My name is Phil Smith and I am a co-founder and chairman of the trustees of this co-operative movement; a family man, a father and a grandfather who has only recently gotten round to appreciating that we need to regain the power and influence in this world in order to leave something good for those who follow in our footsteps.
Born and bred in Cambridge, England, the son of a gipsy father and aristocratic mother (the ultimate rags to riches love affair) I completed a formal education and moved into business – first, to work in my father’s haulage and removals business but then to find my own feet in the corporate world. I worked for such corporate giants as the Prudential Assurance Company, the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co and the Huntsman Corporation; from sales agent to regional manager, UK sales manager, European General Manager and, ultimately as European Managing Director, living and working in Germany for 5 years. It was at this time that I was elected to the position of Chairman of the European PVC Film Manufacturing Association (EPFMA) and then re-elected for a second term. Nothing very environmentally-friendly in those organisations at the time, I hear you say! But the experience of running large organisations and chairing key associations will, I feel, have helped me to develop into the individual I am today, able to play a worthwhile role in the formation and running of the co-operative and the foundation.
After returning to England, I lived first in Surrey and then moved northwards, to Cheshire, where I still live today. Here, I became Chief Executive of an OFEX-listed company and led it to a listing on the Alternative Investment Market of the London Stock Exchange (AIM) raising circa £5million in the process, so I understand about funding and financing. Over the past few years I decided that big is not necessarily beautiful, especially in the corporate world of dog eat dog, so I started looking around to put something back and, about six or seven years ago, was introduced to Emlyn Mousley, the brains and ideas man behind this journey we are embarking upon. I now sit on the board of trustees of two not-for-profit organisations, Save the Earth being one.
So, I certainly wouldn’t describe myself as a natural environmentalist and I don’t understand a lot of what “being green” is all about – but I’m learning fast! I’m definitely not an activist but I now see you don’t need to be an activist if you belong to a well-thought-out movement of like-minded individuals, most of whom know a good deal more than I do but who all respect and value each other’s contributions to the whole. By the people, for the people – and every member gets a vote.
One thing I know is that I am is a granddad to four beautiful grandchildren who will only be better off and live in a safer, more settled society if changes are made – and soon! We cannot leave it any later to make those changes – to bring about the change we wish to see in this world so that our children and grandchildren can benefit and stop living in a world of hatred, famine and war.
Interests; family, F1 motor racing, the new sport of Stingball®, cooking, health & fitness.