The Crown Estate – Director of Sustainability for an iconic landlord and developer

The brief: a Director of Sustainability for iconic landlord and developer with £16bn urban and rural portfolio


An independent commercial business, the Crown Estate’s £16 billion portfolio includes a significant residential portfolio, one of the largest rural holdings in the country, an estate across the West End of London, and the seabed around England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Crown Estate set a target to become a net zero carbon business by 2030, and climate positive thereafter. Alongside decarbonising its property portfolio and looking at how it can better utilise its extensive land interests, the Estate is also seeking solutions to restore the natural world by providing and protecting habitats both on and offshore.  At the same time, the business sets out to play a positive role in the communities it serves, and aims to contribute to bettering the UK’s health, wellbeing, and equality and to the UK’s agenda for decent work, economic growth, and productivity. It has made diversity and inclusion a central part of how its strategy, in order to become the business it aspires to be.

We were briefed to find an exceptional leader to own and drive the Crown Estate’s ambitious sustainability agenda and help establish The Crown Estate as a leader on sustainability, from an environmental, social and ethical perspective.


Diverse commercial candidate pool and successful appointment


Our search targeted people in a range of sectors, focusing on businesses considered “best in class” through reputation and evidenced achievements in the sustainability arena. Areas including retail, extractive industries, technology businesses, consumer brands, travel and leisure companies, real estate, financial services, media groups, leading consulting firms and other sectors were represented in our call list.

Our unique approach – whereby a dedicated researcher was assigned to this project only for 2 weeks – allowed us to search broadly, and have real and rich conversations in the market with a range of diverse candidates from different sectors. We were able to attract candidates who would bring thought leadership and expertise around sustainability issues and a demonstrable track record of driving through and operationalising strategies, creating measurable impact and change in complex organisations.

  • Diversity was a key focus, as always; of the 15 candidates presented for consideration 26% brought ethnic diversity and 53% were women
  • 5 candidates were interviewed (1 person brought ethnic diversity and 4 were women)

The appointed candidate came from a multinational telecommunications business, where they were a Director of Sustainability and CSR. At the time of writing, they have been in their new post for 2 years.


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