Monday, July 11, 2005

BRC 19: Jason Trout: How business CAN save the planet (and her people too).

Jason Trout is a partner in and is the founder of – a discussion list for eco-entrepreneurs.

I wake up everyday and start saving rainforest right from my computer. Since I graduated from college in 2001, I’ve helped save tens of millions of square feet of rainforest. However, I don’t work for a non-profit, nor the government, and I’m not an activist. I’m an entrepreneur!

I’m a partner in a company called Among other things, we offer Internet access that saves rainforest – 500 square feet per subscriber, per month. We do this by taking part of each member’s monthly fee that we receive and donating it to The Nature Conservancy. They then take those funds and literally buy and protect 500 square feet of rainforest per subscriber, per month.

The result is a very happy situation: The more customers we have, the more rainforest we save. This turns the general understanding of business on its head. Far too often, as we all know, business is bad for the environment and her people. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There is a growing movement of “green businesses” out there. What is a green business? A regular business focuses on a single bottom line – profit. A green business focuses on a triple bottom line: planet, people, and profits.

The impact of these green businesses is substantial and is literally growing every day. For instance, Newman’s Own has raised over $150 million for charity, Patagonia over $18 million, Working Assets has raised over $47 million, Wildlife Works purchased 80,000 acres in Africa and turned it into an elephant sanctuary. And on and on and on. All the while making a living for their owners and employees.

So if you want to save the world, you just may want to consider business school.

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