Purposeful entrepreneur and food waste campaigner
Jonathan Straight is a purposeful entrepreneur and food waste campaigner. He is brand ambassador and sustainability advisor to Surplus Group, a one-stop-shop for surplus products, maximising efficiency in supply chains and diverting perfectly good food, drink, and household consumable products to where they can generate the best social or financial value.
For the past seven years, Jonathan has assisted Surplus Group with building their environmental credentials as well as generally advising on strategy and marketing. On behalf of the company, he is a member of the Courtauld 2030 Redistribution Working Group and is a former member of the Courtauld 2030 Steering Group.
Jonathan began his career in sales and marketing in the menswear and fitted furniture sectors but quickly spotted an opportunity in recycling and with a keen interest in green issues, volunteered for Save Waste and Prosper, a small recycling consultancy in Leeds. This led to a consultancy role with a plastics producer, Paxton, part of the McKechnie Group, a multinational industrial conglomerate, and an early entrant to the recycling container market.
An entrepreneur, he set up his own business in 1993, to supply containers for collecting, storing, separating, and transporting recyclable materials, just as kerbside recycling was gathering momentum in the UK. Ten years later, the now thriving company was listed on the London Stock Exchange AIM and grew rapidly, acquiring several other businesses including a key competitor. Straight plc was the first company to use the Carbon Label on a recycling bin and produced the word’s first carbon neutral waste bin. It was a founding member of the Social Stock Exchange, hence one of very few listed companies with defined social and environmental metrics. Jonathan oversaw the sale of the business to the Irish One51 Group in 2014 at which point it was delisted from the stock market and he moved on to pursue a portfolio career.
As well as his work for Surplus Group Jonathan is involved with several start-ups and sits on the board of a number of charities, including the international waste management charity WasteAid of which he is chair. Previously he has chaired the food waste charity The Real Junk Food Project, and for a decade was a non-executive director of water conservation NGO Waterwise. Jonathan is a member of the British Library Advisory Council and is also a published and exhibited award-winning photographer.
A long-standing advocate of waste reduction and recycling, avoiding food waste is a cause that Jonathan is passionate about. His work with Surplus Group and Courtauld 2030 is about identifying and breaking down barriers to diverting more surplus food for human consumption. to raise awareness, and to educate all parties to better understand food labelling.
Topics of expertise include:
– Environmental business and purposeful entrepreneurship
– Profit v Purpose
– Recycling and food waste
Jonathan is an experienced public speaker, presenter and chair.