I was deeply honored last month when I was inducted as inaugural member of the Sustainability Hall of Fame by the International Society of Sustainability Professionals — both for the honor itself, and for the company I shared. Here’s what I said (as best as I can remember) as I accepted the award from Marsha Willard:
All of us stand on the shoulders of others, so it’s an exceptional honor for me to be recognized together with those on whose shoulders I’ve stood. The other inductees have been my teachers and my heroes, and I’m humbled and moved to share this award with them.
I’ve known Amory Lovins for more than 30 years — and learned from his physicist’s way of thinking, his rigor, and his bold reinventing of how we think about energy.
Karl-Henrik Robert and I have known each other only about 15 years, and I have been grateful each of those years for the unstoppable elegance of the Natural Step framework — still the most dependable tool in my toolkit.
Bob Willard, maybe only ten years, but speaking of toolkits, Bob has, probably more than anyone, been delivering the tools for making the sustainability business case.
And of course Ray Anderson, who we lost just a few weeks ago, who took all the things so many of us talk about and put them to work at the heart of a multi-billion dollar corporation — with humility, grace and effectiveness. A prince.
There are many other sets of shoulders to mention, but I’ll name just one. I began this work in 1972, when I spent a month at the World Game Workshop with Buckminster Fuller and his organization. In a month long design charrette for the planet, I learned — I demonstrated for myself, in big picture, whole systems design, and in nitty gritty, down in the weeds analysis — that there’s no necessary barrier to human success on this planet, only our will. I signed on, back then, to contribute whatever I could to (in Bucky’s words), “a world that works for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological defense, or the disadvantage of anyone.” That’s been my guide ever since.
And here we are today, working to transform the economy of an entire planet. This planet. In one generation. I’m honored to be in this work, and honored to be in it with you.