Nicky Chambers was a pioneer and a leading figure in sustainability for over thirty years.  Always interested in ‘the bleeding edge’ of technology, as she described it, her relentless energy, curiosity and intelligence were a force for enormous positive change.

Nicky wrote recently: “First I thought it was a scientific problem so I worked on that. Then when the science seemed like it was pretty conclusive, I thought it was a communications problem, so I worked on that. When the comms didn't work, even when done welI, I thought it was a politics problem. When I saw that politics didn't seem to make a difference, I thought it was an economics problem so I worked on that. When I noticed that the economy was a human construct, I realised it was a problem of disconnection and human consciousness. I'm working on that now.”

 The trajectory of Nicky’s life and career followed her brilliantly enquiring mind.

 After a degree in Environmental Science from the University of Sussex and a Masters in Environmental Technology from Imperial College, Nicky worked for the CBI in the first of her ‘corporate hippy’ roles, as she put it - bringing new and challenging thinking about sustainability into business.

 In the early 1990s she became fascinated by ecological footprinting - then very new.  With her business partner, Craig Simmons, Nicky set up Best Foot Forward in 1996 offering rigorous, evidence-based, environmental footprinting. BFF grew to become one of Europe’s leading sustainability consultancies known for pioneering work in carbon and ecological footprinting and natural resource accounting. BFF changed the way business understands and accounts for environmental impacts and heralded a revolution in corporate accountability.

 In 2000 Nicky co-authored Sharing Nature’s Interest:  Ecological Footprints as an Indicator of Sustainability.

 Nicky became Director of Strategic Innovation and Futures with the Anthesis Consulting Group after the firm acquired BFF in 2013. She helped globalise Anthesis before taking on roles as CEO of a negative emissions technology business and, recently, as Director of Impact with 'Data for Nature' NGO Global Canopy. 

 Nicky’s laser focus on the need for rapid, innovative climate action meant that she was able seamlessly to straddle the corporate, charity, NGO and start-up worlds. Her ability to inspire people enabled her to make enormous progress, by helping stakeholders from all sectors see and share her vision for a better future.

 A charismatic and inspirational leader, Nicky was instrumental in leading global efforts, through the Taskforce for Nature Related Financial Disclosures, to create a framework to encourage investors to move away from nature depleting to nature positive investment.

 Nicky continued her commitment to protect nature and the environment, joining the Board of the  Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) in January 2022. 

 A natural entrepreneur, Nicky was always looking for new solutions to the huge issues caused by climate change and biodiversity depletion.  She was a fierce advocate for other entrepreneurs and lent her time and expertise to many founders, particularly through the University of Oxford and Imperial College London as an entrepreneur mentor and expert. 

 Nicky was excited by new ideas and saw the start-up world as a powerful vehicle to effect impactful change. She was a Board member for OxFutures GreenFund and The Curiosity Box and an avid investor, bringing her wealth of experience and clarity of vision to help others realise their own sustainability dreams.

 Nicky recognised the need for local solutions to biodiversity and climate issues and, in parallel to her national and international impact in the sector, she was a driving force behind a grassroots Nature Recovery Network (NRN). The Oxfordshire-based NRN is the first community-driven landscape-scale nature recovery project whose novel 'bottom-up' network model (connecting experts with councillors, businesses and individual enthusiasts in the place where they live) has received national recognition. 

 A real testimony to Nicky’s exceptional character was her enthusiasm for practical action and she was as likely to be found, knee deep in mud, planting trees or wildflower seeds as she was to be standing on the doorstep of No. 10 Downing Street. 

 Even in the last months she was talking excitedly about the potential for soil testing and new business possibilities that would promote biodiversity. On reflection, Nicky said “I feel privileged to enjoy a fascinating career aligned with my values”.

 Nicky had an enormous talent for friendship earning her a network that spanned the world and resulting in some remarkable invitations and adventures. Starting with a Project Trust trip to Kenya as a teenager, through a year of global travel after graduation, cycling the Santiago Camino and a year in Spain, with her then two very young toddlers building a straw bale house in an experiment in living off grid.

 Nicky was committed to her community at a local level too and was very involved in projects first in East Oxford and then in Eynsham. She created a panel of experts to advise on sustainable housing; she set up a befriending scheme during the Pandemic and, just as committedly, worked as a ticket-seller at the annual Eynsham Carnival. She was always the first to suggest a celebration, a walk, a wild swim, a kayak or a gathering in the pub.

 Nicky leaves a legacy of passion and energy for the protection, promotion and restoration of the natural environment.

 She is survived by her children, Molly and Finn, and sister, Jenny.


- Eleanor Garland, Jude Hassall, Sharon Slattery, Renee Watson




nicky_finn_mollyMe and my Family.
Photo Nicky Chambers