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From Here to Sustainability: The Profit (and Pitfalls) of Green Business Strategies
24 April 2008
George E. Pake Auditorium
How do you succeed in a world gone green? Today, being modest about your company's environmental commitment and performance is no longer seen as an asset. Companies are expected to be engaged in cleaner, more efficient practices; reduce packaging; source from responsible sources; and otherwise pay close attention to the environmental impacts of everything they do. And they are expected to talk about it -- not necessarily to shout it from the rooftops, but to be open and transparent about what they're doing right and what they're still working on. So how do you do create and communicate an environmental strategy in the age of transparency and the blogosphere, especially when most companies are far from perfect? It's a challenging landscape. In this Forum, GreenBiz.com executive editor -- called the "the guru of green business practices" by the Associated Press -- provides insight and inspiration on how to navigate the path from here to sustainability.
Joel Makower is co-founder and executive editor of Greener World Media, Inc., which produces GreenBiz.com and its sister sites ClimateBiz.com, GreenerBuildings.com, and GreenerComputing.com. He also is a co-founder and principal of Clean Edge Inc., a research and publishing firm focused on building markets for clean energy technologies. Joel serves as a senior consultant to GreenOrder, a sustainability strategy firm that works with such companies as Dupont, General Electric, and General Motors. From 1991 to 2005, Joel was editor and publisher of The Green Business Letter, an award-winning monthly newsletter he founded on corporate environmental strategy.
Joel has helped a wide range of companies improve their environmental strategy and communications -- including Clifbar, Gap, Hewlett Packard, Levi Strauss, Nike, Procter & Gamble, and Stonyfield Farm -- as well as advising more than a dozen early-stage companies focusing on environmentally sustainable products and services. A former nationally syndicated columnist, Joel is author or co-author of more than a dozen books, including Beyond the Bottom Line: Putting Social Responsibility to Work for Your Business and the World; The E-Factor: The Bottom-Line Approach to Environmentally Responsible Business; and The Green Consumer, a best-selling guide to the environmental marketplace. In 2005, he was appointed a Batten Fellow at the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia. Joel serves as a board member or adviser to a range of for-profit and nonprofit organizations. He is also the author of an oral history of the Woodstock music festival, published in 1989, which Rolling Stone called "the definitive history of the mega-event."
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