John Phillips OAM

Director, Think Environment

John Phillips OAM is Director of Think Environment Pty Ltd, offering specialist environmental sustainability program skills in education, project management and community engagement. John brings knowledge and experience working across all levels of government, industry and community through engagement and delivery of a wide scope of practical behavioural change initiatives.

John retired as Chief Executive Officer of iconic South Australian environmental sustainability education NGO KESAB in July 2020, leading the organisation for over 30 years to become a well-recognised and creditable Australian NGO, building capacity through supporting waste reform and sustainability initiatives, resource recovery via stewardship and advocacy programs influencing diversions of problematic waste streams, and underpinning Circular Economy innovation and technology based strategies.

Capacity building initiatives embrace a strong focus on UN Sustainability Goals engaging communities to activate social enterprise by participation, education, innovation and change.  

John has 30 years’ experience engaging government, industry and community facilitating behavioural change with specific focus in environmental sustainability, litter research and reduction, recycling, resource recovery, waste auditing, catchment water management, pollution reduction, remote aboriginal community engagement, project management and Circular Economy.

John has experience and knowledge delivering international social enterprise learning and engagement initiatives working with Government, NGO’s and communities in India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Kiribati in the mid Pacific.

John currently holds, or has held, numerous positions including:

  • Presented Life Membership KESAB environmental solutions 2020
  • President Waste Management & Resource Recovery Association of Australia WMRR - SA (2018 - current)
  • Member “Turning the Tide Single Use Plastics Task Group South Australia” (2019 - 2020)
  • Member Green Industries SA Recycling Education High Level Working Group (2019 - 2020)
  • Member EPA (SA) High Level Waste Reform Advisory Group (current)
  • KABN National Litter Index Data and Research program Coordinator 
  • Instigated STEMSEL (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths, Social Enterprise Learning) Teacher PD Malaysia (Oct 2016), India (Aug 2016), Indonesia (Jan 17) Thailand 2019)
  • Facilitated “Women in Waste” Global Forum ARTDO Sri Lanka 2019
  • Kiribati Sustainability Education & Community Engagement Project 2018 (DFAT)
  • Implemented Mongolia waste education and industry engagement program (2017 - 2018)
  • Member EPA (SA) “Local Nuisance & Litter Control Legislation” Working Group (2015 – 2016)
  • Director Container Deposit Systems Australia (Developing technology to drive productivity and data management in CDS depot facilities)
  • Member GISA Circular Economy Leadership Delegation (India August 2015, Thailand April 2019)
  • Member “Dob In A Litterer” Task Group (2014 – 2015)
  • Ernst & Young Social Enterprise Entrepreneur of the Year South Australia /Northern Territory 2009
  • Member Patawalonga Catchment Water Management Board (2000 – 2006)
  • Member South Australian Plastic Shopping Bag Ban Task Force 2007/08
  • Chair Waste Management Association (SA) Conference Committee 2006 and 2008 
  • Patron SA Police Academy Course 11 (2007/2008)
  • Board Member EPA SA (2000 – 2004)
  • Awarded Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) 2000
  • Fellow of the Fundraising Institute of Australia 2000
  • Life Governor of Apex Australia 1990
  • Chair ATSUMARI Young Men’s Service Clubs South East Asian Region Council 1989 (NZ, HK, Philippines, India, Bangladesh, PNG, Sri Lanka, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia)
  • National President Apex Australia 1986