Pooran Desai, OBE

Co-Founder & International Director of One Planet Communities

Now working in California part-time on incubating One Planet Communities and a One Planet Fund, Pooran studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities before co-founding Bioregional Development Group in 1994. 

He has worked on Bioregional projects and enterprises in sustainable forestry (woodland management and products), farming  (reviving the lavender industry of south London), recycling (converting tree surgery waste into biomass for energy) and real estate development. In 1997 he initiated the BedZED project, which in turn led him to initiate the Z-squared (Zero Carbon Zero Waste) and One Planet Living concepts.  He has since worked to implement these concepts in projects around the world, leading teams which have written sustainability strategies for over $30 billion of real estate development.  He has worked as a real estate developer, for example on the One Brighton development.

Pooran has also worked on policy, chairing the UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ advisory group which recommended A-G mandatory energy ratings for homes which  became national UK policy in 2007.

He was voted in the UK’s top five most influential people in construction for the decade in 2010, received a 2009 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship and a World Economic Forum 2011 Schwab Award as European Social Entreprenuer of the Year.
Pooran is married to Bioregional co-founder Sue Riddlestone and lives at BedZED.  He developed  an idea for a zero carbon zero waste sportscar which runs on waste cooking oil, which he built with help from friends at Cranfield University.

Blog posts by Pooran Desai, OBE

2015 – a year of global uncertainty

Global oil prices unexpectedly low, terrorism in Paris, a transition Read More

Watch your optimism

It’s tempting to think that doing our little bit to Read More

Davos, irony, and how wealth disparities shape our cities

This is our third year at Davos, itself a small, Read More