Bill Shireman | President and CEO
Called a “master of environmental entrepreneurism,” Bill Shireman has over 20 years of experience developing and implementing programs that align the interests of major corporations and their stakeholders. He develops profitable business strategies that drive pollution down and profits up.
As President and CEO of the Future 500, he helps the world’s largest companies and most impassioned activists – from Coca-Cola, General Motors, Nike, Mitsubishi, and Weyerhaeuser, to Greenpeace, Rainforest Action Network, and the Sierra Club – work together to improve the profits and performance of business.
Advocating technology as a driver of green growth, Bill has led the development and deployment of these and other tools, at diverse companies in Asia, Europe, and throughout North America. While CEO of the largest state recycling lobby in the U.S., he wrote California’s bottle bill recycling law, shown by EPA and academic studies to be the world’s most cost-effective. He advocates market-based environmental policies – contending they can be more effective than many command and control laws.
In 2002, with former Mitsubishi CEO Tachi Kiuchi, he wrote the popular book, What We Learned In The Rainforest — Business Lessons from Nature, featured in the Harvard Business Review, which declares the business-as-machine era over, and shows how companies can become as innovative as the rainforest, leveraging feedback to grow more profitable and sustainable than ever.
A consumer and environmental advocate, who understands business.
Bill Shireman has always lived two lives – as an entrepreneur and an activist. He started two successful small businesses before he was 12, then in college became a young “Nader’s Raider,” organizing campus-based research groups for the crusading consumer advocate, Ralph Nader. He registered Republican and believes in free enterprise, but campaigned against the state’s largest electric utility, and headed a California environmental lobby. Today, he still likes to bring together forces from the left and right, and thinks that, by internalizing external costs, business and the environment can both thrive.
A market-based, systems-oriented approach.
The best practice is based on good theory, and the best theory is honed by good practice. Shireman blends economic, ecological, and systems theory to develop practical solutions that meet multiple needs. He believes the right and left need each other, that competition leads to cooperation, that conservative economics support liberal social policies, that capitalism creates value if external costs are owned, that consumers can also be creators, and that nature is the best business model.