Contact Professor David Grayson, CBE


David is Emeritus Professor of Corporate Responsibility. From 2007-2017, he was director of the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility and Professor of Corporate Responsibility. 

He joined Cranfield in April 2007, after a thirty year career as a social entrepreneur and campaigner for responsible business, diversity, and small business development. This included founding Project North East which has now worked in nearly 60 countries around the world; being the founding CEO of the Prince's Youth Business Trust and serving as a managing-director of Business in the Community. 

David has an Honorary Doctorate of Law from London South Bank University and was a visiting Senior Fellow at the CSR Initiative of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard (2005-10).

He has served on various charity and public sector boards over the past 30 years. These have included the boards of the National Co-operative Development Agency, The Prince of Wales' Innovation Trust and the Strategic Rail Authority. 

He chaired the National Disability Council and the Business Link Accreditation Board; in each case appointed by the Major Government and re-appointed by the Blair administration. 

He is currently chairman of the Institute of Business Ethics and chair-designate of the international, pan-disability charity Leonard Cheshire.

He is a former chairman of the charity Carers UK championing the role of 6.5million Britons caring for a loved one; and of one of the UK's larger social enterprises and largest eldercare providers, Housing 21 during which the organisation made corporate history by becoming the first-ever not-for-profit successfully to acquire a publicly quoted group of companies. David received an OBE for services to industry in 1994 and a CBE for services to disability in 1999.

The Guardian has named David as one of ten top global tweeters on sustainable leadership alongside Al Gore, Tim Cook - CEO of Apple, and Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg: @DavidGrayson_

Current activities

Social entrepreneur and campaigner for responsible business, diversity, and small business development.

He speaks, writes and advises regularly on business, society, entrepreneurialism, and future trends for businesses, media and business schools around the world. He has worked with many, leading global businesses including BP, Shell, Microsoft and Diageo. He has worked with international institutions such as the OECD, the European Union, and the World Bank. He is a regular key-note speaker for business conferences internationally. 

He is a regular contributor to, columnist and editorial advisory board member for The Ethical Corporation now Reuters Sustainable Business ( He sat on the Corporate Responsibility stakeholder advisory groups for innocent, Camelot and Lloyds Banking Group. David is a member of the faculty of The Forward Institute and part of the Circle of Advisers for Business Fights Poverty.

David has a long-term personal interest and involvement in Social Care, Good Later Life, Disability Rights & Inclusion and Carers and Caring. He serves as a member of the advisory board of The Advanced Care Research Centre (ACRC) at University of Edinburgh, established with the support of Legal & General.

His books include: "Everybody's Business" (2001) and "Corporate Social Opportunity: Seven Steps to make Corporate Social Responsibility work for your business" (2004) - both co-authored with Adrian Hodges; "Corporate Responsibility Coalitions: The Past, Present, and Future of Alliances for Sustainable Capitalism" co-authored with Jane Nelson, published by Greenleaf Publishing and Stanford University Press (2013); "Social Intrapreneurism & all that Jazz (2014) co-authored with Melody McLaren and Heiko Spitzeck; and "Take Care: How to be a great employer for working carers." (2017)  He has also contributed to several other books including "The Accountable Corporation,"  (2005),  "Mainstreaming Corporate Responsibility" (2010) and "Managing Sustainable Business: An Executive Education Case and Textbook" (2018).

His most recent book is "All In: The Future of Business Leadership" co-authored with Chris Coulter of GlobeScan and Mark Lee from SustainAbility.

David continues to teach and mentor at Cranfield, including the Full-time and Executive MBA programmes, the MScs in Corporate Sustainability and in Entrepreneurship, and on open executive programmes.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers

  • Grayson D (2010)

    Social Intrapreneurs: an extra force for social innovation

    . In: CSI International Research Conference: Intersecting Transformations Business and the Third Sector, Sydney, 1 June 2010.
  • Amaeshi K & Grayson D (2008) Count me out: The challenges of environmental, social and governance risks in making investment decisions. In: EABIS 2008 Colloquium: Corporate Responsibility & Sustainability, Cranfield.


  • Grayson D, Coulter C & Lee M (2018) All In: The Future of Business Leadership. Routledge / Greenleaf.
  • Grayson & CBE D (2018) Beyond BP: The Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Horizon Disaster 2010. In: Managing Sustainable Business: An Executive Education Case and Textbook, Springer, p. 21-34.
  • Grayson D (2017) Take Care: How to be a great employer for working carers. Emerald Publishing.
  • Cardarelli T, Grayson D & Dickmann M (2016) Human Resources and Corporate Responsibility. In: International Human Resource Management - Contemporary Human Resource Issues in Europe, Routledge, p. 190-218.
  • Grayson D, McLaren M & Spitzeck H (2014) Social Intrapreneurism and All That Jazz. Greenleaf Publishing.
  • Grayson D & Nelson J (2013) Corporate Responsibility Coalitions: The Past, Present and Future of Alliances for Sustainable Capitalism. Greenleaf Publishing.
  • Grayson D, Exter N (eds), (2012) Cranfield on Corporate Sustainability, UK: Greenleaf Publishing.
  • Kakabadse A & Grayson D (2012) Embedding the governance of responsibility in the business of the board. In: Cranfield on Corporate Sustainability. Grayson D, Exter N (ed.), Sheffield, UK: Greenleaf Publishing, p. 64-79.
  • Grayson D (2012) Overview of embedding corporate sustainability. In: Cranfield on corporate sustainability. Grayson D, Exter N (ed.), UK: Greenleaf Publishing, p. 7-26.
  • Grayson D (2010) United Kingdom. In: The World Guide to CSR. Visser W, Tolhurst N (ed.), Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing, p. 437-444, ed. 1.
  • Grayson D (2010) Strategy for a Sustainable Future. In: Making Sustainability Sustainable, World Council for Corporate Governance, ed. 29/10/2010.
  • Grayson D & Brown R (2009) Innocent: Values and Value. In: Mainstreaming Corporate Responsibility. Smith C and Lenssen G (ed.), London: Wiley, p. 311-332.
  • Grayson D (2005) Inspiring smaller firms with the responsible business mindset. In: The Accountable Corporation. Epstein M & Hanson K (ed.), Connecticut: Preager.
  • Grayson D & Hodges A (2004) Corporate Social Opportunity!: Seven Steps to Make Corporate Social Responsibility Work for Your Business. Greenleaf Publishing.
  • Grayson D & Hodges A (2002) Everybody's Business - managing risks and opportunities in today's global society. London: DK, ed. 1.
  • Grayson D (2000) In search of Community plc UK. In: What if: Fifteen versions of change for Britain's inner cities. Hutton W et al (ed.), London: The Short Book Company.
  • Grayson D (1998) Jobs the need for immediate relief. In: Blueprint 2000: A Conservative policy towards employment in the next century. Harvey R (ed.), London: Macmillan Press.