News release

Ref: 108/09
Date: 8 May 2009

Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR
Out of hours telephone 020 7270 8960

Hilary Benn re–appoints three commissioners for the sustainable development commission

Environment Secretary, Hilary Benn, has re-appointed three Commissioners to the Sustainable Development Commission.

The re-appointed members are:

  • Ann Finlayson (Commissioner for Education and Capability Building)
  • Stewart Davies (Commissioner for Business)
  • Waheed Saleem (Commissioner for Young People)

These re-appointments have been made in accordance with guidance issued by the Office for the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA). Ms Finlayson and Mr Davies have each been offered a second 3 year term. Mr Saleem has been re-appointed to July 2009; bringing his length of service up to the usual 3 years. All three positions are remunerated at a rate of £230 per day and will involve between 2 to 4 days per month each.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees political activity (if any declared) to be made public.  Waheed Saleem was a Labour Party Local Councillor from 2002-2004. There were no other declarations to be made.

All re-appointments were made in consultation with Ministers in the Devolved Administrations and approved by the Prime Minister.

Notes for editors

The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) is the UK Government’s independent advisor and watchdog for sustainable development. The SDC is sponsored by Defra on a day-to-day level, on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

Under the current Chair, Jonathon Porritt, the SDC has 17 Commissioners, each with expertise in a particular field.


Ann Finlayson has worked in the environmental field for nearly 30 years. Initially this was in forestry and micro-climate research in upland Britain before teaching, facilitating and consulting in a number of countries around the world including Papua New Guinea, Australia and Canada.

On returning to the UK, Ann Finlayson worked for WWF-UK and was responsible for developing the online approaches to workshops, discussions and networks, later becoming the WWF-UK Head of the Social Change department in 2002.

Ann Finlayson brings to the SDC a working knowledge of formal, informal and non-formal education and a broad global perspective on education. As an SDC Commissioner, Ann has advised on the design and running of capability building sessions for sustainable development in Government departments and plays a significant role in promoting sustainability in the education sector.

Dr. Stewart Davies has twenty years experience in general management and strategy in industry including Managing Director roles in Corus, Rugby Cement and Serco. Stewart brings this operational and strategic business perspective to the role of Business Commissioner at the Sustainable Development Commission. He has led the SDC's input to the Government’s Business Taskforce on Sustainable Production & Consumption, Building Schools for the Future, the Government's Strategy for Sustainable Construction, the Industrial Biotechnology Innovation & Growth Team and Mobility 2020.

Waheed Saleem has held a number of management positions in different areas within the health service. He has previously worked at senior levels in commissioning, hospital management, primary care and capital planning. A graduate of the London School of Economics in Social Policy, he has a background in chairing and representing young people in different forums.

Waheed Saleem’s interests are in social policy, especially in the fields of environment, climate change, health, social exclusion, crime, diversity and youth policy.


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Page published: 8 May 2009

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs