Nigel Tuersley is a social entrepreneur whose thirty-year career has been driven by a life-long passion for sustainability, defined by challenging, large-scale initiatives at the cutting edge of this transition.
Having achieved financial independence through property activities while studying for a masters degree in ecology, his thirties were focused on an ambitious series of projects across the sustainability spectrum from the first major proposals for the regeneration of London’s Docklands in the early 1980’s to groundbreaking programmes in rainforest conservation in West Africa in the mid 1980’s , to the co-founding in the late 1980’s of Gaiacorp, a €100m currency investment group, controlled by an environmental foundation and credited with the world’s top performing fund for all investment sectors worldwide during the three years of his managing directorship.
All of these activities – and since – involved origination, funding, organization-building and project management from start-up to full operations, most at the forefront of technological development and industry practice: quintessential venture capital projects in fields as diverse as property, conservation, agriculture, agroforestry, pharmacology, medicine, media and the internet – but all underpinned with a social/environmental purpose.
In pursuit of these projects, he has raised over $500m in debt and equity funding – all for start-up enterprises.
Property continued as a mainstream activity over the next two decades: in the 90’s, with the acquisition and restoration of listed buildings in Bloomsbury, Mayfair and Chelsea, the development of Wardour Castle, Wiltshire (described by The Times as ‘one of the most exciting and ambitious restoration projects this century’); promotion of a major urban extension opportunity in Kent, triggering a £1.5bn regeneration programme; assembly and leadership of a UK, Spanish and Canadian consortium to restore Old Havana, Cuba; and the masterplanning of West Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands, including proposals for a $250m traditional marina and resort.
The following decade focused on the regeneration of market towns in south west England, including responsibility for highly acclaimed masterplans for Bradford upon Avon and Trowbridge, Wiltshire – the latter catalysing the government-backed Vision for Trowbridge initiative; and the establishment of Classical Renaissance, a group of companies backed by a consortium of international investors to develop new, zero carbon traditional villages in selected mountain areas of Spain.
A common denominator in all of these activities is the early identification of significant opportunities, particularly where these involve a forward view on planning prospects. More importantly, however, all were pursued with the objective of furthering a more enlightened approach to sustainability in planning, architecture and urban development, based on a fusion of the old and new: classical and traditional design, and advanced technology.
Convinced that the trajectory of society is, on current projections, terminal, he is now focused on two priorities: carbon reduction, through technological, regulatory and social change; and the wider sustainability agenda, consolidating all of his previous career interests in a new non-profit organization, Natural Order.