In the 1990s Derek Osborn was Director General of the Environment in the UK. For the past fifteen years has pursued a mixed career as an environmentalist in the public, private, voluntary and academic sectors. He serves on Boards or as an adviser or mentor in each of these sectors.
From 1995 to 2000 he was Chairman of the Management Board of the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen. Until September 2010 he was a member of the European Economic and Social Committee and vice-chair of their Sustainable Development Observatory, and is continuing as an occasional adviser to them on sustainable development issues.
In 2009 he was a member of an international peer group commissioned by the German Government to review sustainable development policies in Germany. Its report (Sustainability “Made in Germany”) was published in September 2009. Chancellor Merkel has invited the same peer group to conduct a follow-up review during 2012-2013.