Former chief executive of the Mersey Basin Campaign, Walter Menzies, was surprised with an award for Lifetime Achievement at the Northwest Business Environment Awards yesterday.
Walter received his award from guest speaker and co-founder of Forum for the Future, Jonathon Porritt, who opened the event by speaking on the importance of business leadership for creating a sustainable future.
Todd Holden, the director of ENWORKS, which hosted this year’s awards, said: "It’s difficult to overestimate the value of what Walter has been able to create in the North West over the last 25 years. Both through his work at Sustainability Northwest and more latterly at the Mersey Basin Campaign, and through his membership of different boards, he has been a great asset to the region.
"I have never had a conversation with Walter where he hasn’t told me something I didn’t know, inspired me or made me laugh, and that’s a true reflection of a great leader.
"Although Water has stepped down from the Mersey Basin Campaign, he is still very much a leader, but a leader in his own right, helping to take the region forward to where it needs to be."
Educated as an architect and urban designer in Edinburgh and Oxford, Walter’s early career was in private practice in London. He first embarked on his journey of championing sustainability and environmental concerns when he became chief executive at Groundwork Macclesfield in 1984.
In the 26 years that followed he has become an inspirational promoter of sustainability in the North West and his influence has spread far and wide, to national and international levels.
Walter was the founding chief executive of Sustainability Northwest, a ground-breaking organisation described by Jonathon Porritt at the time as a model for the sister body he went on to establish, Sustainability South West. Sustainability Northwest drew senior partners from across the region to engage in the challenges of climate change and debate the environmental issues of the day.
Walter went on to take an active role in the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission, helping to position the North West as being at the forefront of sustainable policy in the national eye.
In the North West today, Walter is probably best known for his achievements as chief executive of the long-running Mersey Basin Campaign, which pioneered integrated approaches to river basin management and concluded its work in March 2010.
During his time with the non-profit organisation he achieved a substantial profile for the programme. He engaged with communities and overcame a range of hurdles to exceed targets and leave a legacy the North West can be proud of.
Walter is widely recognised as a champion in his field. Today, he works as an independent advocate and advisor on sustainable development and regeneration and is currently involved with the Mersey Tidal Power project with Peel Energy, and Adapting the Landscape, with the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA).
He holds non-executive board positions at the Land Restoration Trust and Waterwise, works as an advisor to the NWDA and Place Northwest, and as sustainable development consultant on the advisory board to the Centre for Sustainable Urban and Regional Futures at the University of Salford.
The 2010 Northwest Business Environment Awards ceremony took place on Tuesday 19 October at The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester and was attended by 250 guests from across the region, including business leaders and members of the media.
Posted 20 October 2010