For more than 25 years, Joel Makower has been a well-respected voice on business, sustainability, and innovation. As an award-winning writer, speaker, and strategist on corporate sustainability practices and clean technology, he has helped both large and small companies align environmental responsibility with business success.
Joel is a talented communicator who can cut through the hype and haze to provide clarity and perspective on a range of issues. He brings a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing mainstream companies as they try to address sustainability challenges in a way that drives bottom-line performance and topline growth. He understands the alignment between sustainability and innovation, and how leadership companies are combining the two.
His balanced, realistic, and empowering approach to sustainable business and clean technology has inspired executives in a wide range of companies and sectors to create strategic roadmaps, make the business case, foster innovation, articulate a vision internally, form high-impact partnerships, and communicate more effectively with a broad range of stakeholders.
The Associated Press has called him "The guru of green business practices."
Joel is chairman and executive editor of GreenBiz Group Inc., creator of GreenBiz.com as well as research reports and events on the corporate sustainability strategy and trends. He hosts the annual GreenBiz and VERGE conferences around the world, and is principal author of the annual State of Green Business report.
Joel serves as a Senior Fellow at the Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University, a think tank focused on developing, testing and implementing a new grand strategy for the United States that can power a new era of prosperity, security and sustainability. Along with the lab’s co-founders, Mark Mykleby and Patrick Doherty, Joel is co-author of The New Grand Strategy: Restoring America’s Prosperity, Security and Sustainability in the 21st Century (St. Martin's Press, 2016) about a business and investment strategy for America, born at the Pentagon, that embeds sustainability as a strategic national imperative.
A former nationally syndicated columnist, Joel is author or co-author of more than a dozen other books, including Strategies for the Green Economy. 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.
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.” In 2014, Joel was inducted into the International Society of Sustainability Professionals Hall of Fame, which recognizes honorees based on their "experience, education, innovation, reach, publication and service to the industry."
In addition, he is author of an oral history of the Woodstock music festival, originally published in 1989 and republished in 2009, which Rolling Stone called "the definitive history of the mega-event."
Joel has been a commentator on environmental topics for public radio's "Marketplace" and appears frequently in broadcast, print and online media. He serves as a board member or adviser to both for-profit and nonprofit organizations and speaks to companies, industry groups and business schools around the world.