Bill Shireman

President of Future 500, Co-Chair of In This Together and the Donor Roundtable, Chairman of BridgeUSA and Lecturer at UC Berkeley Haas School of Business
Bill Shireman Speaker
  • Master of Environmental Entrepreneurism
  • Unites big brands to fight for environmental issues
  • Spearheaded partnerships between Mitsubishi and Rainforest Action Network resulting in a global deforestation-free movement

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Bill Shireman is a serial social entrepreneur, policy innovator, and conflict mediator who brings together capitalists, activists, conservatives, progressives, and other unusual bedfellows to overcome challenges that often divide them.

As President of the non-profit Future 500, he invites Greenpeace, ExxonMobil, Rainforest Action Network (RAN), Mitsubishi and other corporate and environmental leaders to work together.  He brokered agreements to create the world’s first corporate supply chain standards for sustainable forestry (between Mitsubishi, RAN, and then 400 other companies), the most effective beverage container recycling program (the California CRV deposit system and its progeny), and the 2008 agreement by both Greenpeace and Exxon-Mobil to support precisely the same federal tax on carbon, which went absolutely nowhere.

To tackle political polarization and help revitalize democracy, Shireman co-chairs with Trammell S. Crow, the Donor Roundtable and its citizen recruitment initiative, In This Together.  He helps philanthropists use best-in-class proprietary data, analytics, deliberative polling, and communication tools to mobilize pragmatic “solution citizens” behind practical policies that work.   

So others can take up where he eventually leaves off, he teaches leadership and negotiations at the UC Berkeley Haas Business School, and serves as chairman and a surrogate founding father of BridgeUSA, where young progressives, conservatives, libertarians, and independents all register decline-to-hate, and engage in democracy by listening, speaking, learning, teaching, and then solving problems together.

Professor Shireman is the author of 7 books. His latest, In This Together: How Republicans, Democrats, Capitalists, and Activists are uniting to tackle climate change and more, can be found on Amazon and in leading bookstores.

When he’s not traveling around the country engaging and inspiring corporate, academic and NGO audiences, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and children. Bill has a soft spot for green tea lattes and meeting people from faraway places who stay at his Airbnb.

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For 30 years, Bill Shireman has helped CEOs and senior leaders navigate societal expectations of corporations as they evolved from HSE/SHE (Safety, Health, and Environment) to CSR and CS Corporate Social Responsibility/Sustainability), and now to the more structured ESG and its many components.  

ESG is a still-evolving set of Environmental, Social and Governance standards (ESG) that relate to how well a company may be performing and preparing for risks and opportunities related to long-term value, such as climate change and environmental sustainability; justice, diversity, and inclusion (JEDI/D&I); privacy and data security; and corporate governance including board diversity, stakeholder engagement, corporate mission, executive pay and tax transparency.  It is currently the leading framework for evaluating corporate social impacts.

Shireman can speak from experience across all these, sharing stories and examples from energy, tech, and consumer sectors that bring these concepts to life, reveal trends, and help companies look around the corner and take practical, purpose-led steps that deliver sustained value.  Remarks can focus on one or more of:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability, and the Triple Bottom Line
  • Leadership in ESG and Corporate Sustainability:  A Primer
  • Stakeholder Engagement:  How to Engage Without the Rage
  • Ten Common Mistakes: Lessons of Sustainability Leaders
  • Next in ESG:  Corporate Political and Media Responsibility


Bill Shireman is a pioneer in sustainability and a serial social entrepreneur.  He helped frame key sustainability concepts, applied them in both law and practice, and helped conceive, cofound and grow a series of NGOs and agencies ranging from CalPIRG and The Fund for Public Interest Research; to Californians Against Waste and California Futures; to the California Division of Recycling and CalRecycle; to Global Futures and the Future 500; and now In This Together and Solution Citizen.  

Each of Shireman’s endeavors and enterprises shares a common underlying root:  they all apply principles of living systems to help people grow a more creative, adaptive, resilient and sustainable world.  Shireman can tell stories and weave together concepts to help professionals understand, apply, and create value from:

  • The Circular Economy:  Principles, Practices, and Possibilities
  • Climate Change and the Path to Net Zero Carbon
  • The Future of Plastic, O&G, and Chemistry
  • Innovation, Advanced Recycling, and Zero Waste
  • Bipartisan Policies for Conservation, Clean Energy, and Circularity
  • The Power of Ten:  Ten Steps Companies Can Take to Save the Planet
  • What We Learned in the Rainforest:  Business Lessons from Nature


Shireman is a national leader in movements to overcome polarization and bridge the divide that threatens democracy and the environment.  With BridgeUSA, the Bridge Alliance, the Donor Roundtable and In This Together, he partners across many divides to find a Social Solution for media and democracy reform, and foster a Climate of Unity between conservatives and progressives to protect the planet.  He can speak on:

  • The Movement to Reclaim Democracy and Bridge the Divide:  A Primer
  • America in One Room:  When red and blue Americans squeeze together in one room, do we all turn green?
  • Political Polarization and Climate Change:  How can we end the culture war and create a climate of unity?
  • The Social Solution:  Can we reduce anger in social media and reboot technology for good?
  • Corporate Political and Media Responsibility:  trends and frameworks

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