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Helen Wildsmith receives prestigious Award

June 2, 2020 By Yvonne Cuneo

Findhorn Foundation Trustee Helen Wildsmith receives prestigious 2020 Joan Bavaria Award for her leadership on sustainability

Helen Wildsmith, stewardship director focusing on climate change at CCLA (Churches, Charities and Local Authorities Investment Management Limited) and trustee of the Findhorn Foundation, has recently won the prestigious Joan Bavaria Award for Building Sustainability into the Capital Markets. The award is given annually to honour inspiring global leaders working to move capital markets toward a system that balances economic prosperity with social and environmental issues.

Helen received the award for her pivotal role in accelerating and scaling up investor and business action to tackle the climate crisis, and we are delighted that her work has been recognised in this way.

I first met Helen in the summer of 2010 when she was a participant in the very first programme of the Findhorn International Centre for Sustainability (FICS). The Findhorn International Forum on Sustainability (FIFS) was an experiment in which Paul Dickinson, Executive Chair of The Carbon Disclosure Project, invited sustainability professionals to meet the Findhorn Foundation, and the aspiring ecovillage of which it is a part, in order to experience themselves in a new way, meet each other, and see what would emerge.

As FICS celebrates its tenth anniversary, Helen, who has returned to this participant-led emergent programme more than half-a-dozen times, will be with us for the first online FIFS in mid-July. Helen says her best ideas come to her when she is immersed in Findhorn.

One of her ideas was to invite Christiana Figueres, the then Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate, to give the keynote at St Paul’s Cathedral’s ‘Building the Will for Action’ climate debate in 2014.

Christiana also joined us for the first climate finance retreat FICS hosted in the run-up to the Paris Agreement. Helen has co-convened these retreats, which have brought investors, their membership bodies and relevant NGOs together to increase the scale and pace of investor climate action since 2012. We have had the pleasure of welcoming this group seven times and hope they’ll be able to come here again in November ahead of the climate negotiations in Glasgow next year.

We at the Findhorn Foundation are very proud to have Helen as a much-loved and appreciated trustee and I am personally very grateful that Helen supports FICS in advisory and voluntary capacities. Her quiet manner belies the inspirational nature of her intellectual, emotional and spiritual intelligence.