We lost a dear UNEP FI colleague recently, Richard Hansen, our web developer, IT expert, database manager and ‘team therapist’. Richard, who was working for us until early this year, arrived at UNEP FI nearly 20 years ago after a career spanning the globe. After working in the tobacco industry, he wanted to “do some good” and “give something back to the world” by working at the UN – and this he surely did.

When Richard joined, he brought badly needed organisation to our basic IT, databases, and website management. The team, consisting of a handful of interns with two staff members in tow, were delighted to welcome this maverick from New Jersey who brought order, shape, design, and global brand recognition to our small team. Richard built from scratch all our websites, developed and organised our membership databases and was the all-round “go to guy” for any web, IT or technical issues we faced. He brought gravitas and business acumen to what was a very young office at the time. Even before we had a Communications Team in place, Richard continuously drove us forward, ensuring we thought through our external messaging, and helping to promote the work of UNEP FI and its members.

In the intervening years he helped UNEP FI grow, improving our website – our external face to the world – and working quietly behind the scenes building solutions that supported the diverse needs of the ever-growing team and members. His long institutional memory helped newer team members understand UNEP FI’s history, whilst patiently explaining exactly why we had done that in that particular way! His enthusiasm for the positive, meaningful work that UNEP FI does was infectious and inspiring. We all loved working with him.  

Richard was a keen paraglider, marathon runner and musician who kept us in awe with his spontaneity and stories of adventure. He inspired us with his joyful, can-do attitude and was an integral part of our team even through his illness. We will all smile when we look up and see a paraglider silhouetted against the mountains – particularly those of us lucky enough to live close to his beloved Jura mountain range. Thank you for everything Richard, we miss you every day.

Richard Hansen, husband of Stephanie, friend to the UNEP FI Team, who left us on 24 July 2023.