Imperial College London

Zen Makuch

Faculty of Natural SciencesCentre for Environmental Policy

Reader in Law







Weeks BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Director of Sustainable Transitions
International Barrister


Zen Makuch is recognised by top institutions in Europe and North America as a leading international researcher in the specialist fields of domestic, European and international sustainability pertaining to economic & environmental regulatory linkages.  In relation to this research experience, he has researched, litigated, drafted, implemented and supported the enforcement of sustainability regulations & policies on behalf of Government (including Ministerial offices), select parliamentary committees, political parties and other key influencers/stakeholders as part of his daily working life at Imperial College London (consistently a QS world ranked Top Ten university).

Selected highlights are as follows: 

  • Project Team Research Leader on sustainability, law & regulation projects valued at over £40 Million
  • Multi-country experience of drafting sectoral legislation & policies for sustainability (125 legislative instruments designed and approved by parliaments and legislative assemblies to date)
  • Technical interdisciplinary researcher and adviser for national (including Canada) and sub-national governments (including Canadian provinces) world-wide, the European Commission, World Bank, FAO, OECD, WTO, NGOs and sustainability-oriented transnational corporations (in 81 countries) in relation to trade, investment and sustainability linkages
  • 200 publications including monographs and articles in leading journals
  • Multiple-award winning educator, researcher and public speaker
  • Co-created the proposal establishing the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment
  • Received an award from the Prime Minister of Canada for advisory services in relation to environmental protection, public international law treaty and NAFTA/NACEC negotiations
  • Technical advisor on interstate conflicts and cases pertaining to the GATT/WTO/EU and other international dispute settlement bodies
  • Co-creator of new regulatory, investment and retail food supply chain framework for sustainability attracting $1 billion investment in fresh produce markets for Africa (Rockefeller Foundation, Gates Foundation, IKEA)
  • From 2011 to 2017 as Head of Department, co-led Imperial’s technology, business, management and environmental resources research and education programmes, routinely achieving a top 8 Thomson Reuters QS world research ranking & doubling our total revenues (i.e., > £50 million, > £15 million as PI/Project Lead during that time).
  • Trebled diversity appointments and gained promotions for all such staff
  • Previously recognised as Great Britain’s top social scientist under 40, honoured by the British Science Association and Ann, Princess Royal
  • Collaborated in creating the world’s first energy carbon tax including its trade provisions
  • Designed and implemented a £4 million blended, experiential learning Executive and Master’s Degree Programme in Sustainability & Management including a research partnership in sustainability, finance, investment & tech innovation with one of the world’s largest Industrial Technology companies (and another MSc on sustainable investment and pension management)
  • Co-created and generated the investment finance for the world’s first climate change insurance for food supply chains (Research Partners - World Bank, World Food Programme, Willis Reinsurance, Munich Reinsurance & EU, 30,000 clients most of whom are women-led firms)


2011-present: Director of Sustainable Transitions (2017- ) addressing environment, climate change, agriculture and fisheries supply chains; Head of Department (2011-17) CEP, responsible for Imperial College London’s largest interdisciplinary environment and technology research and education body (Ranked #8 in the world in the QS University environmental science rankings). Department features, variously, 100 Academic/Research Staff, 56 Postgraduate Researchers and 195 Master’s Degree candidates, Member: Faculty Management Committee (2010- ); Faculty Research Committee (2009- ); Advisory Board, Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment (2014- ); Advisory Board, Imperial College Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (2009- ); Chair, Ethics Panel (ongoing). Deputy Head of Department (2009-10). Director of Sustainable Transitions, Regulation, Food Systems Convenor/Director Global Change, Policy & Environment (MSc)(2009- ) Director, MSc in Sustainable Management; MSc in Sustainable Investment and Pension Management.


1991-present: International Barrister, Interdisciplinary specialist in regulation of trade, investment, business, technology,  environment & climate change in a range of national jurisdictions, the European Union and at the international level. International research spanning 81 nations on four continents to date. Academic Staff Member: MRAG(1999-2010); RRAG (1999-2010).  Broad range of interdisciplinary research and advice at the sub-national, national, EU and international levels. Considerable experience in drafting law, policy and interdisciplinary implementation frameworks for three pillar sustainability, having created more than 125 such legal instruments & policies. Produced negotiating and treaty language several bilateral/multilateral agreements.  International environment, trade, investment and climate change institutional/governance advisory research for WTO, OECD, FAO, WHO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, World Bank, European Union - DG External Affairs, DG Development, DG Research, DG Environment, DG Clima, DG Marine Resources and Fisheries, DfID, Governments of Canada & Ontario.

2016-present: Fellow, Sustainability College (Bruges), a College with professional commercial advisory services to governments (local, national, European, international), profit and non-profit organizations.

2016-present: Director, WINnERS Project, a research spin out firm providing the world’s first bundled climate-resilient financial services to food systems supply chains in Africa and Europe. This includes insurance/de-risking services for 20,000 food producers to date (expanding to 200,000 across East Africa in 2022).

2011-present: UK Representative, Forum of International Experts on Climate Change, Insurance and Investment – Drafted EU Directive (Advisors to European Commission Directorate General for Climate Action).

2003-present: Sessional Professor, Environment, Sustainability, Business Regulation, Trade Regulation, Contracts, State Aids, Subsidies, Public Procurement, Competition Policy and Regulation University of Leuven, Faculty of Law, Belgium / University of Malta, Faculty of Law.

2017: University of British Columbia, Institute of Oceans and Fisheries, Nominee, Canada 150 Research Chair.

2011-2012: Rector’s Medallist for Outstanding Teaching Contribution (Imperial College London), the only recipient of three such awards in the history of the University (2003 and 2005 were the other years) (also 2015 President’s Award for Teaching; 2017 Faculty Education Award).

1996-2016: Course Director, Imperial College London Business School, Three Pillar Sustainability, Governance, Technology, International Economic Law and Business; Business Law & Regulation. Covered International economic law and institutions, case law, investment regulation, conflict of laws, financial regulation. 

2004-2010: Court and Senate, Member, Senator, Imperial College London, University of London.

1993-2012: Ministerial Adviser, various Ministers/Secretaries of State across 12 countries with reference to national, European and international environmental management matters.

1999-2010: Director, IC Environment Programme and Clinic, a modest set of experiential research and practical activities (three academic staff members, one staff administrator) specialising in the provision of public interest advice and assistance to local, regional, national and international NGOs and Governments on sustainability and commercial development matters. The Programme focused upon the development of future leaders in regulation and policy advocacy in progressive stakeholder bodies with many successful graduates now employed in the practice of law and other professions in these fields.

1996-2010: Member, Barrister, Senior Regulatory Analyst, Imperial College Renewable Resources Assessment Group, an interdisciplinary environmental resources research group initially led by Sir John Beddington.

1996-2010: Associate, MRAG, performing a range of UK, EU and international research projects on technology, trade and stock assessment, and their regulatory and policy requirements.

2004-2005: Teaching Fellow for Innovation, titled appointment to the Senate awarded to Imperial College, University of London as its most outstanding academic.                 

2005: Specialist Advisor, Cabinet Office, 10 Downing Street, Technology, Governance and Regulatory Innovation.

2004-5: Professor (p/t), Product Regulation and Law, Consumer Protection Policy, University of Leuven, Belgium.

2004-2009: Chair, Institute for Advanced Legal Studies, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Imperial College, University of London, Comparative Law and Policy Seminar Series. Specialist, International Economic Law.

2003- 2004: Excellence in Teaching Award, Imperial College, University of London, awarded to outstanding lecturer.

2001: Specialist Advisor, Members of the Royal Family, international environmental protection, climate change, sustainability, fisheries, oceans, Marine Stewardship Council.

2001: Senior Advisor, Unilever and WWF, on creation of the Marine Stewardship Council.

2001: Reader, DEST/CEP/ICCET, Imperial College, University of London.

2000-2003: Specialist Advisor, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Westminster (advisory services on domestic and international environment, climate change matters).

2000-2001: International Expert, UN-sponsored WHAT Fisheries Commission (seven-member Commission comprised of world’s leading international experts in fisheries management matters, WHAT Chair – Former UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar).

1999-2000: British Association for the Advancement of Science, Lecturer in Science and Society for the Millennium, T H Huxley School, University of London (title conferred upon winning national competition among nominees from all UK universities as the UK’s leading social science researcher and lecturer)(Award presented by her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, Anne). A particular focal point was leading work on environmental resources and technology innovation.

1999-2002: Board Member, Syngenta (formerly AstraZeneca) and Member, Ethics Committee.

1997-1998: Specialist Advisor, House of Lords Committee on the European Communities (Managed selection, cross-examination, presentation of evidence and House of Lords Reports including report drafting duties).

1996-present: Referee: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, Sustainability, Journal of Sustainable Development, European Journal of International Law, European Law Journal, Science, European Yearbook of Comparative Government and Public Administration, Journal of World Trade, European Environmental Law Review, Journal of Marine and Coastal Zone Management, Review of European Community and International Environmental Law, Journal of International Comparative Law, European Law Review.

1996-present: Invited Lectures: Regular climate change, sustainability, environmental protection, law lectures are given at Oxford University, Cambridge University, University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University, King’s College London and a range of Universities worldwide.

1995-2001: Lecturer, T H Huxley School, Imperial College; Member, EPMG. Associate, Marine Resources Assessment Group; Co-ordinator, ICCET environmental courses (1999- ). Director, Director, Public Policy and Ethics Course (1996-2001). Member of Rector’s Discipline Review Panel (2000- ). Chairman, Publicity and Commercial Promotions Committee (1996- ). Coordinator, Environmental Law and Policy Seminar Series (1999-2010).

1994-present: Media Expert, Domestic, European Union and international environment/sustainability matters, fisheries, climate change, Law of the Sea, Arctic law, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (television & radio appearances).

1994-present: External Examiner, Law Faculties/Schools, Cambridge University, Oxford University, School of Oriental and African Studies, College of Europe, University of Leuven, University of London, Cardiff University for selected Masters/PhD Candidates.

1994-1995: Lecturer, University of Hull, UK. Director, Masters in Environment and Law. Lecturer:  Climate Change, Coastal Zone Management, International Law. Member, Research Studies Committee. PhD supervisor. Advisor, UN Convention on Straddling and Highly Migratory Stocks (negotiations); Co-drafter, Black Sea Treaty and its implementation.               

1994-1998: Sessional Lecturer in International Economic Law (p/t), SOAS, University of London. Lecturer/Course Leader on Master of Laws in International Economic Law.

1993-1995: Associate, Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development, Barrister. Research file work for public interest funders. International Trade, Climate Change, Environmental Policy.

1992-1994: Member, Royal Commission on Land-Use Planning (Committee on Development).

1991-1993: Associate, Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy (Research/advisory services).

1991-1992: Advisor, Government of Canada in selected GATT, NAFTA, NACEC, UN multilateral treaty negotiations. Received an Award from the Prime Minister in recognition of contribution to UNCED negotiations.

1991-1992: Advisor, Canadian International Development Agency, participated in design and implementation of first “Sustainable Livelihoods” strategy for developing countries.

1991-1994: Board Member, Ontario Waste Reduction Advisory Committee (Responsible for advice waste management finance, waste trade, technical/policy matters).

1990-1993: Barrister and Solicitor, CELA, (Barrister and Solicitor with active public interest litigation practice, which also included representation of First Nations, resource management matters).

1990-1993: Guest Lecturer, University of Toronto, Masters environmental courses.

1989-1990: Articling, Lawyer, Goodman & Goodman. (commercial, securities, international trade, international transactions).

1986-1989: Research Associate, Osgoode Hall Law School with Prof Harry Glasbeek, industrial regulation and policy (also w/ Prof Harry Arthurs), corporate social responsibility, Prof Graham Parker, public health policy and regulation.



Makuch Z, Georgieva S, Oraee-Mirzamani B, 2020, Innovative regulatory and financial parameters for advancing carbon capture and storage technologies, Fordham Environmental Law Review, Vol:32, ISSN:1079-6657, Pages:1-16

Makuch Z, 2019, Legislative Interpretation and Guidance on the New Waste Management Regime of the European Union, Fordham Environmental Law Review, ISSN:1079-6657


Makuch Z, 2019, Regulating Insurance for Climate Change Resilient Food Systems, Edward Elgar

Voigt C, Makuch Z, 2018, Courts and the Environment, Edward Elgar Publishing, ISBN:9781788114677

Hecker S, Haklay M, Bowser A, et al., 2018, Citizen Science - Innovation in Open Science, Society and Policy, London, UCL Press, ISBN:9781787352339

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