Des Wilson was once Chairman of Friends of the Earth UK and the first Chairman of the Campaign for Freedom of Information. He was also founding Director of Shelter and "in 1989, was voted ITN's Environmentalist of the Year".
He was subsequently Vice-Chairman of Public Affairs, Worldwide for Burson-Marsteller and then "Director of Corporate and Public Affairs for BAA plc until July 2000 when he retired to become an adviser".
When Lord Melchett, formerly a campaigner with Greenpeace decided to join Burson Marsteller, Wilson sprang to his defence and defended the benfits of working with corporations. "How sadly predictable and, above all, strategically illiterate are the attacks on Peter Melchett and others who, after years of consistent and courageous endeavour on behalf of the environmental movement, have decided they have a better chance of promoting change by working with business and industry, instead of engaging in the kind of invariably useless confrontational activity enjoyed by the punk end of the movement," he wrote. 
- John Egan and Des Wilson, Private Business, Public Battleground: the case for 21st century stakeholder companies, Palgrave, 2002. ISBN 033392939X
- British Tourism Authority, "Foreword and Annual Report 2001", page 2.
- Des Wilson, "This juvenile posturing is for punks: Environmentalists can best effect change from inside corporations", The Guardian, January 16, 2002.