Scott Poynton graduated from the Australian National University School of Forestry in 1987. He gained practical forestry experience working in Tasmania for two years before studying a Masters of Forestry at Oxford. In 1993 he embarked on a career outside of Australia, starting with work on a reforestation project in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.
He founded The Forest Trust (TFT) in 1999 because he wanted to support companies to adopt a values-based approach to everything they do, to set themselves free to pursue what they truly believe. CEO of TFT until 2016, Scott is now mentoring and supporting the new leadership team, as well as writing and speaking about TFT's experiences and the lessons we've learned bringing change to so many different situations.
Scott has worked in Africa, Europe, across Asia and the Americas and has a wealth of experience bringing change to a variety of industries, particularly the forest and wood, palm oil and pulp and paper sectors. He supported community and company dialogue processes, helping found the first ever Pygmy language community radio station in the Congo Basin. To build capacity to bring change in complex social contexts he came up with idea for the Centre for Social Excellence in Cameroon which has now expanded to Indonesia. It’s all about improving relationships and Adaptive Leadership in complex, wicked situations that has included mediation of many major conflicts between NGOs and companies.
He was deeply engaged in the certification movement for many years but became concerned and an increasingly vocal critic since disengaging in 2012. This inspired him to write the book ‘Beyond Certification,’ which is about going way out beyond the status quo to explore and implement new values-based ways to better conduct our relationship with nature and each other, particularly relating to product supply chains and natural resources. Scott believes that it’s now time to go digital in this supply chain space and to expand the use of poetry, music, art and philosophy to bring change. He is a true believer that change is always possible if we can set it free. In 2016, Scott launched TFT's Earthworm programme. Earthworm is a high trust learning community of people who are actively working to bring positive change into their work and the organisations they work in.