Rebecca Willis (Chair)

Rebecca Willis is an independent researcher with twenty years’ experience in environment and sustainability policy and practice, at international, national and local level. She fosters collaboration between the research community, politics, government, business and the third sector, in order to further sustainability goals. In 2009 Rebecca founded Green Alliance’s Climate Leadership Programme, an initiative to support Members of the UK Parliament. With Lancaster University, she is conducting research into political responses to climate change. She advises the Lake District National Park, where she helped to establish the UK’s first local carbon budget; and has a particular interest in local and distributed energy solutions.

Rebecca is a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of RCUK’s Energy Programme and advises the iGov initiative at the University of Exeter. She is a Fellow of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity (CUSP). From 2011-15 she was a Council Member of the Natural Environment Research Council, and from 2004-11 was Vice-Chair of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, advising the Prime Minister and First Ministers of the devolved administrations. She is an Associate of the think tank Green Alliance and from 2001-4 was Green Alliance’s Director. Previously, Rebecca spent two years as a policy adviser at the European Parliament in Brussels, specialising in international environmental issues.

Her freelance portfolio has included work with a range of organisations including the British Academy, Co-operatives UK, the Lake District National Park Authority and the Universities of Lancaster, Leeds, Sussex and Exeter, and Imperial College. Recent projects include:

– Cultures of Community Energy: This report, for the British Academy, profiles eleven community energy projects across seven countries, focusing on the cultural factors influencing community energy.

– Paris 2015: Getting a global agreement on climate change: Will the Paris climate summit be meaningful and result in action? This report for Green Alliance, Christian Aid, Greenpeace, RSPB and WWF sets out what has changed since the first Rio summit in 1992, the prospects for Paris and why global agreement is needed.

– Co-operatively Owned Energy: Research into the growing co-operative energy sector in the UK, resulting in the publication of a Manifesto for Community Energy, which fed into the Government’s Community Energy Strategy.

– Demanding Less: Why we need a new politics of Energy: A Green Alliance pamphlet, co-authored with Nick Eyre, of the UK Energy Research Centre.


Rebecca has a degree in Social and Political Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and a masters degree in Environment, Development and Policy from the University of Sussex.

Find out more about Rebecca’s work here

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