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Paul Hawken

Paul Hawken (; born February 8, 1946, California) is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, and author whose influential writings have shaped corporate sustainability.[1]


  • Biography 1
  • Career 2
    • Writing 2.1
    • Business 2.2
      • The Natural Step 2.2.1
  • Activism 3
  • Recognition 4
  • See also 5
  • Selected Publications 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Hawken had a Swedish grandmother and a Scottish grandfather who were farmers.[2] His father worked at UC Berkeley. He attended UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University, but received no formal degrees. Hawken worked in the Civil Rights Movement. He currently lives in or near Sausalito, California.



Hawken has written seven books. His 1975 The Magic of Findhorn popularized the community of Findhorn, an ecological spiritual center in Scotland. Most of his subsequent books cover business, activism, and sustainable practices. These include The Next Economy (1983),[3] Growing a Business,[4] and The Ecology of Commerce (1993),[5] in which he coined the term "restorative economy".

The businessman and environmentalist Ray Anderson of Interface, Inc. credited The Ecology of Commerce with his environmental awakening. He described reading it as a “spear in the chest experience”, after which Anderson started crisscrossing the country with a near-evangelical fervor, telling fellow executives about the need to reduce waste and carbon emissions.[6]

Hawken's book, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (1999),[7] coauthored with Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins, popularized the now-standard idea of natural capital and direct accounting for ecosystem services. Natural Capitalism has been translated into 26 other languages. Together with The Ecology of Commerce these books have been described as being "among the first to point the way towards a sustainable global economy".[1]

Blessed Unrest, How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming, published in May 2007, argues that a vast world-changing “movement with no name” is now forming, which Hawken believes will prevail. He conceives of this "movement" as developing not by ideology but rather through the identification of what is and is not humane, like an immune system. The following passage gives an idea of his conception of the movement:

It is axiomatic that we are at a threshold in human existence, a fundamental change in understanding about our relationship to nature and each other. We are moving from a world created by privilege to a world created by community. The current thrust of history is too supple to be labeled, but global themes are emerging in response to cascading ecological crises and human suffering. These ideas include the need for radical social change, the reinvention of market-based economics, the empowerment of women, activism on all levels, and the need for localized economic control. There are insistent calls for autonomy, appeals for a new resource ethic based on the tradition of the commons, demands for the reinstatement of cultural primacy over corporate hegemony, and a rising demand for radical transparency in politics and corporate decision making. It has been said that environmentalism failed as a movement, or worse yet, died. It is the other way around. Everyone on earth will be an environmentalist in the not too distant future, driven there by necessity and experience.[8]

Hawken's books have been published in over 50 countries in 27 languages. Growing a Business became the basis of a 17-part PBS series, which Hawken hosted and produced. The program was shown on television in 115 countries.


Hawken took over a small retail store in Boston in 1966 called Erewhon (after Samuel Butler's 1872 utopian novel) and turned it into the Erewhon Trading Company, a natural-foods wholesaler. With Dave Smith, he co-founded the Smith & Hawken garden supply company in 1979, a retail and catalog business. He heads PaxFan, which uses geometries found in nature to increase the efficiency of industrial fans, turbines, and electronic thermal management. From 1994 up and till 1998 Paul was founder and chairman of The Natural Step USA. In 2008, he co-founded Biomimicry Technologies with biologist Janine Benyus, the author of Biomimicry, Innovation Inspired by Nature, HarperCollins, 1997.[9]

The Natural Step

The United States’ Natural Step organization began in June 1994 when CERES to organize the first NGO Summit on Corporate Sustainability in Washington DC.

In 1995 Hawken was hired by Interface, Inc. as part of a twelve-member group of outside consultants responsible to help make Interface the world’s leading company in industrial ecology within the next ten years. The team helped move the company to a closed-loop manufacturing process so that product and waste is returned and remanufactured into new product. He conceived, wrote and co- designed the Interface Sustainability Report, which has won numerous awards and praise throughout the world.

From 1996 till 1998, Hawken was Co-Chairman of

  • Official Paul Hawken website
  • Natural Capital Institute NCI
  • - World Index for Social and Environmental Responsibility
  • Paul Hawken's profile at
  • Interview on Sea Change Radio 2014

External links

  1. ^ a b Gunther, Marc (22 October 2014). "First look: environmental entrepreneur Paul Hawken's long-awaited new book". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming (New York: Viking, 2007), 181. ISBN 978-0-670-03852-7
  3. ^ Next Economy. Ballantine, 1983. ISBN 978-0-345-31392-8
  4. ^ Growing a Business. Simon & Schuster, 1987. ISBN 978-0-671-67164-8
  5. ^ The Ecology of Commerce. Harper Collins, 1993. ISBN 978-0-88730-704-1
  6. ^ Vitello, Paul (August 10, 2011). "Ray Anderson, Businessman Turned Environmentalist, Dies at 77". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Little Brown, 1997. ISBN 978-0-316-35300-7
  8. ^ Hawken, Blessed Unrest, 194.
  9. ^ Biomimicry, Innovation Inspired by Nature. HarperCollins, 1997. ISBN 978-0-06-053322-9
  10. ^ Hawken, Paul. "CV" (PDF). Paul Hawken Official website. Retrieved 2013-12-23. 
  11. ^ "Global Green USA Millennium Awards". Global Green. Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  12. ^ "biography". Retrieved 2012-08-01. 


Paul Hawken (2007). Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. Viking Press. ISBN 978-0-670-03852-7

Selected Publications

See also

  • Green Cross Millennium Award for Individual Environmental Leadership presented by Mikhail Gorbachev in 2003[11]
  • World Council for Corporate Governance in 2002
  • Design Futures Council Senior Fellow
  • Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year in 1990
  • Utne One Hundred Visionaries who could Change our Lives in 1995
  • Western Publications Association Maggie award for Natural Capitalism as the best Signed Editorial/Essay in 1997
  • Creative Visionary Award by the International Society of Industrial Design
  • Design in Business Award for environmental responsibility by the American Center for Design
  • Council on Economic Priorities’ 1990 Corporate Conscience Award
  • American Horticultural Society Award for commitment to excellence in commercial horticulture
  • Metropolitan Home Design 100 Editorial Award for the 100 best people, products and ideas that shape our lives
  • The Cine Golden Eagle award in video for the PBS program Marketing from Growing a Business
  • California Institute of Integral Studies Award For Ongoing Humanitarian Contributions to the Bay Area Communities
  • Esquire Magazine award for the best 100 People of a Generation (1984)[12]

In 2002, Fortune called him “the original hippie entrepreneur,"

As of 2009 Paul Hawken had been awarded six honorary doctorates.


Hawken founded and directed the Whole Earth Catalogs), the Center for Plant Conservation, Conservation International, the Trust for Public Land, Friends of the Earth, and the National Audubon Society.



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