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Centre for Sustainable Development

Est 2000 - home of the MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

Charles M Ainger: Consultant in innovation & change for sustainability

Professional Expertise

Charles’ practical engineering experience informs his academic, facilitation, and innovation and sustainability expertise, and couples with his global business and cultural experience. His experience bridges and ‘translates’ across two critical gaps: between engineering practice and academia, and between sustainability, economics and business, and engineering. This gives him the range of understanding, and the skills, to advise on and facilitate innovation and strategic leadership for sustainability in organisations.

More than 41 years of experience in water and environmental engineering, in 16 countries.

  • BA in Mechanical Sciences, University of Cambridge, 1965; MA, 1968
  • MSc in Water Resources Technology, University of Birmingham, 1971
  • MSc in Responsibility and Business Practice, University of Bath, 2001


  • Co-author with Richard Fenner: Sustsinable Infrastructure - Principles into Practice, ICE Publishing, December 2013
  • Visiting Professor in Engineering for Sustainable Development, University of Cambridge, UK 2001 onwards
  • Senior Associate, Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership, 2003 onwards
  • Chairman, Low Carbon Chilterns Co-op Ltd, 2011 onwards

After retirement from the role of MWH UK Sustainable Development Director in April 2008, Charles acts as an independent consultant, with several roles. These include advising on innovation and strategy for sustainability in the water sector, and acting as a facilitator for innovation, strategic thinking and organisational change for sustainability.

He is currently an advisor to UKWIR, since facilitating UKWIR’s strategic research workshop in February 2014; and has been a member of their Quality Panel since 2012.

From 2008 to 2009 he was a member of the Scottish Government’s Project Bard for Stratgeic Overview of Climate Change Policy; this followed being a member of the Scottish Executive’s Flooding Bill Advisory Group, from 2003-2008 (including precursor groups)

He also educates in innovation for sustainable development, as a Visiting Professor at Cambridge University, through the Senior Associate role at Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership; where he is helping educate engineering graduates and Environmental/CSR staff from a range of organisations to implement sustainability strategies. He also works on ‘action learning’ as an Affiliate of the Commonwealth Business School (CBS).


Short short CV: Charles Ainger retired in 2008 after 40 plus years in water engineering worldwide. His part time roles now include sustsinability and strategy consultancy, teaching at Cambridge University Engineering Department, advice to Regulators, and other advisory and expert work.

 His work focuses on facilitating leadership for innovation and change, in organisations moving towards sustainability.

Visting Professor Charles Ainger

Professor Charles Ainger