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Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and best-selling author. At age 20, he moved to Boston to study macrobiotic philosophy under Michio and Aveline Kushi. He then dedicated his life to changing the relationship between business and the environment, and between human and living systems in order to create a more just and sustainable world. His work includes starting and running ecological businesses, writing and teaching about the impact of commerce upon the environment, and consulting with governments and corporations on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. His principle of comprehensive outcome (see below) was influential in full cost accounting and the eventual emergence of ecological footprint and triple bottom line standards for sustainability.
He is author and co-author of dozens of articles, op-eds, papers, as well as six books including The Next Economy (Ballantine 1983) wherein he coined the term the "restoration economy", Growing a Business (Simon and Schuster 1987), and The Ecology of Commerce (HarperCollins 1993). The Ecology of Commerce was voted in 1998 as the #1 college text on business and the environment by professors in 67 business schools. In this book, he introduced the comprehensive outcome principle - taking account of the entire result of an event or process to all parties, not just the immediate participants. When considering a decision to build a factory, for instance, it would include the natural resource depletion, the pollution, and any side effects of the production, distribution and consumption processes. Hawken contrasted this to a merely culminative outcome which is simply the obvious result visible to the buyer at the moment and point of purchase, and the profit made thereby by the supplier.
His book, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Little, Brown. September 1999) with Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins, has been referred to by several heads of state including President Bill Clinton who calls it one of the five most important books in the world today. It popularized the now-standard idea of natural capital and direct accounting for nature's services. The book includes a price of Earth analysis.
His latest book is entitled Blessed Unrest, How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming was published by Viking Press (New York) May, 2007. In it Hawken describes a convergence of the environmental and social justice movements as the largest social movement in history, and the fastest growing movement, comprising over 1 million organizations in every country in the world. He also talks extensively about his new project Wiser Earth, which is a wiki-based social network surrounding organizations in the environmental and social justice fields.
His books have been published in over 50 countries in 27 languages and have sold over 2 million copies.
Growing a Business became the basis of a 17-part PBS series, which Mr. Hawken hosted and produced. The program, which explored the challenges and pitfalls of starting and operating socially responsive companies, was shown on television in 115 countries and watched by over 100 million people. His piece on Seattle and the WTO entitled N30 was published on over 100 websites and by 13 magazines.
Mr. Hawken also heads the Natural Capital Institute (NCI), a research oriented NGO located in Sausalito, California. NCI's projects include the documentary film "Blessed Unrest" based upon Mr. Hawken's recently published book, and the first open source database of the hundreds of thousands of civil society organizations around the world dedicated to environmental restoration and social justice, available at WiserEarth. NCI recently conducted a large research project on the subject of socially responsible investing (SRI) and created the first public database of SRI funds in North America, displaying complete company portfolios and screening categories. The research report available at www.responsibleinvesting.org describes the current state of SRI, and presents several recommendations to improve the industry.
Mr. Hawken has served on the board of many public organizations including Point Foundation (publisher of the Whole Earth Catalogs), Center for Plant Conservation, Conservation International, Trust for Public Land, Friends of the Earth, and National Audubon Society. He was the founder and Chair of The Natural Step in the United States as well as The Natural Step International in Stockholm.