Meet the climate team

Stuart West

Net zero lead and outdoor enthusiast
Stuart West

Climate change is complicated. But that isn’t stopping people around the world from making a difference.

To wrap up our series in which we get to know our climate team, we’re looking ahead to COP27 and beyond with a member of the team who’s always looking for the next big leap for climate action.

Stuart West first joined Deloitte as a graduate, before pursuing a career in the civil service and becoming the UK’s Head of Negotiation Strategy for COP26. It was at this point that Stuart joined our climate team as UK WorldClimate Net Zero Lead.

Always on the go

Stuart is Plymouth born and bred and grew up between the English Channel and the rugged beauty of Dartmoor. With two brothers and a sister, his childhood was super active, and between karate and tennis, rugby and running, swimming and cycling, he was forever on the go.

“Some of the moments when I felt I was learning and growing the most were while studying and working overseas.” Stuart studied politics and international relations at Lancaster University and for his second year winged over to California. After graduating, he worked in Taipei before zipping over to Colombo to support a report on post-conflict Sri Lanka.

“I was then chucked in at the deep end working on two projects in Indonesia. It was a fairly surreal experience interviewing cabinet ministers and CEOs and having a driver having just graduated from university. I’ve certainly not had one since!”

"Some of the moments when I felt I was learning and growing the most were while studying and working overseas."

Stuart cycling in Kotor, Montenegro

Viennese whirl

Stuart joined Deloitte on the consulting graduate scheme, before completing a Masters in Socio Ecological Economics and Policy in Vienna. His thesis was on the Paris Agreement and the UN Climate Negotiations.

“It wasn’t until university that it really hit me that climate change was going to be the defining issue of my lifetime. It’s an environmental issue first and foremost, and we see that with the physical impacts that are wreaking havoc on people and planet globally, but it’s one that permeates every aspect of life – social, economic, political, foreign policy. It influences everything from business strategy to human displacement to war.”

"I intend to dedicate my entire professional career to tackling climate change."

Perfectly civil

After a couple of years with Deloitte, Stuart joined the UK Civil Service on international climate and energy issues. For several years he was the UK’s Head of Negotiation Strategy within the UN climate change process, most recently within the UK COP26 presidency in Glasgow.

Stuart was amongst a handful of people involved from the very beginning, starting in early 2019 with the bid to host the COP. “It was an arduous few years given all the challenges brought about by the pandemic. I am proud that we were able to safely convene over 40,000 people, including around 120 world leaders, and agree the Glasgow Climate Pact. We had to keep the goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees within reach, power the UN climate process forward at a challenging time for multilateralism and engage all of society including business in innovative ways to drive systemic change – and I think we did.”

Stuart meeting the Prime Minister of Fiji

Inspired by islanders

During his time as a climate negotiator, Stuart met some amazing people who are raising the alarm on climate change, while championing their national interests.

“It’s a matter of survival, as emissions anywhere threaten the future of people everywhere, particularly for those in low lying island states.”

As Fijian prime minister Frank Bainimarama said, “we are all in the same canoe”. Stuart recalls. “The choices that we each make as individuals, as businesses, and as governments, will collectively determine whether we enjoy a livable future or climate chaos.”

Stuart believes that we should understand our interactions with nature and be more aware of our biodiversity footprint, not just our carbon one. “We need to ensure that as a business, or an organisation, we are helping the natural environment on which we depend to thrive, and are not simply taking from it.”

"We are all in the same canoe."

Net zero hero

After the success of COP26, Stuart took on a new challenge – to help Deloitte on its path to net zero emissions. As our UK Net Zero Lead, Stuart helps to lay the ground for our people to better understand, meet and hopefully surpass our decarbonisation commitments.

“I’m involved in embedding climate considerations into Deloitte’s governance and ways of working, putting data in front of leaders, and promoting sustainable delivery; tackling the emissions associated with business travel and helping the firm to make smarter travel choices. I also support our sustainable supply chain programme, covering all things responsible procurement, and working with our suppliers to set science-based targets and address ESG risks within our value chain.”

Future positive

Stuart is supremely positive. He sees himself as part of a growing movement seeking to accelerate the transformation of the economy from a force that takes from society and the natural environment to a force that regenerates them - preserving a flourishing planet on which future generations can thrive.

“We need scientists to educate, governments to legislate, civil society to motivate, business to innovate, people to activate and you can only do that if everyone comes together and collaborates.”

Stuart believes in creating opportunities for unprecedented collaboration. “As others have said, the race to net zero is one we will all win or all lose. Radical collaboration and innovation is what’s needed to drive real systems change”.

Sounds good, but how does one drive radical collaboration?

“During COP26 in Glasgow my role was all about the formal national government negotiations. In my new role at Deloitte, I am learning about the role of corporate sustainability” Stuart explains. “I hope to continue shaping how business, government, civil society and other key stakeholders come together and collaborate to drive important tipping points.”

“At COP27 I'm excited to see how all these actors come together to turn ambition into action - on driving down emissions, building resilience to future climate impacts, and addressing loss and damage caused by our changing climate - as well as how they will align finance flows to make all this happen!”

Looking even further ahead “I believe that COP28 in 2023 has the potential to be a really impactful and inclusive COP, with the ‘Global Stocktake’ of progress made towards the goals of the Paris Agreement at the heart of the summit an important moment to mark the course for the rest of this decisive decade”

Stuart is an optimist and believes that, ultimately, humanity will avert the worst impacts of climate change.

“On my 60th birthday, I hope to wake up in a world where the needs of all are being met within the ecological limits of our life-giving planet. Where people value nature and feel part of it. And where technology enables and empowers us to connect and achieve great things within parameters we have set for it. I also hope we are clinking glasses to celebrate achieving global net zero carbon emissions and full nature recovery as intended. I hope I’ll be living in a forest, not a bunker hiding from a dystopian future - cycling where I need to in my local area, in harmony with nature.”

Meet the others

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Stuart and what makes him tick. Our climate team is here to help, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you’d like to find out more. And if you want to meet the others, just keep reading below.

Molly Kampmann

Molly Kampmann

WorldClimate team member and lover of ugly carrots
Read more
Neliswa Hare

Neliswa Hare

Climate risk expert and social entrepreneur
Read more
Gavin Harrison

Gavin Harrison

Internal sustainability lead and eternal optimist
Read more

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