Robert is both a businessman and environmentalist, who, having had an active business career in public companies, now spends much of his time on environmental issues. He is currently a Director of Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientist and a Director of Farmers for Climate Action while being involved in several other non-for-profit organisations. He is the immediate past President of WWF-Australia and a former board member of WWF-International.
In 2004, Robert established the Purves Environmental Fund, which funds numerous environmental initiatives. In 2008 Robert was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for service to conservation and the environment, and awarded an Honorary Fellow from the University of Sydney. Robert was also awarded the Australian Geographic Society’s Lifetime of Conservation Award in 2015. Robert lives in Sydney and has farms in the Southern Tablelands of NSW.