Soil Association Certification has appointed Dominic Robinson as its new chief executive officer, replacing the retiring Martin Sawyer

Soil Association Certification has announced the appointment of Dominic Robinson to take over from Martin Sawyer as chief executive officer, highlighting Robinson’s wealth of experience in environmental and forestry organisations and familiarity with the organisation, its people and purpose, and the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Robinson has had a close working relationship with Soil Association Certification since 2018 as an independent member of its Scrutiny Committee, being responsible for ensuring impartiality in decision making and the integrity of standards.

He moves to the Soil Association from Severn Trent Water where he was head of visitor experience for five years, responsible for managing the public, land and assets across 30 reservoirs.

“Working with partners across the land management and recreation sector, Dominic secured capital investment to develop the sites for the benefit of customers, local communities and the environment,” the Soil Association stated. “Before this he was with Forestry England where he was responsible for certification of the 250,000ha public forest estate ensuring compliance with the UK Woodland Assurance Standard for FSC and PEFC certification.”

Dominic Robinson

Dominic Robinson

Other roles have included managing Bedgebury Pinetum and Forest, home to the National Conifer Collection, as well as a number of senior roles with The Forestry Commission.

“This is such an exciting time to be joining Soil Association Certification,” Robinson said. “The demand for sustainable products and the need for hallmarks that can be trusted has never been so strong and is only going to increase. I am proud to be part of such an esteemed organisation, working with a passionate team to realise the opportunities that lie ahead.

“Key to my approach is to create connections, nurture relationships and build partnerships to achieve more together – for the benefit of people and the environment. I will be looking to bring this into the CEO position, seeking to work with producers, clients, retailers, certification bodies and consumers to increase the market share of organic and sustainable forest products as well as the continued growth of carbon markets and ecosystem services.”

Robinson studied geography at Cambridge University and worked with Ryton Garden Organic to undertake research into nitrogen-fixing organic farming rotations. He then studied Environmental Technology at Imperial College London before joining an expedition with the British Trust for Ornithology and Cambridge University to Siberia to identify High Conservation Value areas for FSC certification.

Soil Association Group CEO Helen Browning welcomed Robinson and thanked Sawyer for his “admirable” leadership over the past seven years, including through the “trials and tribulations of Brexit and Covid”.

“I know that the whole organisation and our symbol holders will want to thank him for everything he has done for us,” she said, “as I do.”