Ian Kiernan AO

Clean Up Australia, Clean Up The World

Ian Kiernan is a familiar face in Australia. He founded and is Executive Chairman of the enormously successful community based organisation, Clean Up Australia and Clean Up the World, which aims to inspire and work with communities to clean up, fix up and conserve our environment.

In addition to chairing Clean Up, Ian is chairman of capital C and the Sydney Harbour Awards. He is patron of the Central Coast Mariners Football Club, the Australasian Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association, the Sydney Agricultural, Rural and Public Land Trust, the Enviro-Finance Association of Australia, Mens Shed, the Sapphire Coast Discovery Centre in Eden NSW, Spirit Sports Leisure Group and Mosman Rowers. Ian is also a member of Charles Sturt University Institute for Land, Water and Society Advisory Board.

An engaging, dynamic speaker, Ian inspires children and adults alike with his story of establishing Clean Up and his passion for the environment.

More about Ian Kiernan

Ian has always been a passionate and competitive yachtsman - he has represented Australia at the Admiral's, Southern Cross, Dunhill, Clipper, Kenwood and Trans Pacific Cup competitions. However it was this love for sailing the world's oceans that first awoke in him a desire to clean up the world. In 1986-87, Ian fulfilled a long-held dream when he represented Australia in the BOC Challenge solo around-the-world yacht race. He finished 6th out of a fleet of 25 yachts from 11 nations and set an Australian record for a solo circumnavigation of the world.

It was during the BOC Challenge that Ian saw and was appalled by the amount of rubbish that choked the world's oceans. He committed himself to do something about it on his return, starting with Sydney Harbour.

As a result of Ian's work, Clean up Sydney Harbour took place on Sunday 8 January 1989. 40,000 volunteers turned out to lend a hand, inspiring Ian to move on to greater heights. In 1990, the first Clean Up Australia Day and more than 300,000 Australians volunteered their time to help.

In June 1991, Ian and his team were invited by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to meet at their Headquarters in Nairobi to discuss Clean Up Australia's proposal for a global Clean Up campaign. Ian signed an agreement with UNEP to manage and promote Clean Up the World, commencing in September 1993, based on the concept of 100 cities around the globe participating at the same time.

The results were staggering - more than 30 million people in 80 countries participated in the three day event. Since then, the campaign has grown each year, making it one of the largest community based environmental campaigns in the world

In 1993, Ian was made a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Global 500 Laureate for leadership in the local and global environment. The prestigious United Nations Environment Programme Sasakawa Environment Prize was awarded to Ian in 1998, while in 1999, the World Association of Girl Guides nominated him for the Building World Citizenship Award.

In recognition of his leadership in the environment and the community both in Australia and internationally, Ian was named 1994 Australian of the Year. Ian holds the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) and on Australia Day 1995, he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO). Ian was also awarded the prestigious Banksia Foundation Fellowship in the same year. 2003 saw Ian awarded the Centenary Medal and in 2005 the children of Poland voted him a Companion of the Order of the Smile.

Ian was awarded a Doctor of Science Honoris Causa by the University of New South Wales in March 2006. During that year, he also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and their Conservation Built Heritage for Project under $1 Million award for his restoration work on an 1830's farmhouse Westham in Bathurst.

In 2010, Ian was recognised by Readers Digest as the 4th Most Trusted person in Australia. As an avid sailor and Ambassador for the Great Barrier Reef, Ian maintains his love for the sea as patron of a number of sailing groups including ASPECT Sailors with Disabilities, SCEGGS Redlands and Scots College Youth Sailing Programmes.

Ian Kiernan talks about:

Achievement; Environment; Leadership; Inspiration; Motivation; Sport; Science and Technology.

Client testimonials

Your speech was an inspiration ... It gave our business sector the motivation they need to struggle through the hard times they have been facing and look forward to a prosperous future.

Lithgow Business Enterprise Centre

An inspiring presentation - low key, no hype - very genuine and got the result we wanted from the group.

Australian Estate Management

We were impressed with his personal story as well as the way in which he was able to tie this into the theme of the evening. Ian also delighted us by taking the time to respond to the audience’s questions and interacted with our guests with grace and thoughtfulness during the evening – he is a real Australian Gentleman.

Bitzer Australia