25 Sustainability Rock Stars

June 15, 2012

Who are the top innovators and trend-setters in the world of sustainability? Who is creating and leading today's most mission-driven brands? We are proud to present this list of 25 Sustainability Rock Stars. We hope they help to inspire those of you who are interested in growing your companies in a responsible, sustainable manner!



1) Sir Richard Branson, rock star founder of Virgin Group, easily tops the list. His “screw business as usual” mantra and philanthropic ways are trending in the international business world paving the way to shared value and creating the greater good. Follow his moves on Twitter @richardbranson.


2) Hannah Jones, VP of Sustainable Business and Innovation at Nike, is responsible for stewarding the iconic athletic apparel company's global sustainability and labor rights strategies. Using her NGO background, Jones has forged sustainability into Nike’s corporate culture and is broadening the lens of corporate sustainability from risk mitigation to product innovation. She tweets at @hjones_nike.


3) Principles and co-founders of Brave One Agency, Jesse Mayhew and Luke Snelling, are the self-professed "Hall & Oates" of sustainability. Brave One is a digital marketing agency that specializes in assisting sustainable and socially responsible companies. They both have a solid background in sustainability and their tweets can be read at @braveoneagency.


4) Meet Raphael Bemporad, Founding Partner and Chief Strategy Officer of BBMG—a certified green business and B Corp concentrating on sustainable brand innovation. Bemporad brings to the table the notion of ‘the new, and conscious, consumer’ and innovative ways for embedding sustainability into a brand’s DNA to engage said consumer. For more truth in advertising, follow Raphael’s company on                                 Twitter @ItsBBMG.


5) KoAnn Vikoren Skrzyniarz is next on the list. As CEO of Sustainable Life Media, Inc., KoAnn heads the Sustainable Brands Conference – which is where sustainability, brand and innovation professionals convene to grow the market for business solutions that can help companies reduce environmental and social impact. She can be found, @Koann, on Twitter.


6) Ted Ning, executive director at LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability), works closely with executive teams pursuing healthy and sustainable business practices that promote good will and the betterment of society at corporations including Coca-Cola, MINI, Mohawk Flooring, Rancho La Puerta, Jurlique, Macy’s, Ecobonus and Natureworks. Follow him on Twitter @LOHASTed.


7) Jacquelyn A. Ottman is a green marketing expert and author of The New Rules of Green Marketing. She and her colleagues have helped more than 60 Fortune 500 businesses and U.S. government labeling programs, including U.S. EPA's Energy Star and the USDA's new USDA Certified Biobased label, develop concepts for eco-friendly products and strategies. Her Twitter handle is @jacquelynottman.


8 ) Host of #CSRChat, Susan McPherson, @susanmcp1, is also a cause marketer, corporate responsibility expert and Senior Vice President for Fenton communications firm. She regularly contributes her work for publications such as the Harvard Business Review, Triple Pundit, Forbes and Environmental Leader on sustainability and global development issues.


9) Dave Stangis, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility at The Campbell Soup Company, makes the cut for his efforts to promote and integrate sustainability concepts within the company and universally as well. He’s a leading voice on the matter on Twitter, @DaveStangis.


10) No stranger to the sustainability world is Aron Cramer. Cramer is president and CEO of BSR, a well-reputed global sustainability/CSR consultancy. His expertise is in integrating CSR into business strategy, human rights policies and practices, and stakeholder engagement. Follow him on Twitter @aroncramer.


11) As executive editor of the Guardian and chairman and editorial director of Guardian Sustainable Business, Jo Confino has lots of insights and direction on sustainability strategies. He speaks with world leaders, heads of government, directors of operations and many other sustainability leaders on subjects at the forefront of the movement. Learn more from him @joconfino.


12) Karen Clarke-Whistler is a cutting-edge sustainability officer – she is the Chief Environment Officer of TD Bank Group. She is in charge of the financial company’s overall environmental focus and is bridging a gap between the environment and business strategy. Read more about her work in this recent interview on Financial Post.


13) Scott Henderson, proud philanthropist, leads Causeshift, a collaborative media network, as managing director. Causeshift participated in the 7 Billion Actions gathering and provided strategic counsel to UNFPA to convert the ideas generated there into what has now become 7BillionActions.org and 7billionandme.org. Follow Scott on Twitter @scottyhendo.


14) Repair the World was started by friends Mark Heiman and Alan Brown. Heiman, president and co-founder of Tulong LLC, the apparel company behind the Repair the World brand, is a sustainability rock star for his vision of turning recycled fibers into a clothing line that benefits the three P’s – people, planet and profit. Follow his company on Twitter @rtwnow.


15) John Elkington is a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development. He is the founding partner and executive chairman of Volans, a future-focused business working to integrate the sustainability, entrepreneurship and innovation movements. Elkington is also co-founder of SustainAbility, a strategy consultancy, and blogs regularly for several publications, including Guardian                                            Sustainable Business. For more, follow his Twitter @volansjohn.


16) Kailani Joy, Communications Manager of Inspirit Design, leads the way in creating sustainable marketing solutions through positive, inspirational messaging. Through this unique business model, each project provides a noticeable impact on the environment and the world. Follow her, @KailaniJoy, on Twitter.


17) Charlotte Rademaekers, founder of Call2Action and active social entrepreneur, makes videos with a purpose – helping cause-based campaigns successfully engage audiences online. Her company gained Gasland a conversion rate of 5% petitions signed; helped The Cove become embedded in more than 5500 URLs; got Chrysler 60% more Americans to write letters to soldiers; and, empowered Feeding America                                   affiliates to inspire hyper-local marketing. Follow more of her actions on Twitter                                         @Call2Act.


18) The first scholar to earn a PhD in CSR/sustainability is Wayne Visser. Visser, CEO of CSR International, is also author of 13 books on the matter, including his most recent, The Age of Responsibility (which asks controversial questions like, Is Greed Still Good? and Could Less Consumer Choice Be A Good Thing?). Visser is definitely a sustainability thought-leader. Follow his work on Twitter @WayneVisser.


19) CSRHub is the start-up website that provides access to the largest CSR and sustainability ratings and information database globally—and, it’s run by cofounder Cynthia Figge. Figge is also the cofounder of EKOS International, a leading sustainability consulting firm. Figge’s expertise in technology and sustainability land her a well-deserved spot on the rock star list. She can be found on Twitter @CSRHUB.


20) Cathie Guthrie, founder and president of Company2Keep Inc., has over 25 years in international development—including time spent as VP Programmes + Advocacy at UNICEF Canada. She continues to be a powerful change agent for human rights and sustainable development. For more information, follow her company @company2keepinc.


21) Chris Jarvis is a leading authority on employee volunteerism and frequently speaks and writes about volunteerism and workplace giving. He is the owner of RealizedWorth, a leading employee volunteering and CSR consulting firm. More from Jarvis can be found on Twitter @RealizedWorth.


22) Mindy S. Lubber is president of Ceres, the leading coalition of investors, environmental organizations and public interest groups working with companies and investors to build sustainable capital markets. (No easy feat.) Lubber also works with companies on climate change mitigation – to preserve a healthy environment for generations to come. Follow her on Twitter @MindyLubber.


23) Jay Coen Gilbert is founder of B Lab, a nonprofit organization which certifies B Corps – a new type of corporation that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. To date there are 533 B Corps in 60 industries with $2 million in annual savings using green technologies and solutions. Follow this innovator on Twitter @BCorporation.


24) Yadim Medore, Pure Branding’s principal and creative director, makes the cut for his leadership as a brand strategist. Through his leadership Pure Branding is helping to drive affiliation and participation with values-driven brands. Follow Pure Branding and Yadim @purebranding.



25) Last but certainly not least is Yvon Chouinard. As founder of Patagonia, Chouinard has long graced the sustainability world with his ethical practices, forward thinking and true belief in corporate responsibility. He is a rock climber, environmentalist and outdoor industry businessman, noted for his philanthropic contributions. Chouinard is truly a sustainability rock star and legend. More from him and his iconic company can be found @patagonia.


Are there any rock stars that you think deserve to be on this list? Share their information below!

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