Joel Makower

Expert on Sustainable Business & Clean Technology
Joel Makower
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    $10,001 - $20,000*

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    $10,001 - $20,000*

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    $10,001 - $20,000*

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For more than 20 years, Joel Makower has been a well-respected voice on business, the environment, and the bottom line. As a writer, speaker, and entrepreneur on corporate sustainability practices, he has helped a wide range of companies align environmental goals with business strategy.

Joel is chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group, Inc., creator of research and events on sustainable business and clean technology. He hosts’s annual GreenBiz Forums as well as the VERGE conferences produced around the world by his company, and is author of the annual “State of Green Business” report.

In 2012, he was awarded the Hutchens Medal by the American Society for Quality, which cited “his ability to tell compelling stories that both inform and inspire business leaders toward profitable action.”

Joel also is co-founder of Clean Edge Inc., a research and consulting firm focusing on clean technologies, and is senior strategist at GreenOrder, which consults with leading companies on strategic sustainability issues. From 1991 to 2005 he was editor of "The Green Business Letter," an award-winning monthly newsletter on corporate environmental strategy and practices.

Joel regularly keynotes corporate events, business associations, and regional business and economic development events, and is frequently quoted in major news media, including Fortune, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, USA Today, Time, and public radio’s “Marketplace.”

A former nationally syndicated columnist, Joel is author of more than a dozen books, including his latest, Strategies for the Green Economy (2008). Previous books include “Beyond the Bottom Line: Putting Social Responsibility to Work for Your Business and the World,” about the profit and potential of socially responsible business practices; “The E-Factor: The Bottom-Line Approach to Environmentally Responsible Business,” on how companies are responding to environmental challenges in positive and profitable ways, and “The Green Consumer,” a best-selling guide to the environmental marketplace

The Associated Press has called him "The guru of green business practices."

Makower advises several green business and cleantech startups and sits on the board of the nonprofits Climate Counts, the Biomimicry Institute, and United Roots.

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Speaker Video

Joel Makower at the Golden Gate Club

From Here to Sustainability. Nearly every company is assessing itself through the lens of environmental responsibility. For a handful of leading companies it involves asking the question: “How do we compete in a world in which energy, water, materials, and toxicity are constraints to growth?” Today, being green is not just about “doing less bad” or “greening the bottom line.” It’s about reducing risk — supply chain, reputation, financial and more. It’s about growing the top line through innovation, new markets, increased productivity, customer loyalty, and increased ability to attract and retain talent. I tell how leading companies aligning sustainability with business value. What You’ll Learn

  • What’s driving environmental issues to rise to the top inside the world’s biggest companies
  • Strategies leading companies use to harness green thinking to create business value
  • “How good is good enough?” when it comes to company environmental performance
  • The challenges of communicating for environmental leaders
  • How a new breed of green innovators is transforming markets

The VERGE Opportunity. A convergence is taking place among energy, information, building and vehicle technologies, representing one of the next great waves of business innovation — and a boon to the environment. This mash-up of clean technology, sustainable business, and smart everything is creating vast opportunities for companies to develop ultra-efficient and innovative products, services, and business models for companies, cities, and consumers. It’s one of the most significant drivers of business innovation and strategy. What You’ll Learn:

  • Why the VERGE economy is happening now, what it means, and who’s involved
  • The new business opportunities for both technology and non-technology companies
  • How VERGE will increasingly impact business operations and career paths
  • The new value chains and knowledge networks that will increasingly shake up markets
  • Where the VERGE economy is headed and how to prepare for it

The Green Marketing Conundrum. Green marketing is a challenge, as companies try to cash in on perceived public interest in products deemed to be better for the planet. How do you sell “green” in a world with a seemingly insatiable appetite for more stuff? In a world in which Walmart, GM, and GE are waving the green flag, how can marketers be heard—and believed? Joel offers tales from the trenches, the latest trends, and insight and inspiration to help marketers survive and succeed in this confusing marketplace. What You’ll Learn:

  • Is green consumer concern a passing fad or the way of the future?
  • The great, green chasm — why consumers often say one thing and do another
  • Unmarketing — why it’s sometimes better to do more and say less
  • Who’s doing it right, and why
  • The biggest green marketing mistakes and how to avoid them

Joel is a skilled host and moderator, regularly called upon to conduct on-stage or on-camera interviews, or to host lively and intelligent discussions with executives and thought leaders — in-person, on video, and online. He also serves as emcee of events, harnessing his talents as an engaging host, a nimble thinker, and a quick wit to create experiences that rise above “conference as usual.”

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