian International Development Agency, the Canadian International Development Research Centre and the UK Department for International Development.

David Wheeler’s most recent academic posts were President and Vice-Chancellor of Cape Breton University (2013-2016), Pro Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability) and Executive Dean of Business at the University of Plymouth, UK (2010-2013), Dean of Management, Dalhousie University, Canada (2006-2009) and Director and Erivan K Haub Professor in Business and Sustainability at the Schulich School of Business, York University, Canada (1999-2006). 

In 2016 Cape Breton University became the world’s first carbon neutral university.  Between 2010 and 2013 the University of Plymouth consistently ranked as one of the top Green Universities in the UK.  In 2012 the Plymouth Business School was shortlisted for Business School of the Year by Times Higher Education. In 2010 Dalhousie University Business School was judged by CEO Europe the most innovative in Canada for changes made under David’s leadership.  During David’s tenure, York University was regularly ranked in the top few schools worldwide for its integration of sustainability issues into the business curriculum.

David has published more than 80 articles and book chapters in a wide variety of academic journals, books, parliamentary inquiries and popular journals, and has delivered speeches to numerous conferences and events.  Top tier journals in which he has published include the British Medical Journal, the Lancet, Energy Policy, Water Research, the Journal of Portfolio Management, the Journal of Business Ethics, Long Range Planning, and the MIT Sloan Management Review.   He is a regular reviewer for the Times Higher Education magazine.

David has done numerous television and radio broadcasts on environmental and social issues and business.  David was principal author of The Stakeholder Corporation - the first business text to be endorsed by former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair.  He was an advisor to the UK Government on governance aspects of the Company Law Review, a member of the UK Government Advisory Committee on Consumer Products and the Environment and the Reference Group for Canada’s National Report to the World Summit on Sustainable Development (Rio+10).  He was co-founder of the UK business-led Committee of Inquiry - A New Vision for Business that reported directly to Prime Minister Tony Blair in November 1999.

Prior to his recent academic appointments, David was a member of the Executive Management team of international cosmetics firm The Body Shop International.  David spent 7 years overseeing a business operating in 50 countries with worldwide retail sales of $1 billion and when he stepped down was the longest serving member of the senior team.  As Executive Director (Senior VP) of Environmental and Social Policy David had strategic oversight of human resources and learning, sustainability issues and non-financial auditing and reporting.  In his time with The Body Shop, David developed the company’s ground breaking Values Reports which were rated top in a worldwide ranking by SustainAbility for the UN on corporate environmental and social reporting.

David started his career in the water industry where he specialized in water pollution control.   Later as a Senior Research Fellow at the Robens Institute of the University of Surrey he became a leading researcher and commentator on standards of drinking water and recreational water in the UK, achieving World Health Organization Collaborating Centre status for the Robens Institute.  During his time at Surrey University David was a frequent consultant to United Nations and other development agencies working in water and sanitation programs in less developed countries.  He supervised development projects in twelve countries in Africa and Latin America and co-developed the DelAgua drinking water test kit which is now used by numerous agencies in developing countries.  The invention won a national award, presented by Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1990.  The device is still in production and is distributed worldwide.