Jonathan Wild, former chairman and chief executive of one of Yorkshire’s best-known businesses, Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate, has been presented with an honorary degree by the University of Leeds in recognition of his outstanding achievements.
The Honorary Doctorate of Laws was conferred upon Jonathan following his 30 year career with Bettys & Taylors. During this time, the company was regularly featured in the Sunday Times ‘Best 100 Companies to work for’ list and in 2007 it was honoured at the highest level when it received its second Queen’s Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, only awarded to companies with the highest social and ethical values.
Jonathan is also a passionate conservationist and during the last 20 years he has led the company’s initiative to plant three million trees in tea and coffee growing countries around the world through the ‘Trees for Life’ scheme. The business has now moved from planting trees to preventing their destruction with the launch of the Yorkshire Rainforest Project which aims to help save an area of rainforest the size of Yorkshire.
“It is, of course, a tremendous honour to be recognised in this way, particularly by such a great university. I have seen firsthand some of the outstanding work carried out by its world-leading experts in the School of Earth and the Environment through their involvement in the United Bank of Carbon, a charity of which I am a trustee,” explains Jonathan.
“The School has been instrumental in helping us to create the largest database of certified rainforest protection projects in the world which we are now seeking to partner with businesses. It’s a great example of how businesses and the academic world can work together.”
Honorary degrees were also be conferred upon Corinne Bailey Rae; biologist Professor David Stuart; and NHS Director General of Research and Development, Dame Sally Davies.