This week I launch a new series about climate change, sustainable business, and clean technology. My goal is to explore these big, complex topics from multiple perspectives, with an open heart, and for the purpose of generating positive action. Multiple perspective-taking matters because each way we frame these topics is both useful and limiting—in the terminology of integral thinking, both “true” and “partial.” An open heart matters because what’s at stake is momentous, and without it, all that’s left is a big mushy bowl of anxiety. And positive action—well, heck, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
To launch this series (my interview with Ron Pernick of Clean Edge about clean tech was a prequel), I reached out to Kevin Wilhelm. Kevin is the founding leader of Sustainable Business Consulting, author of several books including Return on Sustainability, and a convincing thought leader.
In this conversation, we discuss how Kevin cut his teeth in a field that didn’t yet exist, the people who told him “that won’t happen,” how his company’s work boosts client employee engagement, his role as organizational translator, the forefathers and foremothers of the field, and how he makes sense of recent alarming reports about climate change.
One more thing. In the past two years, I’ve had the opportunity to partner with more organizations in clean tech, energy efficiency and climate change than in the previous decade before that. Growing leaders and teams in these organizations is a total joy. As I tell Kevin, if I spent 98% of my time doing this, that wouldn’t be too much. People like Kevin give me inspiration to continue reaching out and making new offers.
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- 7:00 Creating a new market niche
- 20:00 From “do the right thing” to “investors are demanding this”
- 25:00 Translating and meeting people where they are at
- 29:00 Sustainability increases employee engagement, attraction, and retention
- 33:00 Stock analysts have finally caught on
- 41:00 What’s missing in the public conversation about climate change
- 45:00 Amiel’s riff on time horizons, climate change, and adult development
- 49:00 Why spend $300K watering a lawn in a forest fire region?
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