Here’s an interesting story, just published in the Guardian.
A Director of Land Securities, the FTSE 100 company who are the developers behind the planned destruction of Lodge Hill SSSI, was about to be appointed as a Trustee of London Wildlife Trust. Marc Cadwaladr had been about to be brought onto the LWT Trustee Board for his “fantastic finance skills along with experience with one of London’s largest property developers”. Financial skills, and perhaps his numerous contacts in the City, who could provide philanthropic support for the charity.
At the last minute he has withdrawn from the appointment saying “it doesn’t feel right to let my name go forward for election as a trustee of the London Wildlife Trust.”
Given that Medway approved planning permission for Lodge Hill SSSI to be destroyed by Land Securities on the 5th September, it does make one wonder why he felt that it was right to become a Trustee of a wildlife charity at that point, and indeed for the preceding period when Land Securities had been planning the destruction of Lodge Hill (about 5 years.)
The article emphasises the fact that Charity Trustees act as individuals and should not seek to influence the work of the Charity to benefit their business interests, and I am sure that Mr Cadwaladr would not have had the slightest intention of doing that.
But there is another prospect: that Land Securities would have benefited from one of their Directors being a Trustee of a prominent wildlife charity. Perhaps it might have put them in a different, more positive light when appearing at a Public Inquiry, defending their “mitigation” proposals for Lodge Hill, for example: or Biodiversity Offsetting as it is also known. Mitigation proposals which include moving Lodge Hill’s nightingales to an SPA salt marsh in Essex, and moving over 30ha of nationally important scrub/grassland mosaic to an adjacent farm.
To whom would you be minded to offer commiserations I wonder?
Check out via Charity Commission the trustees of many of the Wildlife Trusts and indeed many other high profile charities, ok it may be deemed sceptical but one might be forgiven for concluding that many were using the positions as you describe.
Check out how many charities now have very strict appointment criteria, changes pushed through have seen many new trustees being invited rather than nominated from rank and file membership.
If financial contributions can secure a peerage, then greenwash or inside influence is easily arranged?
Thanks mud lark. It was interesting that LWT were originally “appointing” the new trustees, but they have now amended the wording to indicate the membership would have the opportunity to vote on them. Perhaps when Mr Cadwaladr realised his appointment might be challenged from the floor, he developed cold feet. Who knows?
According to a report in the Guardian …. LWT, which had said trustees could be appointed without a ballot of members since there are five vacancies, later clarified the issue saying members could vote either by attending the annual meeting or by arranging proxy votes.
Maybe I misread the report but if there were only sufficient nominations to fill vacancies then he had a safe ride. As for developers suffering cold feet, nah …. they’re like politicians, brazen in pursuit of serving self interest? I’m sure there are some of integrity out there and in the meantime of meeting them I remain a realistic agnostic!
In the interim would a WT or indeed any charity risk a membership rebellion at an AGM?
Hi Mark, it’s all a bit murky isn’t it? I’d keep an eye on goings on at LWT over the coming weeks, I predict a backlash to this little underhand move from staff and members. http://bit.ly/1vnSEEI
Thanks Spike. Anyone know what happened at the AGM yesterday?