Ep. 99: Jennifer Morgan – Executive Director, Greenpeace International ||

Joining for ep. 99 is the Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan.  For 50 years, Greenpeace has been fighting for ecological justice.  Now, arguably the pre-eminent non-governmental voice instigating environmental action, Greenpeace has a focused lens on addressing climate change, deforestation, overfishing, commercial whaling, genetic engineering and orchestrating anti-nuclear campaigns.

 

 

In 2019, there were approximately 4000 Greenpeace staff working for Greenpeace International and its offices around the globe, alongside tens-of-thousands more volunteers and passionate activists!  The co-ordinating body of Greenpeace International represents the collective actions of 27 independent national and regional organizations in over 55 countries and regions across Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific. In our 45 minute discussion we cover how Jennifer and her global team makes sense of all of the moving parts.  We learn how the preservation of biodiversity is the lifeblood of Greenpeace’s activism. 

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We hear more about the lineage of the organization, and how Jennifer came to lead efforts with this world renowned ecologically focused juggernaut set on “ensuring the ability of the Earth to nurture life in all its diversity”.  We discuss where Greenpeace plays in the Paris accord, and how the United States should not just be re-entering the agreement, but lead in future efforts to define substitutive and quantifiable climate actions.

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A focus area of our conversation is the utilization and shepherding of regenerative natural resources. Specifically, with the production of food.  What humans eat from land and sea has a vast impact on the planet and its inhabitants.  In our conversation we explore how food values may materialize as a unique angle to drive environmental awareness with broader audiences.  How much of the global population can choose these food values as a way to take environmental action, 3-times daily.  We also explore concerns of food insecurity, for those who don’t have access to enough food or nutriment in the developing world and within some of the richest countries on the planet.  Food insecurity is real, and we learn what Greenpeace is doing to address impending problems throughout these diverse corners for often marginalized communities.   One thing is for sure, we can’t keep exhausting regenerative natural resources just to generate more calories that may never reach the target audience. It’s ecological suicide.  

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Jennifer Morgan became Executive Director of Greenpeace International in 2016. Formerly, Morgan was ‘Global Director for the Climate Program’ at the World Resources Institute.  Additionally, she was ‘Global Climate Change Director’ at Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G) and she led the ‘Global Climate Change Program’ at the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).  She is passionate about helping countries, governments and individuals take positive action to achieve a zero-carbon future, and is a strong proponent of the need of companies to “go green” and invest in sustainable technologies.

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Tune in to hear Jennifer’s thoughts on how antagonizing and instigating change has  set forth numerous efforts by Greenpeace to realize lasting impact on a shrinking planet.

 


photo credit: Greenpeace International & Roland Berger


 

Ep. 98: Joel Makower – co-founder & chairman of GreenBiz ||

 

For episode 98 we welcome Joel Makower, chairman of GreenBiz. For more than 30 years, Joel has been a well-respected voice on business, the environment, and the bottom line. Joel Makower is co-founder, chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group, Inc. Among his duties at GreenBiz, Makower hosts the annual GreenBiz forums and is author of the annual ‘State of Green Business’ report.

 

 

A former nationally syndicated columnist, Joel is author or co-author of more than a dozen books, titles include: ‘The New Grand Strategy’, ‘Strategies for the Green Economy’, ‘Beyond the Bottom Line: Putting Social Responsibility to Work for Your Business and the World’, ‘The Green Consumer’ –  just to name a few.  Awarded the Hutchens Medal by the American Society for Quality, The Associated Press has referred to him as “The guru of green business practices.”  In 2014, Makower was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.
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Much of our conversation in this episode focused on the Circular Economy.  The United Nations Industrial Development Organizations (UNIDO) describes this holistic approach as, “A circular economy is a new way of creating value, and ultimately prosperity, through extending product lifespan and relocating waste from the end of the supply chain to the beginning – in effect, using resources more efficiently by using them more than once. In a circular economy materials for new products come from old products. As much as possible, everything is reused, remanufactured or, as a last resort, recycled back into a raw material or used as a source of energy. ”

 

Offering a more concise description of what a circular economy could do for the stability of the planet, Makower explains the system as “keeping molecules in play“. Joel leverages an in-depth understanding and appreciation to evolve common practice of businesses and consumers alike.  As such, his work focuses on three principal topics:

  1. How companies of all sizes and sectors are integrating environmental thinking into their operations in a way that produces business value. 
  2. The creation of new companies and markets for clean energy, clean water, and advanced materials.
  3. The strategies and tactics that companies use in order to communicate and market their environmental efforts and leadership, especially to consumers.

 

In our 50 minute discussion we cover stakeholder value vs. shareholder value.  We discuss a bit of politics and the potential for sustainability and Green Business under the Biden administration. We learn where things stand with the Paris Accord and what we should do, now.  We explore if biodiversity could replace the siren song of Carbon.  I learn more about the history of GreenBiz and how Joel and his talented team have been able to not just weather the storm in 2020, but thrive.  Additionally, we discuss the role of business leaders in climate action and how business itself as an arm of the voter/ consumer can influence policy moving forward.  

 

Joel Makower has been a commentator on environmental topics for public radio’s “Marketplace” and appears frequently in both broadcast and print media. He serves as a board member or adviser to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations and speaks regularly to companies, industry groups and business schools around the world.  I encourage all of listeners to get on the GreenBiz mailing list, to attend his conferences, and seek out other speaking engagements featuring this expert in all things sustainable.


Tune in to ep. 98 to learn from a man with unique sagacity about what it’ll take to save the planet through better business.  As Joel explains it, “this is a massive economic opportunity masquerading as an environmental problem.”

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@Makower

@GreenBiz

 


photo credit: New York Times & Gage Skidmore