17th June 2023




David Shreeve, co-founder and Director of The Conservation Foundation and an Environmental Adviser to the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England, has been awarded an MBE in the King’s Birthday Honours: “For services to the Environment”.

David was among the first to introduce an entrepreneurial angle to the world of promoting environmental awareness and concern, in so doing providing a way for businesses and other organisations to become actively involved in positive environmental action.

David Bellamy & David Shreeve in 1982

David launched The Conservation Foundation in 1982 with the late Professor David Bellamy, well-known for his popular television programmes and environmental campaigns, and since then The Conservation Foundation has created and managed a large number of programmes, projects and award schemes covering a wide range of environmental issues working with companies, businesses, the media, prisons, trade associations and official bodies.

HRH Prince Philip planting an elm tree at Windsor Castle.

David Shreeve’s projects involving trees have received particular attention. The Conservation Foundation grew out of ‘Elms Across Europe’, which he had created for the office equipment company Pitney Bowes, while working as its public relations consultant. David’s refusal to give up on the elm, in the wake of Dutch elm disease, has kept this much-loved tree at the heart of The Conservation Foundation’s work over four decades. He is currently writing a book ‘Great British Elms’ for RBG Kew with the journalist Mark Seddon.

Bishop Holtham (centre) with David Shreeve and Claire Foster-Gilbert, co-authors of ‘Don’t Stop at the Lights’

David began his links with the Church of England by creating ‘Yews for the Millennium’ which provided young trees propagated from ancient yews for churches and parishes to celebrate the year 2000.  Special services were held in every diocese to distribute the trees. David also co-wrote, with Dr Claire Foster-Gilbert, ‘How many lightbulbs does it take to change a Christian?’ and ‘Don’t Stop at the Lights’.  Other tree projects include ‘Morus Londinium’ on the heritage of London’s mulberries.

Over the years, The Conservation Foundation has collected a unique archive of environmental books and publications which, as part of its 40th anniversary celebrations this year, has been presented to the University of Kent.

In 2003 David Shreeve received a rare Lambeth Degree for his work and the influence it had on the Church of England’s understanding of environmental issues.  His collection of books on the environment and faith has recently been presented to the new Lambeth Palace Library.

David & Jacqui Shreeve

David Shreeve was born and brought up in Devon and now lives in West London with his wife Jacqui.

“I have been very touched to discover the number of contacts and colleagues who have supported this honour,” says David Shreeve.  “I am delighted that it has been one of the first given by our new King as he has been the one ‘constant’ throughout my environmental career.  He wrote messages of support featured on two of the Foundation’s very first projects and despite all the changes over the years, he remains totally committed to the cause – and that’s something I know is not always easy.”