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Biography

Pooran Desai OBE HonFRIBA Co-founder of Bioregional Development Group, & International Director of Bioregional’s One Planet Communities programme.

Pooran studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities before becoming a serial social entrepreneur, real estate developer and sustainability advisor to government and the private sector. He co-founded international environmental organisation, Bioregional Development Group in 1994 with his wife, Sue Riddlestone. He has set up enterprises in sustainable farming, forestry, recycling & eco-housing. In 1998, he drew together the partnership to construct Beddington Zero (fossil) Energy Development (BedZED), the UK’s foremost eco-village development where he lives and works.

In 2002, he coined the term ‘One Planet Living’® and since then he has led teams creating sustainability action plans for over $30 billion of mixed-use projects in Europe, North America, Middle East, China and Australia. Pooran has experience as a real estate developer, for example putting together and developing the 172 unit Zero Carbon One Brighton project in the UK – the UK’s largest car-free development. He is currently using his practical experience to create a new digital platform for cities to accelerate transformation to a One Planet future.

Pooran has lectured widely including at the following universities: Cambridge University, London School of Economics, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Curtin University and the University of Kwa Zulu Natal.
He has authored or co-authored three books, the last being ‘One Planet Communities’ published by John Wiley in 2009. He was given a Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2009 and made a 2011 European Social Entrepreneur of the Year by World Economic Forum Schwab Foundation. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects and received the Officer of the Order of the British Empire medal from Queen Elizabeth II.