Being Both an Environmentalist and Business Person

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Sep 18

It’s always seemed strange that some environmentalists have trouble grasping the concept that nothing is sustainable unless it’s also economically sustainable. The reverse is also true—some business people believe that moving towards using less energy and material as well as producing less waste inevitably leads to higher costs and lower revenue growth. How can being more efficient and more environmentally conscious be in conflict when you save energy, matter and waste?


In 1995, Ray Anderson, founder of Interface (a carpet manufacturer), talked about the toxicity of his industry. His goals included—

1. phasing out use of virgin nylon

2. replacing fossil fuel with renewables

3. aiming for 0 waste within 25 years


Businessweek (Sept 14, 2014) reports that after Ray made his presentation, next day Interface’s stock fell by 50%. Still, their revenues have increased from $595 million to nearly a billion today, their carpet tiles are so prized that fussy clients like Apple use them in their HQ, their factories are 39% more energy efficient than industry average, they use 83% less water, and about half of their inputs are either recycled materials or from natural sources.

It’s possible to be both a business person and environmentalist, you just have to work harder and smarter. 

@ profbruce

@ quantum_entity

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.