Joel Makower, GreenBiz: Helping Business move the needle on The world's most pressing challenges
“None of us knows as much as all of us. There is combined wisdom and insights and knowledge when we bring people together.” --Joel Makower, founder of GreenBiz
Joel Makower is chair and co-founder of GreenBiz Group, a media and events company focusing at the intersection of business, technology, and sustainability. For more than 30 years, through his writing, speaking, and leadership, he has helped companies align pressing environmental and social issues with business success.
Joel has written more than a dozen books about sustainability and technology; writes regular articles; co-hosts “GreenBiz 350,” a weekly podcast on sustainable business topics; appears regularly in the media; and serves on several company and nonprofit boards. The Associated Press has called him “The guru of green business practices.”
I enjoyed hearing how the following Joel had developed from his snail mail newsletter exploded with the arrival of the Internet. Now grown into an impressive, pioneering company, GreenBiz has built a one-of-a-kind community in sustainable business.
“There's also strength in diversity as there is in nature…where the more we know about different things other people are doing to reach some of the same goals, the stronger and better everybody gets.
This is the secret sauce of GreenBiz. We created a community that did not exist. 20 or 30 years ago, sustainability executives from big companies were not talking to each other…we are helping people understand that they're part of something bigger than themselves.”
I asked Joel about what he sees in his crystal ball for a variety of pressing issues: climate change and rising temperatures, plastic waste, his three wishes for the future, and what he has learned a long the way.
“It's sometimes hard to see the bigger purpose…that we're not alone or that we're part of maybe even a revolution that even the people in it don't really readily see…how do you create a community and then drive that community to go further, faster, and really give them the tools, resources, inspiration, maybe a little fear now and then…”
I asked Joel for his advice to others on how to create companies that care:
“Well, first start somewhere. It can be overwhelming. There's so much to do. And it can feel like a distraction, but start somewhere. Just jump in. I think a lot of people are afraid to do that.”
I alternate the Companies That Care podcast with my original podcast, Finding Fertile Ground, which shares personal stories of grit and resilience. On both my podcasts I strive to highlight voices from historically excluded populations, people who don't always get a platform.
I help professional services companies avoid BORING by making communications painless and boosting employee engagement, productivity, and brand recognition. I turn lackluster, jargon-filled, or technical prose into clear dynamic narrative. Look us up on fertilegroundcommunications.com.
As a podcaster for justice, I stand with my sisters from the Women of Color Podcasters Community. We are podcasters united to condemn the tragic murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and many others at the hands of police.
Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business.