For 30 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 sustainability and clean technology 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 seek to integrate sustainability into their strategy, operations, practices and products in a way that drives bottom-line performance and top-line growth. He understands how sustainability aligns with innovation, and how leadership companies integrate the two.
His balanced, engaging, empowering approach to these topics has inspired executives in a wide range of companies and sectors to create strategic roadmaps, more effectively make the business case, foster innovation, articulate a vision internally, form high-impact partnerships, and communicate more effectively with a broad range of stakeholders.
Joel is chairman and co-founder of GreenBiz Group Inc., creator of GreenBiz.com as well as research reports and events on the corporate sustainability strategy and trends, and is principal author of the annual State of Green Business report. His company, GreenBiz, hosts the annual GreenBiz, GreenFin, Circularity and VERGE conferences.
A former nationally syndicated columnist, Joel is author of more than a dozen books. Along with 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 national strategic imperative.
Earlier books include Strategies for the Green Economy, about the growing opportunities arising from corporate sustainability leadership; 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 addition, he is the author of an oral history of the Woodstock music festival, originally published as both a book and an audio documentary in 1989 and republished in 2009, which Rolling Stone called “the definitive history of the mega-concert.” The original interviews Joel conducted in 1988-89 with producers, performers, doctors, cops and others involved with the event are now housed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Library & Archives in Cleveland, Ohio. He served as Consulting Producer of the 2019 PBS documentary, Woodstock: 3 Days That Defined a Generation.
In 2012, Joel 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.” He has served as a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and as a Senior Fellow at the Strategic Innovation Lab at Case Western Reserve University.
Joel has been a commentator on environmental topics for public radio’s “Marketplace” and appears regularly 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.