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Sustainability expert Lovins to speak at MC

03/12/2012
Hunter Lovins, an internationally renowned leader in helping companies and communities profit from more sustainable practices, will present a lecture on March 19 at Monmouth College as part of its Wells Speaker Series.

Free and open to the public and titled “Climate Capitalism: The Business Case for Sustainability,” the lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Dahl Chapel and Auditorium. It is funded by a grant from the Wells Foundation that supports programs at the intersection of science and business.

“Environmental concerns seem to be pushed to the back burner with concern about jobs and economic growth,” said MC biology professor Ken Cramer, who helped create the lecture series. “What Lovins brings to the discussion about the economy and the environment is that they shouldn’t be viewed as oppositional – it’s not one or the other. After all, all human activity, including economic activity and the jobs it produces, is utterly dependent on a healthy environment. Likewise, businesses can profit from taking into account the consumer’s desire to be environmentally responsible and use that in their marketing.”

Lovins has consulted for governments and the private sector, briefing senior management at such groups as Interface, Mitsubishi, Bank of America, Royal Dutch/Shell Group and numerous utility companies. She is currently the president and founder of Natural Capitalism, a professor of business at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute and the chief insurgent of the Madrone Project, a sustainability education initiative. As CEO for strategy, she helped grow the world-renowned Rocky Mountain Institute into a 50-person applied research center and the source of some of the most innovative environmental policy ideas of recent decades.

In a recent interview, Lovins said, “There’s the old saw – you can have either protection of the environment or you can have economic development. You can have social betterment or you can have jobs. I think it’s important, if we want to achieve a sustainable world in the time frame in which we simply must do so, to show people that these goals are not mutually exclusive, but that they actually support each other. Behaving in sustainable ways is one of the best ways to create businesses, jobs and economic vitality.”

Lovins has authored and co-authored numerous books, including “Brittle Power” (1982), “Factor Four: Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource Use” (1997) and “Climate Capitalism” (2011), as well as hundreds of papers and articles. She was named as a Time magazine “Hero for the Planet” in 2000, and a Newsweek “Green Business Icon” in 2009.