The former prime minister will take over from former Labour MP Joan Walley, who chaired the Aldersgate Group since 2015.
In the role, Theresa May will support the group’s work campaigning for the delivery of the UK’s net zero emissions, nature restoration targets and ensure the UK can build a “globally thriving” green economy in the process.
The appointment comes as the Aldersgate Group welcomes new business members from the facilities, retail, water, legal and energy sectors, and is involved in three major projects on green finance, resources and waste, and industrial decarbonisation.
The Aldersgate Group describes itself as an alliance of leaders from business, politics and civil society that drives action for a sustainable economy.
Theresa May, incoming chair of the Aldersgate Group and MP for Maidenhead, said: “I am joining the Aldersgate Group to champion the business case for decarbonising the UK economy, improving resource efficiency, and investing in the restoration of nature because we are at a crucial crossroad for our climate and the environment.
“As Prime Minister, I was proud to lead the UK to be the first major economy to enshrine the net-zero emissions
“It is vital we now accelerate our progress towards these ambitious targets and develop clear delivery plans,” – Theresa May
target into law and publish a strategy to overturn the decline in nature within a generation. It is vital we now accelerate our progress towards these ambitious targets and develop clear delivery plans.”
The appointment is described as “a landmark moment” for the group, whose members include Suez and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
As Prime Minister, Theresa May enacted the UK’s commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050, making the UK the first major economy to enshrine this target in law.
She also oversaw the publication of the Clean Growth Strategy and the decision to end unabated coal-fired electricity generation in the UK by 2025.
Her government also published the 25 Year Environment Plan, which provided a framework to “protect and restore the natural world within a generation”, which is now in the process of being enshrined in the Environment Bill currently going through Parliament.
Joan Walley, outgoing chair of the Aldersgate Group, said: “It’s been a privilege to lead the Aldersgate Group as chair for the last six years. I am proud of the contribution we have made on setting the zero carbon and nature recovery agenda. I am delighted to leave a legacy that puts the organisation in a strong position, with membership at its highest since the Group was formed and exciting new reports on key policy areas on the horizon”.