Joel Makower

Joel Makower (b. 19 February 1952 in Oakland, California) is an entrepreneur, writer, and strategist on sustainable business, clean technology, and green marketing. For more than twenty years, he has been a respected voice on these topics, through books, websites, blogs, articles, and speeches. His work has focused on three principal topics: how companies of all sizes and sectors are integrating environmental thinking into their operations in a way that produces business value; the creation of new companies and markets for clean energy, clean water, and advanced materials; and the strategies and tactics companies use to communicate and market their environmental efforts and leadership, especially to consumers. [ Joel Makower: Business. The Environment. The Bottom Line.] ]


Makower graduated from the journalism department at the University of California at Berkeley in 1975 and became a freelance magazine writer, focusing on consumer and business issues. Of particular interest were topics at the intersection of business, technology, and society. His first book, in 1981, “Office Hazards: How Your Job Can Make You Sick,” was on the health effects of office environments -- the synergistic impacts of poor indoor air quality, inadequate lighting, poorly designed computers and furniture, and other ails of the modern office workspace. At the time, companies had been sealing up buildings and scaling back ventilation systems to save energy. Many companies simultaneously were introducing open-plan office cubicles, desktop computers and, in some cases, machine-paced office work. The combined effect of discomfort and stress, Makower argued, was creating a host of health problems for office workers, from headaches to heart attacks.

Makower has written more than a dozen other books, including "The Map Catalog", an award-winning reference guide to maps, and an oral history of the Woodstock music festival of 1969, published in both book (Doubleday) and audiocassette (Bantam Audio) formats. Its publication in 1989 coincided with the festival’s 20th anniversary.

Since 1990, Makower’s writing has focused exclusively on the world of green and clean business. In 1990, he wrote the U.S. edition of a British bestseller, “The Green Consumer Guide” (issued in the U.S. as simply “The Green Consumer”). Its publication, during the frenzy of Earth Day 1990, helped make the book a bestseller and led soon thereafter to a weekly syndicated newspaper column on the topic. In 1991, he launched “The Green Business Letter,” a monthly newsletter on corporate environmental topics, which continued publication until 2005. Other books by Makower include "The E-Factor: The Bottom-Line Approach to Environmentally Responsible Business" (Random House, 1992) and "Beyond the Bottom Line: Putting Social Responsibility to Work for Your Business and the World" (Simon and Schuster, 1994).

Makower also writes a blog on these topics, “Two Steps Forward,” and contributes to other blogs on progressive business topics.


In 1999, he founded Green Business Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to educating companies about green business. was launched in 2000, followed by,, and other sites. In 2006, the sites turned into a for-profit company, Greener World Media, of which Makower is chairman and executive editor.

In 2001, Makower co-founded Clean Edge, a publishing and research firm focusing on clean technology. He also serves as a senior consultant to GreenOrder, a sustainability strategy firm.

He is an advisor or board member of several nonprofit organizations, including the [ Biomimicry Institute] , [ GreenBlue] , and [ Net Impact] , as well as green-oriented start-ups, including Blue Egg, Ideal Bite, and New Resource Bank.

In 2006 he was named a Batten Fellow at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration.


External links

* [ Personal Website]
* [ Personal Blog]
* [ Greener World Media]
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* [ Clean Edge]

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