Mark Stein was born and grew up in South Africa. He came to the UK as a young man and studied history and business administration. He worked for twenty two years in the Economic Development Unit at Tameside Council, Greater Manchester. For around twelve years his work focused on promoting the Internet and e-commerce to small businesses. In his last five years with the Council he worked increasingly on public procurement policies and how these could promote both environmental sustainability and opportunities for local businesses. He took early retirement from local government at the end of 2010 and went back to university. He is completing an M Phil dissertation at Salford University, Manchester, on sustainable public food procurement for schools in northern England.