joel makower green business

E4C #1: Joel Makower, on Trends in Green Business & Dream Green Jobs

This must-hear interview with Joel Makower is perfect for anyone interested in increasing their online presence, making money through their green business, and growing readership. Joel has over 20 years of experience as a journalist and green entrepreneur, and brings a ton of wisdom and insight to discussions on green jobs, green businesses, and cleantech [...]

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joel makower green businessThis must-hear interview with Joel Makower is perfect for anyone interested in increasing their online presence, making money through their green business, and growing readership. Joel has over 20 years of experience as a journalist and green entrepreneur, and brings a ton of wisdom and insight to discussions on green jobs, green businesses, and cleantech developments. He’s written many books, speaks at hundreds of conferences and events every year, and is considered the guru of green business practices.

Listen to this interview to hear Joel’s thoughts on lots of important topics, including:

  • How to develop a vibrant, money-making online community and how long it takes to become profitable.
  • How to amazing writers to your online green community and what it takes to stimulate interesting conversations.
  • Trends in green business and why some companies are going green and others are not.
  • How to transform a nonprofit organization into a for-profit publishing company.
  • How to target your message to high value professionals and big companies to increase income and quality visits.

You’ll also hear Joel’s views on whether you should get a green MBA, how to find a green job, connecting with other green professionals for greater success in your green career, and what’s involved in transforming an existing career into one that’s making a difference for the environment.

Watch the Full Program

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About Joel Makower

joel makower greenerbizFor 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 strategist on corporate environmental practices, clean technology, and green marketing, he has helped a wide range of companies align environmental responsibility with business success.

Joel is co-founder and executive editor of Greener World Media, Inc., which produces and its sister sites,,,, and Joel is also the principal author of the annual State of Green Business report and the Greener by Design conference, both produced by Greener World Media.

Books by Joel Makower

Green Conferences

  • State of Green Business Forum
  • Clean-Tech Investor Summit
  • Greener by Design Conference

Green Industry Resources

  • State of Green Business Report
  • Green Building Market and Impact Report 2010
  • GreenBiz Salary Survey 2010
  • GreenBiz Executive Network

Greener World Media Websites

  • Joel Makower’s Blog

Companies Mentioned

  • GreenBiz Group Inc.
  • Rocky Mountain Institute

Raw Transcript

00:03 Lorna Li: This is Episode 1 of entrepreneurs for a change. If you like this podcast, please subscribe for a mailing list at Are you ready to be the change? If so, you’ve come to the right place. You’re about to join a movement of entrepreneurs who are empowering people, saving the planet and turning their passion into profits while creating the lifestyle of their dreams. If you don’t believe us, check our website at, a place for you can be inspired, mentored and supported by a tribe of change-making entrepreneurs just like you.

00:40 LL: Hi there, I’m Lorna Li, Editor-in-chief of Green Marketing TV and Today, we have a very special guest with us and that is Joel Makower, a bestselling author, speaker and entrepreneur who has been pioneering the greening of mainstream business for the past 20 years. Now, Joel is a co-founder of which is one of the leading online publications that covers green business, green marketing, Clean Tech, and green careers. So if you don’t want to miss out on the latest green business news, I highly recommend that you head over to and sign up for their GreenBuzz newsletter. And if you want to find out more about Joel Makower, go ahead and visit his blog which is called Two Steps Forward, and you can go there by going to Today, Joel and I are going to talk about the state of green jobs and how to have a green dream career. So Joel, I know you as the founder of GreenBiz and over the past few years, I’ve actually discovered more of all the different things that you’re doing. So, can you share with us some of the latest projects that you’re working on right now.

01:59 Joel Makower: Well, first of all thanks, Lorna, for having me. There’s a lot going on in my little… Well, first of all, there is the GreenBiz group which is a company I co-founded that did have as you said as a flagship website. But we do more than just websites. Online media is part of it, we also do events, conferences and events, like the state of Green Business Forum and a GreenBiz Innovation Forum and some others that we’ll be announcing in the coming months actually. We do research reports and we’re growing that part of the business that we print out reports like state of Green Business and the Green Building Market and Impact Report and GreenBiz Salary Survey, things like that. And finally we run something called the GreenBiz Executive Network which is a peer-to-peer learning forum for senior sustainability professionals in big companies.

02:52 JM: So we have about 60 big companies and we bring them together two or three times a year to learn… They come together and learn from one another. So that’s the GreenBiz part and one way I also put under the company called Clean Edge which is in the clean technology research, we do Clean-Tech Investor Summit that we had down at Palm Springs and a number of research reports. So I’ve had the great good fortune and through those and through some other activities to look at the greening of companies looking at the clean technology market place for the past 10 years. And increasingly look at the convergence finally of those two places, green business and Clean Tech.

03:36 LL: Wow, you sound like a really busy guy and I think it’s amazing that you’re doing all these things. One thing I’ve always been curious about, publisher to publisher, is how long did it take you to grow GreenBiz as the leading green biz website and how long did it take for you to monetize? So you guys got to have great writers. Where do you find these writers and how do you monetize all your traffic?

04:04 JM: Sure. You asked several questions and there’s a little bit of history. So I’ve been writing about this since really the late ’80s I started, I wrote a book in 1989 called A Green Consumer which is looking at the green market place back then and what we thought at that time was this great way that consumers are going to come in and start to vote with their dollars environmentally speaking. Then I very quickly, have a journalist by training, I wrote the book, I had a weekly syndicated column in about a hundred papers called The Green Consumer and was speaking into preaching the gospel that every time you open your wallet, you cast a vote for or against the environment and the market place isn’t a democracy, it doesn’t take just 51% of people voting to make a difference. What I realized in the course of writing and speaking about this stuff back in 1990-91 was that there really was no green consumer movement in the US; that consumers weren’t all that interested in change despite what they’re telling, and have been telling and continue to tell pollsters.

05:08 JM: That’s changed a little bit and if you want to target green market segmentation, I frankly don’t think that there’s much in a way of green consumerism out there. But what I realized along the way as I was being called into companies to talk about the so called green market place, was that companies themselves were doing a lot of things environmentally speaking or trying to for a number of reasons. Some because they had to and some because they generally want to do and some because they saw it was a great opportunity on a number of fronts. And that was interesting to me so I started a newsletter in 1991 called the Green Business Letter, wrote some other books. And then the web came along and I started… Because your question about how we built the wide green biz and monetized it, and it’s not a short story but I’ll try to make it short.

05:56 JM: When the web came along, I started a website for my newsletter, subscription-based printed monthly newsletter. And then I realized that there was a terrific amount of information coming across my desk that wasn’t being captured. And later, 10 years later, I realized there was a name for people like me just called content aggregators. But at that time, I was kind of an information pack rat and I felt that there’s an opportunity partly to sell more newsletter subscriptions to create a free resource center of all these stuff. And I quickly realized that I made up this green business resource center was bigger than just a little marketing come on and that became a project unto itself. This is 1998-99. You may remember back then, or if you do not remember, there was no business model in that period of time for giving away information on the internet. And so, I decided to create a non-profit in 1999 to publish this information resource center called

06:54 JM: So, GreenBiz started out as a non-profit and it went along for a number of years and it didn’t really… It did the tin cup thing, asking for donations in foundations and things like that. Never really paid by itself but managed to grow. In about 2005, I met a gentleman named Pete May who showed me that there was a business model. In fact, every sector now had a company that did websites and conferences and research reports, and nobody had done that in the sustainability realm that I had somehow managed to build, a pretty good ground around GreenBiz¸why don’t we do this? So I turned a non-profit into a for-profit. And Pete May, really, who is my co-founder and the CEO of the GreenBiz Group, my company, is changed in 20 years of B2B publishing and he had built 8-figure revenue streams for magazines and trade magazines and like. And he came in and very quickly, in the first two weeks probably, raised more money in advertising than we raised for five years in GreenBiz as a non-profit.

08:04 JM: So that’s how we started to monetize. And then, it allowed us to grow and build a real content team. There’s no magic to it. We monetized it, actually, we’ve grown it from a number of different… From one revenue stream, advertising, to a number of different revenue streams including conference registration and company sponsorships and exhibitors to usage reports and as I said, its membership organization. So we strategically tried to get from a 100% revenue from sponsorship and advertising to only 50%. And now, we’re actually going less than 50% as the company grows and grows to the size that it is. So the bigger we get, the less money we wanted to get from advertising because that’s the least reliable form of revenue.

08:53 LL: Yeah, it’s especially challenging right now to monetize websites wholly on advertising. I think a lot of web publishers are really feeling the pinch year especially since it is been getting really competitive these days. In the old days, did you actually work with ad networks or did you have people call companies directly and ask if they would be willing to advertise?

09:16 JM: No. We’re in a little bit of a different league, Lorna, because we one of the things we’ve managed to do quite successfully is, as you know, the unit of measure in advertising is CPM, the cost per thousand readers. And CPMs… I don’t really know. I’m not on the advertising side, I’m on the content side, but my understanding is that they’re $10, $20. In some cases, $5, some cases, in big sites where its low value, it’s a dollar. I don’t know exactly the numbers but it’s not very much and it has gone down over time as more and more websites aggregate more and more people but low value audiences. And we’re in a very high value audience which are professionals in companies interested in the environment. Not just environmental professionals, they are marketing people and branding people, they are human resource people. They are operations facilities management, purchasing, fleets, on and on. And because of that, we’re getting irrationally high CPMs – $50, $60, $70, $80.

10:23 JM: And so we’ve actually done very, very well with advertising. In fact, it continues… Even though, it represents a smaller and smaller fraction, it grows every year, in terms of the dollar. Since the whole company is growing. So we’re finding that there is an audience. Again, we’re a B2B site, so we’re not looking at consumers, we’re looking at other business people and that’s a big difference. So we’re finding actually quite a bit of success in selling advertisements, in getting big companies, IBMs of the world and SAP and AutoDesk and lots and lots of companies to want to be connected to us not just because we get eyeballs as they used to say in the web word but because we’re associated with thought leadership and people want to be part of that.

11:13 LL: What do you find are the most effective methods for you in actually growing your traffic?

11:19 JM: That’s the challenge. I mean, we have… For us, again, it’s not just the quantity but the quality of traffic. So we tussle with this in our editorial team in terms of, do we want to put out stories that we know will get Digg’ed a lot, and a lot of the social media traffics and everyone will be clicking but not necessarily people who we want to attract. But the shorthand, it’s kind of become a joke, in terms, you can call it “the solar bikini stories.” You must have, once upon a time, heard a story about someone who created a solar bikini…

11:53 LL: Is that true? Really? [laughter]

11:55 JM: I think, it’s definitely true. I can send you a picture of it. I don’t even know what the solar does, it must be to power your iPod or something. But, people loved it and got, you know, everyone was digging it and got cast all over the place. We got lots and lots of traffic but they were one time visitors who came for that, left, did not subscribe to our newsletter, did not… Obviously people who weren’t going to pay sizeable amounts to attend our conferences and other things that we sell. So, we’re always struggling with, do we do link bait stories, as they are called, that are just going to get a lot and grow the traffic? Or do we stick to the quality? And the second do you want to do link bait stories and once in a while you actually get some story that is both. But those are rare and so it’s a very hard thing to do to continue to create the quality stories that we aspire to do and then to get out to the audiences that we want to attract.

12:54 LL: I agree it’s really hard to make B2B viral. I have a lot of experience with that in my other job, so kudos to you for being able to get some content like that. What about your writers? Where do you find them? Are they all volunteer writers or are some of them paid or do you have both?

13:15 JM: Well, we have a staff of four full time salaried writers here in the office in Oakland, California and then we have a small number of contract writers. People like Mark Gunther, who basically these days splits his time between Fortune magazine and GreenBiz. He gets a monthly thing and he writes some number of stories for us. We have some other… We’ve been a fortunate beneficiary of an unfortunate trend, which is a lot of great reporters from Fortune, Wall Street Journal and Business Week finding themselves separated involuntarily from their jobs and have great skills out there in terms of reporting on energy and environment. We can’t bring them all in, we can’t afford them all, but we do have some of those. But beyond that, we have somewhere every year between four and five hundred people write for us for free. We call them contributors for multiple reasons [chuckle] literally contributing content.

14:23 JM: And these are largely professionals in the field. Some of them are consultants, a few of them are from NGOs, some of them are MBAs or business students who have something to say or something, some trend that they are looking at or some experience. These are again, helping our audience, which are people in mainstream companies trying to understand how to integrate environmental thinking into their operations and do it in a way that aligns with their core business practices, not just a feel good add-on kind of thing. So we have a lot of people writing for us and we’re getting… We have a number of organizations sort of known organizations in this field, the Rocky Mountain Institute, Business for Social Responsibility, several others who have regular columns for us who write regularly and we have multiple people from the organizations writing for us. It’s been a terrific way to get our little team of four here in Oakland to either directly or indirectly by having other people writing for us that they edit and put up on the site create between roughly 2200 to 2500 stories every year. That’s amazing output for, again, four if you think 250 business days, that’s basically about ten stories a day.

15:45 LL: That’s pretty good. Do they find you or do you guys do outreach to all these different organizations or sustainability professionals?

15:54 JM: It’s a little bit of both. Certainly, people ping us all the time and want to write for us and some of them… I have a one pager that I send to people who want to write for us for two reasons: One, who is one you’ll never hear from again. It’s just a way to say, “Hey, here’s this” then they never follow up. But the ones that do, well, who have a better sense who our audience is and what our voice is, what kind of stories we want. A little bit of transparency, if you’re writing about a client of yours, that’s okay or a customer that’s okay, but we’d like to know that. Or, if you’re involved in this or have some financial interest in what you’re writing about that’s okay, but we need to be transparent. So, we have a few rules of engagement. But increasingly we’re going to organizations. We are fortunate enough to be in a position where we get to pick our partners a lot and so we’re finding organizations that we want to work with, ones that aren’t necessarily being heard by our audience that may have some great output.

16:57 JM: The Rocky Mountain Institute is a terrific example of that. They write just incredibly thoughtful and factual, and researched and deep stories about energy efficiency in buildings. Like so many non-profits organizations they publish on their website, maybe have some kind of email distribution, but nobody really sees, at least in terms of our audience. So, we can pull the best of those and the best from lots of other organizations and then increasingly working with those and it’s working really well. And along the way we do find that there are… We meet all the time corporate executives and others who say, “Hey,” or we hear stories on stage from people at conferences when we ask people, we say, “We’d love it if you’d want to write about that for us, to initiate that project, that ongoing, that product you’re developing, that lesson you learned that you just shared with an audience.” And so, you know, everybody’s got a great story.

17:54 LL: That’s a great strategy for ensuring that you guys get the best content for all the different topics that you cover. So I want to take our conversation to one of your areas of expertise on GreenBiz which is the topic of green careers or green jobs. Based on what you’ve seen so far with regards to just your own research and the content that you’re getting published through GreenBiz, what’s your take on the green jobs market now and where do you see it in the next few years?

18:21 JM: Well, green jobs is one of those things like green business that people talk about as if we all agree on what it means and there’s a standard definition.

18:31 LL: That’s true.

18:32 JM: There isn’t at all. And so, my question is always, what do you mean by a green job? Do you mean someone who’s installing solar panels or fixing electric cars? Or, how do you think about somebody at General Motors who last year was making a Cadillac Escalades and this year is making Chevy Volts? Is that a green job? And how do you think about the admin or the bookkeeper at BrightSource Energy here in Oakland which is one the largest solar, integrated solar firms, they’re building massive solar farms in the Mojave Desert, is that admin or bookkeeper, is that a green job? We don’t really know what that means and so, the question is, and this is the question I get all the time and I speak at business schools while I was just, or colleges, I was just, two days ago down in North Carolina at a school called Guilford College of Liberal Art School Quaker focus, they had a speaker series and they’re very focused on sustainability.

19:38 JM: And then, inevitably, the question is, “Well, this is great. I love this. How do I get a job?” And I hear that from college, I hear it from grad students, I hear it from mid-career professionals, I hear it from light-career professionals. Everybody’s… I mean everybody but a lot of people see this as a really interesting opportunity. One that may sit with their values or they may just be next great way to be employed or make money. And so I have this conversation with a lot of them. And then part of this is… It is the long way of getting to your question, and everybody, they kind of know it when they see it and in some cases, one of the challenges that people say, “Well, I want to go work for Clean Tech companies or I want to work for a green business.” Starting with that basic premise, I mean very rationally so that that’s going to be a green job.

20:31 JM: And yeah, there were some of those but there aren’t that many green business, whatever that means, there are businesses with green values, there are businesses with green practices. Are those green businesses? I don’t know. I mean how do you think about a print shop that only uses recycled paper and prints using soy-based inks and recycles everything? I mean is that a green business? They might not even called… They may be doing all these since and not even self-identified as a green business, that’s just how you practice business these days. So, anyway, I think that the challenge and the opportunity is first of all, figure out what do you want to do. What are you good at? Just in career, in any kind of business, are you good at marketing, are you good at design, are you good at sales, are you good at law or policy or people?

21:23 JM: And in some ways, it’s much better to go to… Start with the skill and a set of environmental beliefs or passions and knowledge in going to any company and deploy those beliefs and knowledge and passions there and try to create… There may be a company that wasn’t even thinking about this or maybe a company that’s thought about it didn’t quite know how to get there, and you can move the needle for that company. A lot of small businesses have fallen to that category. And so, I guess I’m just saying that a lot of this is that, I think the best opportunities aren’t in distinctly green, so-called green businesses, they’re so-called clean technologies. They are all over the place and that every job has a potential to be a green job. I know that sounds like a platitude.

22:13 LL: Yeah, no, it’s kind of really hard to visualize because I think when I look at these different green jobs boards for example, there are certain kinds of jobs that typically show up that are considered to be green. The solar panel installer would definitely be a green job. I mean is there any kind of broad grouping of the different kinds of green jobs? Have you seen in your research a particular job type that seems to be more abundant now than before, like sustainability managers at large companies for example?

22:46 JM: Yeah. There’s a growing demand but it’s a… At any time you don’t need both hands to count the number of job openings that there are or maybe both hands but you can leave your shoes untouched. The thing is that, how do you think about the sales person at a solar company, is that a green job? I mean, the point I’m making, Lorna, is that all of these companies that are doing something green, and there’s a lot more companies than you think, they need everything that a company needs. They need sales people, they need marketing people, they need office admin, they need legal help, they need writers, they need everything. And so, you… It doesn’t mean that you may not want to go in and learn some specific skill around organic gardening or organic farming or textile production or some other technical skill like solar or wind or electric vehicle designer, repair or maintenance or something.

23:55 JM: There are those emerging job categories but they’re not a lot. And I think that’s why a lot of people get frustrated because they’re looking for this instead of just explicitly something that they can say, “This is a green job, I’m installing solar panels.” But beyond installing solar panels and a relative handful of other job descriptions, there aren’t a lot of other great jobs out there. If you look at, we have at GreenBiz, we have a jobs board and in there you’re going to see a lot calls for protecting people like engineers and chemists. You’re going to see a lot of calls for sales people, everyone’s looking for good salespeople in any kind of company and certainly in so-called green companies or clean technology companies, like everyone else, they need quality salespeople. And so in some ways it’s not as magical as a lot of people think. People want this magical job with this magical company. So once in a while they find that but those are rare.

24:55 LL: Yeah, I think for a lot of people who are trying to connect with green jobs, they want to feel that there’s something within their job capacities that’s actually contributing to making the world a more sustainable place, making the world a better place. So, yeah, I would say that even though your question of, is a salesperson at a solar company, would that be considered a green job? I would say in some sense it is because it does tend to attract those people that are looking to find more meaning in their work.

25:24 JM: Yeah, that’s a good opinion. But I’m actually seeing more and more people who just… They say this is as the next pot of gold and they’re coming in for… There’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re like the best damn salesperson and you don’t really care what you’re selling, and you can help sell solar and get more solar panel, more power to you. I don’t care what your politics are, I don’t care what your passions are, I don’t even care if you care about or believe in global warming, if you can move a needle on that then that’s a great thing. But I was going to say, you talk about people wanting more meaning in their work, in their lives, I can’t tell you how many admin-types or office managers I’ve met who have started an effort to green their office and have in the process of that have formed a green team and in the process of creating a green team they had to work with purchasing department or facility management or fleets or some other part of human resources to create things like transit passes or bicycle racks or other things for the company.

26:30 JM: And those people, non-technically perhaps trained, won’t think as a green professional in any aspect of it, made a big difference in terms of moving the needle within the company, influencing other people in the business, influencing the way people work in terms of turning off their computers and the lights, what they’re wasting things, printing on both sides of the paper, all these basic things that we should all be doing. And they weren’t necessarily looking for a green job, or maybe they were, but that’s how these things happen. And so there are so many opportunities, there are opportunities in janitorial departments where people say, “We want to start switching to green cleaners, we want to rethink the way we’re cleaning, how much water we use and where the waste goes and we want to do this partly because it’s good for the environment.” Probably because it’s good for the staff’s health, because they’re not breathing the stuff, it’s better for the people who work at the building because they’re not breathing all this stuff from cells either. And so, are they green jobs? I don’t really know but they sure are making a difference and they know it and they love it.

27:40 LL: So it sounds like it might actually be one of the easiest ways to get sustainability in your job description, which is if you’re in a company already, and you decide to spearhead a sustainability initiative, create a dream team, then that actually might be an easier way of navigating into a “green job” rather than actually searching for something online on a job board perhaps.

28:04 JM: Yeah. I mean it’s all good but you’re right, that is why in fact sometimes those office managers who create the green teams all of a sudden can find themselves ascending within the company, could be the environmental coordinator. Or maybe they start doing Earth Day event, maybe they start multiple events throughout the year, and they… Some of those people have risen to become the head of sustainability for small, mid-sized companies.

28:30 LL: So how does a person become a Chief Sustainability Officer at a big company?

28:34 JM: Yeah, there used to be a sort of one path to that, which is largely through engineering because back in the day and then in the ’90s, and even in the ’80s, the companies that first had those kind of people tended to be engineers working on compliance-related issues, you know, smokestacks and filters and scrubbers, and all that kind of stuff. And in some businesses, that still is where these people come from. But increasingly, as I mentioned before we ran a membership organization, we have about 60 members of Chief Sustainability Officers at huge companies, FedEx and Microsoft and Wells Fargo and Frito Lay and Nore Cores and Avon and Campbell Soup and Steel Case and a bunch of companies that you’ve never heard of, that I’ve never heard of before, they joined us. They come from all over the place, some of them were in sales, some of them were in marketing, some of them were doing this work at a division, some of them just found themselves… They just evolved.

29:39 JM: And so some of them came through purchasing or one of the specific parts of the business. Maybe they were running a part of a business unit that had the biggest environmental impact for the company, they did a lot within that business unit to help green up that part of the company and then they were tasked with creating a company-wide effort. So they’re all different and that’s what’s kind of fun is that you end up… You put them all in a room and you don’t end up with safety engineers, you end up with this really interesting mix of people who have lots of different professional experience and of course they come from many different sectors, consumer phasing, business phasing and the like. And so it’s quite an interesting mix. What’s great is they get…

30:30 JM: There are two things that characterize all these people that I find particularly interesting. One is that they tend to be inventing their own wheel, which is to say they’re all doing what they’re doing sort of for the first time in their company, and no one has done that in their company and they are just sort of figuring it out as they go along. And the second part of that, it kind of goes hand in hand, is that they have a very high capacity for sharing. Not being proprietary but saying, “Look this is what we did. I’ll show you what we did. Come on over, we’re happy to share it.” And learning from others, so this is great give and take among these people who want to learn how you do things you’ve done, how do you communicate internally, how do you engage employees, and how do you make the business case to the CFO or the CEO, on and on, it’s just a great exchange of questions.

31:26 LL: So can you summarize some best practices on trying to navigate to a greener career?

31:34 JM: That’s hard. I mean, first of all…

31:36 LL: Should a person go out a green MBA for example? Is it worth it?

31:40 JM: If you’re thinking about getting an MBA, I think getting a green MBA is interesting because it gives you a certain set of skills but being a green MBA in and of itself I think you still want to have some kind of focus, some kind of discipline, beyond green, finance or marketing or sales or strategy or something else. And so you really want to have a… I’m fond of saying that the state of the world is too important to be left just to environmental professionals that we need everybody on board. And in fact the environmental people inside companies are often, particularly bigger companies, and even small or mid-sized companies, are often kind of categorized, they’re seen as the greenies, the people who are going to come and mess up our day. They’re not seen as integral to the business.

32:35 JM: It’s really interesting, just take two minutes, and it’s an interesting analogy, if you think about IT people, information technology people. Twenty years ago the IT guy that usually was a guy initially, in the company, sat off to the side was kind of seen as different, maybe a little odd, spoke their own language, weren’t seen as core to the company, they worked… You only saw them when there’s a problem. “Oh my God, here comes Steve. Look busy.” whatever. And now of course, to some extent we’re all IT professionals, we’re all upgrading and downloading and plugging in and troubleshooting and the IT is in general as seen as critical to what the company does. And then of course the IT people all now, in a bigger company, answer to a Chief Information Officer. Same with the environmental people. Initially they all sat off to the side, they were seen as different, maybe a little odd. They weren’t seen as core to what companies did. They spoke their own language, they could geek out on biological oxygen demand per parts of billion methyl-ethyl something.

33:38 JM: But they weren’t seen as adding value to the company and you only saw them or heard from when there’s a problem and when they’re going to make you do something different than the way you already do it. And now, environmental professionals… We’re all to some extent thinking about recycling and energy use and waste band and driving and chipping and materials and things like that. And increasingly, this is being as seen as core to the company and increasingly they’re answering to a Chief Sustainability Officer. So all of this is to say that there are opportunities throughout the company and maybe that you get those by being an MBA, but I think you can just be a professional and to be good at something, and then bring your environmental passion to that.

34:28 LL: Fantastic. Thank you so much for sharing with us all this great information. And we’re about at the end of our segment. This is Lorna Li, Editor-in-chief for Green Marketing TV, and and we were speaking with Joel Makower, co-founder of Please visit Sign-up for the GreenBuzz newsletter and check out Joel’s blog, Two Steps Forward, at

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