Environment Directorate

Simon Upton, Director, Environment Directorate



Simon Upton


Environment Directorate

Simon Upton is the Environment Director at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Environment Directorate is responsible for Environmental Performance Reviews of Member Countries, the economic analysis of policy instruments used to improve environmental outcomes and a wide range of work related to water, biodiversity, climate and chemicals. Mr. Upton played a key role in the development of the OECD’s Green Growth Strategy.

The team he leads recently released the Environmental Outlook to 2050 – a model-based analysis of the environmental consequences of business-as-usual growth at the global level.  The Directorate is now working to develop a better understanding of the economic costs of environmental damage and the benefits of taking pre-emptive action to limit that damage.

Mr. Upton is a former New Zealand Parliamentarian whose political career, between 1981 and 2000, included nine years as a Minister.  His portfolios included Environment, Research, Biosecurity, Health and State Services.

As Environment Minister he chaired the 7th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development and the 1998 meeting of OECD Environment Ministers.

Between his retirement from political life in 2000 and taking up his present role at the OECD, Mr. Upton combined his chairmanship of the Round Table on Sustainable Development at the OECD with a variety or private sector roles in New Zealand.


Mr. Upton is a member of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment & Development.

He is a Fellow of the Royal New Zealand Society and a Rhodes Scholar with degrees in English literature, music and law from the University of Auckland and has an MLitt in political philosophy from Oxford University.

He is married to Bhaady Miller, an accountant, and has two children, Geoffrey and Laura.


Click here for a high-resolution photo of Mr. Upton.



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