Chelsea Green Publishing

Ray Anderson: Oh Captain, Our Captain

Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface, Inc., author of two books on sustainability and a tireless champion for re-inventing business to service the environment, passed away last Monday at the age of 77. Ray was vice-chairman of my company for eight years, a mentor, a guide, and a dear friend. I write this in the hours leading up to his memorial service, a bittersweet time for so many of us, whose sadness at his passing is mixed with a celebration of a life that helped launch the sustainability movement globally. For Ray was one of those rare individuals who somehow touched the core of what human-ness is all about – a blend of ambition and selflessness. He would begin most every talk he gave with the statement that he was as driven and as competitive as any businessman you would ever meet. And yet somehow, he would “flip” this all-so-common human trait, one most of his audience identified with, into something filled with a higher purpose: stewardship
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In Praise of Late Bloomers

It’s already spring in my hometown of Savannah, GA. Partiers have already blown in and out of town to celebrate a raucous St. Patrick’s day. The tourists are in full swing, enjoying a three-week music festival and the annual tour of homes. And, of course, there’s the early bursting onto the scene of azaleas, the […]
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A Tale of Two Banks

Several hundred billions of dollars in commercial real estate loans are up for expiration in the coming year, with a multiple of that ($1.7 trillion) coming in the ensuing 12 months.. Reports of vulture capital in the $500 billion + range are reportedly poised to pounce on anticipated flea-market pricing. And the question on the […]
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Leveraging Business For Change: It Ain’t About the “Where”

George S. invited me to have coffee with him the other day. George is a young real estate developer in town (Savannah, GA), passionate about strategies to reduce our carbon footprint. He and his wife and two young daughters have been in town about five years. Foremost in his mind, the reason he wanted to […]
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Doing the Scapegoat Thing – Not So Profitably

During the past nine months, virtually every board I serve on has gone through crazy tumult. A few execs have lost their jobs in the process. You could say that each situation is unique, and that these terminations were called for. Perhaps that’s true. But I think there are systemic forces at work that call […]
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Restoring the Business of Government

One of my favorite quotes from the social critic H. L. Mencken: “Living with a dog is messy ─ like living with an idealist.” The same could be said about democracy living with big business. It’s messy. And the clean-up is a bitch. In the past few days, a number of newspaper articles and editorials […]
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Collar Me Green

The internet is abuzz these days with blogs and postings and comments about whether our downturn in the economy will push environmental issues off the table as a national priority. Seems like a no-brainer to me, more like a huge opportunity to finally create a critical synergy between social and environmental issues. And at the […]
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Bleeding Green in a State of Red

Much of the time, my colleagues and I at work feel a bit like a poster child for BSD: Business Schizophrenia Disorder. We’re often the odd-man out at real estate gatherings promoting a deliberate go-slow approach to business. We’re the token business trotted out to articulate strong conservationist positions, making us seem like environmentalists to […]
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Love & Schadenfreude

For a long time, my home town of Savannah, GA suffered from a type of petty jealousy, a malicious enjoyment in the misfortune of others. We called it the “blue-crab phenomenon.” Maybe you know it by another name. We used to go crabbing as kids along the coastal tidewater, pulling in crabs with a clothesline […]
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I’ll Have What They’re Having

OK, I’ll admit it: I have a streak of local jingoism in me. There are times when I’ll crow to anyone who’ll listen that, believe it or not, there’s a lot of cutting-edge sustainable thinking going on in my neck of the woods. But this week took the cake. Georgia Senate Bill 31 (SB 31) […]
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The Business of “Yes”

I desperately needed to doodle. Or scream. Or just plain bolt the room (which I finally did). I was in Boston this past week, at a meeting of well-intentioned sustainable real estate developers and a nascent socially-responding financing group, talking about creating a different type of fund that would truly address environmental and communal needs. […]
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