Nature is the fundamental idea around which our Association was formed.

From the very first, this has been a journey of many – a journey of inter-dependence. Of emergence. Of Adaptation and change.   And in common with all that we know of nature, ASP has lived through a number of cycles of change.  This was born  a Phoenix organisation – full of renewal, magic and surprises – and the story of the whole is a kaleidoscope lit with the fractal colours of individual transformations.  There is a standing invitation for associates to to contribute their parts of ASP’s history and while there may be differences of opinion – both versions will always be true. 

This history was begun by Mike Zeidler, who led by listening to aspirations and harmonising them.  Here’s what he’s thinking when he began:   

‘If my purpose is to create a historical record that reflects our nature, it mustn’t be told by one voice.  It’ll need enough structure to stay coherent, but flexible enough to allow for the emergence of themes and new meaning.  I wonder what would appear in wikipedia if we had an entry? Let’s start from there and see what happens’. 

Description:  The Association of Sustainability Practitioners (ASP) promotes learning that transforms behaviour from unsustainable to sustainable practices. It supports, challenges and connects people on this journey.  The association was founded in September 2004 by a large group of people, gathered and coordinated by Mike Zeidler, who led the development of the form they devised together.

ASP has never had any staff.  It is a company limited by guarantee, with a varying number of directors, a large Linkedin group, and a newsletter with over 2000 subscribers. The association facilitates maximum engagement at low cost and with minimal structure.  The association results in projects, events and reports whenever its members create them according to the criteria set out in the membership agreement (link to document to follow).


1 History
1.1 Prehistory
1.2 Birth
1.3 Phases of development
   1.4 Brand & web presence
2 Leadership

3 Funding
4 Activities
5 See also
6 References
7 External links

1  History

1.1     Prehistory
ASP’s roots can be traced back to Anita Roddick‘s New Academy of Business.  Anita was an entrepreneur, who with her husband set up The Body Shop in 1976.  Anita and Gordon became more and more concerned about the social and environmental impact of business, deciding to make these issues a key interest for their own.  After campaigning for improved ethical and moral standards in business for around 10 years, Anita grew frustrated with the standard approach to MBA studies, which neglected to effectively address issues now known as Corporate Responsibility.   She approached a number of prestigious Business Schools to see if they could work together, and was snubbed by all.  So in 1995 Anita founded the New Academy of Business as an ‘Independent business school whose purpose is to help change the way business works through education, learning and action’1.

Under the leadership of Gill Coleman and David Murphy, the New Academy struck a partnership with Judy Marshall and Peter Reason at the Centre for Action Research in Professional Practice at the University of Bath.  Together they developed the Masters Degree in Responsibility and Business Practice which launched in 1997.    Anita’s involvement gradually diminished as the degree took on a life of its own and she pursued new interests.

In 2003, organisation was struggling with both purpose and income. David Murpy and Rupesh Shah invited Mike Zeidler, a graduate of the Msc programme, to become a Trustee of the New Academy of Business. Soon afterwards, he was commissioned to lead a strategic review of possible futures for the organisation.  After several months of stakeholder consultation,  Mike presented three options to trustees in 2004.  They were:

i) Die – Celebrate 10 years of achievements and shut down the organisation
ii) Rebuild – Update the organisational purpose, adapt to the new mission and re-energise
iii) Phoenix – Celebrate 10 years of achievements, invite others to build on ‘the best bits’ in their own way, and shut down.

The staff and trustees chose option iii) and ASP was born.

1.2 Birth

1.3 Phases of development
This ‘official’ history is a highly condensed journey emergence and inter-dependence, adaptation and change.   The ‘whole truth’ is a fractal kaleidoscope of individual stories.  You can dip into the riches of these individual perspectives here [link to be provided].

There have been four main phases of development:  1. High price, high barrier; 2. Low price, low barrier; 3. No price, no barrier; and 4. Name your price, low barrier.

1.4     Brand & Web Presence
As ASP evolved, the organisation refreshed its brand and completely re-vamped its web presence four times.

The first version of ASP’s website was put together by [citation needed – screenshots to be added]. The next was developed by Mark Corderoy and Andrew Prescott [screenshots to be added]. This was further developed by William Charlton and Garry Junkhun [screenshots to be added], and the latest revision has been created by Amin Pasandideh and ????

2 Leadership

ASP’s current directors are:
  • Gwyn Jones (since Jan ’10)
  • Martin Roach (since  Jun ’16)
  • Linda Farrow (since Jan ’19)
  • Vicky Grinell-Wright (since Jan ’19)
  • Rob Barnard-Weston (since Jan ’19)
  • Helena Kettleborough (since Jan ’19)
  • Jagdish Rattanani (since Jan ’19)
  • Elizabeth Harrop (since Jun ’21)
  • David Nichol (since Jul ’21)

Directors previously registered at Companies House are: 

  • Mike Zeidler (director & chair, 2004 – 2021)
  • Liz Zeidler (2005 – 2011)
  • Mike King (2010 – 2018)
  • Lucy Fleetwood (2011 – 2014)
  • Kirsten Norris (2014 – 2017)
  • Clare Moody (2017 – 2019)
  • Dave Hampton (director 2018 – 2021)
  • Helen Tyrell (director 2019- 2021)
  • Charles Ainger (director 2019 – 2021)
  • Kate Chapman (2017 – 2018)

When first formed in 2005, leadership was provided by a board of management as follows:

Associate Director (evolution) – Mike Zeidler
Associate Director (research) – Ian Roderick
Director (finance & company secretary) – Sue Maude
Associate Director (professional development) – Steve Banks
Associate Director (commerce) – Andy Middleton
Executive Coordinator, & Director (acting) – Mike Zeidler
Council member – Simon Cooper
Council member –  Esther Maughen
Council member – Michelle Williams
Council member – Deb Seamark
Member – David Ballard
Member – Gill Coleman

The board contributed to a ‘handbook of guidance‘ for these involved, revised to an ‘Operational guide‘ three years later.  The original guide described the leadership structure as follows:

The board of management is made up of 8-12 members.  The Executive Coordinator is the only director with a long contract (of up to 3 years), and the remaining directors have executive duties, but are elected annually. Board members are the accountable guardians of the A.S.P. mission, whose task is to maintain focus amongst the membership and to uphold the policies and values of A.S.P.  The board is responsible for reporting the collective action of the Association and for ensuring the financial prudence of the same.  The Council is drawn by lot from the membership, and is made up of 26 people.  Council members are responsible for consulting with the board on matters of strategic import and may be called to settle matters of dispute. 

The idea of council lay dormant from c.2009 to 2020, when it was revived as a re-imagined Wisdom Council

By 2008, the leadership group had changed to the people below, leaving a raft of vacancies:

Director (evolution) & volunteer coordinator – Mike Zeidler
Director (research) – Ian Roderick
Director (professional development) – Steve Banks
Director (Commercial Development)Andy Middleton
Director (International Affairs)Jem Bendell
Director (Communications)Simon Cooper
Director (Web Dvelopment)Lycia Harper

3  Funding

The Association has never had a ‘corporate’ strategy for funding, nor for financial growth. Associates have from time to time (individually or in groups) made efforts to explore sponsorships, grants and commercial income in support of their interests and activities, but these were not always fed . Membership income has been the only consistent income stream, but even this was abandoned as an organisational experiment for a while. All accounts are available for inspection at companies house here.

4  Activities

5  See Also

6 References

7 External links

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