How did you begin your career in green business consulting? Did you graduate from undergraduate college with a specific interest in green business or did it develop overtime through professional experience? AW: Well, I didn’t know I was going to be doing this when I graduated from college in 1991. I came out with an economics major and politics minor at Princeton University. I wanted to explore other things and started asking around on how to combine business and environment – I had an interest in the environment and thought it was something I cared about. I started reading more about sustainability while I was in-between jobs and read the canon of green business such as Paul Hawkens, Amory Lovins, and Ray Anderson and it just kind of changed my life. I realized the system was broken and I had my MBA from Columbia University by then but in business school we never talked about sustainability or carbon and I thought it was kind of ridiculous. So I started to figure out a different path and went back to school at Yale to try and get a degree in Environmental Management to marry that with my business degree. While I was there I started working with a professor, Dan Esty, who had a policy and government academic background with some consulting experience and I had a pure business background so we meshed really well and we decided to work together and started doing a research project. I agreed to stay on as a kind of advisor-consultant with the university after I graduated to write Green to Gold. It was a hugely eye-opening experience and I learned an awful lot about what companies were doing. Then people started asking me to come and speak about the greening of business and they started paying me to speak and consult which led to the business that I have today which is really very flexible. I have my own practice which works with some large companies like Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and I do a lot of research, writing, and public speaking. It kind of evolved and came off the book mainly, that was kind of the core of it, but it’s kind of built from there.
PENN SUSTAINABILITY REVIEW
Today you are an online editor at Harvard Business Review and Founder at Winston Eco-Consulting. What is your typical week and day-to-day lifestyle and responsibilities? AW: I don’t know if I have a typical week but I have a mix of speaking. A typical week might have a speech somewhere for an industry event or the senior management for a large company so I might be doing some preparation for that. I will be doing some research and speaking to people in the field, researching different stories, preparing ideas and writing my next blog for Harvard Business Review, and editing or writing. I will probably also have some consulting in there and working with a client or doing some business development and trying to sell projects. It’s kind of a mix of everything that I do. Every week I will also conduct some media discussion such as an online interview or with a radio or on television such as this one with the Penn Sustainability