Born in 1975, Zac Goldsmith grew up in Richmond, where he has lived for most of his life. During his childhood, Zac developed a passion for reading the works of the famous naturalist Gerald Durrell and watching David Attenborough’s nature documentaries, sparking a lifelong interest in and commitment to environmental and ecological conservation.
From 1995 to 1996, Zac worked for the California-based environmental economics thinktank Redefining Progress, before becoming a researcher at the non-profit International Society for Ecology and Culture. In 1998, Zac became editor of the Ecologist magazine, a position he held for nine years. Zac’s environmental expertise led to his selection by the new Conservative party leader David Cameron to head the party’s environmental policies unit in 2006.
Zac was first elected as Member of Parliament for his home seat of Richmond Park and North Kingston in 2010. He was returned to Parliament in the 2015 general election, during which he achieved an 8.5% increase in vote share since 2010: the largest increase in majority of any MP that year.
Zac was selected to be the Conservative candidate in the 2016 London mayoral election and, despite eventually losing to Labour’s Sadiq Khan, achieved just under a million votes.
A staunch opponent of the Heathrow expansion, Zac kept his promise to stand down as Conservative MP in December 2016 in protest at the government’s decision to go ahead with the building of the third runway; although he narrowly lost the subsequent by-election – in which he stood as an Independent – he was re-elected six months’ later at the 2017 General Election and continues to campaign vociferously against the third runway in his role as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Heathrow Expansion. Zac has consistently had one of the highest rates of response to constituents in the House of Commons and is known for his commitment to addressing local issues.
During his career as an MP, Zac has played an active role on a wide range of issues. He has been a member of the Environmental Audit Committee since 2010. Zac has also championed direct democracy and the rights of voters to recall their MPs. In 2018 he was asked to be the ‘Champion’ for the Government’s international Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, held in London.
Zac’s work has been recognised by being awarded the Beacon Prize as Young Philanthropist of the Year in 2003; Green Cross International’s Global Green Award for International Environmental Leadership in 2004; the BusinessGreen Politician of the Year Award in 2011; and The Patchwork Foundation’s Best Conservative Newcomer of the Year Award in 2014.
Zac is currently co-Chair of the Conservative Friends of India and is a Patron of the Westminster Italian Conservatives.