Robin Murray

Fellow

Robin Murray is an industrial economist. He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford, and at the London School of Economics. He joined the London Business School, where he lectured in Economics, and then moved to the Institute of Development Studies, the national centre for the study and teaching of development at the University of Sussex, where he was a Fellow for 20 years.

During this time he acted as a consultant on industrial and development issues to a wide range of governments, and served as Director of Industry in the Greater London Council in the 1980s and as a Director of Development in the Government of Ontario in the 1990s.

This work led him to the conclusion that there was a major role that could be played in achieving social goals by mission driven third sector companies. In the field of development he co-founded Twin and Twin Trading in 1985. Twin works with existing farmers co-operatives, and helps establishes new ones, while Twin Trading imports and sells their products in the UK. They have in turn established producer co-owned branding companies, in coffee, chocolate, fresh fruit and nuts. Together with their partners, this group of companies (of which he currently chairs two and is a board member of a further three) now has a turnover of £90 million, and acts as a trading and marketing arm for some 300,000 small farmers.

In parallel he has also developed a range of new ventures in the environmental field. His interest here is in the economy of distributed systems, and their potential for environmental and social sustainability. He co-founded the environmental partnership Ecologika, whose members work in the fields of waste, energy, transport, food and health. As a group they played a major role in the re-direction of UK waste policy over the past decade, including new venture formation, and have more recently worked as advisers to the Deputy Mayor of London in establishing first the London Climate Change Agency, and then a London-wide Green Homes concierge service. They are currently working with the Deputy Mayor on a project to develop plug-in hybrid vehicles (which have the potential to transform both the energy and the auto industries).

From 2004-5 he was seconded to the Design Council as Director of RED, its innovation unit, where he led the team working on new forms of health care, particularly in the areas of chronic disease management and public health.