Reflections on environmental sustainability and social entrepreneurship
Andrew Dakers grew up in Brentford, West London and he still lives and works locally. Andrew is a tireless campaigner on both local and global issues.
Read Andrew's recent article on the Guardian Sustainable Business website.
Andrew’s career has spanned IT at the BBC, business change management at GlaxoSmithKline, campaigning for WWF-UK, leading Public Affairs at corporate responsibility charity Business in the Community, and now leading Spark! a West London-based Education Business Partnership. For several years Andrew was a founder director of fast fashion brand Strawberry Kats. He has worked in Fiji, India, Uganda and the USA, and gained an MSc Development Management from The Open University in 2002. Andrew undertakes a range of freelance consultancy focusing on ‘wicked problems’. His particular focus, under the umbrella of The Cooperatition Incubator, is on competition law reform that will enable companies to collaborate on voluntary agreements that deliver greater sustainability. He also tutors in Business Ethics & Sustainability on the University of Bradford's MBA programme.
Andrew has authored and co-edited a range of publications over the past few years:
• Sustainable food in Hounslow, January 2007
• Brentford High Street - The Community Vision, November 2007
• Hounslow Climate Change Fund, February 2008
• The 2007 Leadership Summit on the Talent Challenge - Progress Report to the Prime Minister, BITC, July 2008
• Corporate responsibility and the financial crisis, BITC, October 2008
• Response to Conservative Party Commission on Waste and Voluntary Agreements, BITC, December 2008
• The talent challenge facing the UK 2008-2020 – and the response from responsible business, All Party Parliamentary Group on Corporate Responsibility, December 2008
• Responsibility in a recession: Checklist for responsible restructuring and downsizing, BITC, January 2009
• Green talent – Creating a low carbon economy, BITC, February 2009
• Stopping expansion by stealth: The Cranford Agreement Bill, February 2010
• Regenerating Gunnersbury Park, local history museum and mansions: A way forward, February 2010
Whilst Andrew has now stepped back from the front-line of party politics at a local level to concentrate on campaigning for improvements to the competition law framework, during his time as a political activist in West London (2000-10) - and as a councillor (2006-10) - he worked on a range of issues:
• Climate change: Called for the Council to establish a £1m climate change investment fund and successfully challenged the Council to sign up to the 10:10 campaign pledge to reduce its CO2 emissions by 10% in 2010
• Schools expansion: Supported local amenity groups that for many years were highlighting the pressure population growth would put on primary and secondary schools – eventually the Council listened and now has a managed expansion programme in place
• Health services: Queried the carryover of debt from the previous health authority and scrutinised dubious procedures around the retendering of counseling services
• Housing crisis: Suggested that the Council make the Locata housing allocation system easier to use by introducing ‘auto-bidding’ – he is still pushing for the Council to implement its promised pilot
• Historic buildings: Demanded action at Gunnersbury and Boston Manor Parks – and is now challenging the Council to find ways of funding the Gunnersbury regeneration that does not involve building on the corner of the park
• Sustainable urban development: Led drives for further design and environmental sustainability improvements to a number of major developments across the constituency - and established award-winning Brentford High Street Steering Group to fight the decline of the town centre and catalyse regeneration
• Responsible investment: Set out detailed proposals, now broadly adopted by the Council’s pension fund, to raise the responsible investment practices of the authority’s multi-million pound pension fund assets
Andrew was Councillor for Brentford Ward and Leader of Hounslow Liberal Democrats 2006-10. He first ran as a Council Candidate for Syon Ward in May 2002. Andrew spends his evenings chairing the project to regenerate the historic heart of Brentford town centre and as a trustee of social landlord Pathways.
The percentage swing at the General Election to the Lib Dems in Brentford & Isleworth Constituency was 5.2% in 2001, 9.3% when Andrew stood as prospective MP in 2005 and then 0.7% in 2010. With 23.7% vote share (12,718 votes) the constituency is one of the most winnable seats for the Liberal Democrats in the capital, after the seats already held.
When Andrew was elected as a local councillor in 2006 he increased the average Lib Dem vote in Brentford Ward from 355 to 1,106. In 2010, although he missed out on re-election, he secured a further increase in support to 1,663 votes.
In June 2009 Andrew ran a series of four well attended public debates in Brentford, Chiswick, Hounslow and Isleworth, under the banner of ‘Take Back Power Hounslow’.
Given the crisis in confidence in MPs and the political system, as a parliamentary candidate Andrew decided to go further in clarifying the value for money he wanted to bring to the local community. He committed to not claiming the London weighting allowance nor any food allowances.
Hiking, swimming, scuba diving
See ‘Register of Interests’.