Future 500 | Finding common ground between uncommon allies

SAN FRANCISCO and DALLAS— There may be hope for America after all.

A new report uncovers a surprising amount of common ground between executives and nonprofit leaders—both Republican and Democrat—on the biggest environmental challenges of our age.

The report, The Earth Day 50 Challenge 2017: How Business and Civil Society are Uniting to Address Global Ocean, Forest, and Climate Challenges, outlines a blueprint for corporate action on the most vexing challenges facing global ecosystems and the climate today. It details dozens of proposals for how market forces might best be harnessed to address deforestation, oceanborne plastic debris, and greenhouse gas pollution.

“Our country is arguably more divided than at any point in its history since the Civil War, which makes progress on climate change, ocean pollution, and deforestation extremely challenging,” said Bill Shireman, Future 500 executive director and a lifelong Republican.

“But we’ve shown that once you get people together in a trusted environment, common themes and shared values quickly emerge,” Shireman added. “We can’t fix this mess without the private sector on board—when it comes to repairing damaged ecosystems, there is no more powerful force than the free market.”

The proposals emerged from a two-day summit held this past spring in Dallas, Texas, between more than 100 corporate executives, nonprofit leaders, philanthropists, and others from both sides of the political spectrum. The group met at the EARTHx festival in Dallas before Earth Day, under the banner of The Earth Day 50 Challenge.

San Francisco-based stakeholder engagement non-profit Future 500 hosts The Earth Day 50 Challenge in partnership with EARTHx and the philanthropist Trammell S. Crow. The initiative aims to secure commitments from the world’s most influential companies and environmental organizations to advance systemic market solutions to ocean, forest, and climate challenges. The deadline for tangible progress is April 2020, the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

“Outdated business practices and market failures helped bring us to this point,” said Shireman. “But private-sector businesses—driving innovation, coaching suppliers, and working with nonprofits and governments—are a tremendously powerful force for good that we are only starting to tap to drive systemic change.”

The new report is available via future500.org/earth-day-50-2017-report


About Future 500: Future 500 is a global 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in San Francisco, California that utilizes market-based approaches to solve social and environmental issues around Energy & Climate, Food & Water, Materials & Supply Chains, and People & Power.

About Earth Day Texas: As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on environmental education and awareness, Earth Day Texas has created the world’s largest annual forum for sharing the latest initiatives, discoveries, research, innovations, policies, and corporate practices that are reshaping our world. Earth Day Texas was founded in 2011 by philanthropist Trammell S. Crow.



Matt Stites

Future 500

(503) 974-6426


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