As Londoners, London’s future is something we all have responsibility for and for our future to be sustainable, we all have to take a leadership role.

The London Sustainable Development Commission’s London Leaders programme tackles this head-on. Sustainability requires partnership, it requires innovation, and above all it requires the kind of solutions that cannot be delivered by one organisation alone.

The London Leaders programme brings together sustainability leaders from all walks of life, from chief executives of large organisations, to community workers and faith leaders, to business entrepreneurs and our very own Passion for the Planet founder, Chantal Cooke. Bringing together such diversity of experience is exciting and rewarding and demonstrates that action at every level is crucial if we are to deliver the changes deep enough, and quick enough, to secure a sustainable future.

London Leaders work to inspire and stimulate change, by leading by example and encouraging others to take positive action. Sustainability can be a difficult concept without a face or a project to its name, so over the last two years we have been working to deliver projects that demonstrate, not just talk about sustainability.

These aren’t just environmental projects; these are projects that take a holistic, joined-up approach to sustainable development, looking to provide environmental, social and economic benefits.

So what have we achieved so far?

Dusty Gedge, founder of Living Roofs, retrofitted two green roofs in central London, providing a whole string of benefits for the building occupants and beyond – stimulating biodiversity, providing amenity space, and having a positive impact for climate change adaptation and reducing the urban heat island effect. Projects like this have helped to make green roofs an important part of London policy, and part of the city’s leadership role in tackling climate change.

Lutfun Hussain and the Coriander Club at Spitalfields City Farm published the Coriander Club Cookbook, full of tasty Bangladeshi recipes and healthy eating tips, the cookbook forms a vital part of the farm’s community outreach work. (I especially recommend Lutfun’s dahl!)

Earlier this summer, Wayne Hemingway and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, opened KiosKiosK, a creative kiosk outside City Hall designed to provide young entrepreneurs with the opportunity to get their foot on the business ladder. The idea has been a great success so expect to see KiosKiosK near you in the not too distant future.

And later in 2009 the London College of Fashion will be announcing the winners of Fashioning the Future, a student competition delivered in association with the London Leaders. The fashion industry has a massive impact on sustainable development across the supply chain and the life cycle of individual products, and the Centre for Sustainable Fashion is at the forefront of innovation, developing and showcasing new solutions for ethical fashion.

This gives you just a taster, but it does show how sustainability touches every industry and requires all London organisations and Londoners to get involved.
And now you can. The London Leaders programme is currently looking for its London Leaders for 2010.

Each year the London Sustainable Development Commission appoints a new group of Leaders. Whether it’s a pan-London business initiative or a small-scale community project, inspirational and practical sustainability action that delivers tangible benefits is the key.

Are you doing something special to make London a better place to live and work now and for the future?

Do you think you could inspire others with your work?

Will stand up and be counted and make your commitment public?

If you are already making extraordinary things happen in London, in our eyes you are already a London Leader.

Join us by applying to be a London Leader and we can help make your sustainability aspirations a reality.

You can find out more on our website or email us.

About the Author: Bryony Mathie is the London Leaders Programme Manager.
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