Pooran Desai

Social Entrepreneur

Pooran studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities before co-founding Bioregional, an international environmental network operating in Europe, North America, Central America, Africa and Australia.  He has worked in sustainable farming, forestry, recycling & real estate development, drawing together the partnership to construct Beddington Zero (fossil) Energy Development (BedZED), the UK’s foremost eco-village development where he lives and works.  Pooran coined the term ‘One Planet Living’ and heads up BioRegional’s One Planet Communities programme working with developers around the world, leading teams which have written sustainability plans for a total of $30 billion of development under construction or planned – including Masdar City in Abu Dhabi and the Mata de Sesimbra project in Portugal.  The network includes SOMO, being developed by Codding Enterprises in Sonoma County.

Pooran is a real estate developer in the UK.  One Planet Communities include the ground-breaking One Brighton development which he brokered, becoming sustainability director of the joint venture real estate development company Crest Nicholson Bioregional Quintain. 

In 2004, Pooran was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire by the Queen for services to sustainable development and in 2007 was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects.  In 2009 he was named in the top 5 most influential people of the decade in the construction industry by Building Magazine. He and his wife, Sue Riddlestone, who is Bioregional’s co-founder, are recognised as world leading social entrepreneurs, receiving a $750K Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2009 and named World Economic Forum Schwab  Foundation European Social Entrepreneurs of Year 2011. In addition in March 2013, The Cleantech Group named Pooran a Cleantech Pioneer for his work on social and environmental innovation in real estate.

Pooran has authored or co-authored 3 books, his last being ‘One Planet Communities – a real life guide to sustainable living’ which was published by John Wiley in November 2009.


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