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Bill Shireman
Called a “master of environmental entrepreneurism,” Mr. Shireman has over 20 years of experience developing and implementing programs that align the interests of major corporations and their stakeholders. Shireman develops profitable business strategies that drive pollution down and profits up.

As President and CEO of the Future 500, Shireman 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, Shireman 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, Shireman 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.

Entries by Bill Shireman

The Great Unraveling

(0) Comments | Posted June 28, 2016 | 1:37 PM

How the polarization exemplified by Trumping and Brexit could trigger a long, steep fall

Viewed in isolation, the fall of the EU in Britain and the rise of Donald Trump in the U.S. both reflect high-risk gambles by disillusioned voters to upend the establishment they blame for...

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Trump and Liberal Women: 2 New Revelations About to Catch Fire

(0) Comments | Posted May 18, 2016 | 9:39 PM

Support from liberal women grows -- but so does worry about political vitriol.

The New York Times recently flubbed a Trump counter-story, publishing an "expose" revealing that, in addition to publicly insulting high-profile women, he can also act unseemly toward them in private.

The Times story didn't...

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Texas Does Green Big

(2) Comments | Posted April 18, 2016 | 6:30 PM

Trammell S. Crow, a Republican developer from Dallas,
corrals 50 companies to save the planet.

Trammell S. Crow is an unreasonable man. The Dallas developer and environmental philanthropist who built the world's largest Earth Day exhibition is setting his sights on an even more audacious goal -- a global...

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Environmental Activism as if We Wanted to Win: It's Time to Stop Acting and Start Doing What Matters

(3) Comments | Posted February 29, 2016 | 7:35 PM

After seven years of a dark depression, induced by the failure of federal climate legislation back in 2009, the U.S. climate movement finally broke free of its deadening pessimism at COP21, and emerged from Paris energized.

But the genuine feelings of optimism...

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The Elephant's No Longer in the Room: Four Lessons Animal Rights Groups, Zoos and Circuses can Learn From the Shift at Ringling Brothers

(20) Comments | Posted April 13, 2015 | 4:51 PM

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey is ending more than a century where elephant acts were a defining mark of the circus.

It is a smart business and political move, one that reflects a deeper change in cultural preferences. Even if animal rights activists motivated the change, in the...

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Battling Polarization in Politics: Why Van Jones, Newt Gingrich, Ralph Nader and the Tea Party Are Working Together

(3) Comments | Posted October 24, 2014 | 7:43 PM

In the San Francisco Bay Area, where trans-everything is popular, a new political movement is taking form: transpartisanship.

From Van Jones, Ralph Nader, and Joan Blades on the left, to Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist and George Shultz on the right, advocates from both sides of the political...

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Why the Biggest Climate March in History Will Build The Movement Against Climate Protection

(7) Comments | Posted September 17, 2014 | 8:46 AM

And Four Ways to Build a Right-Left Coalition to Protect the Planet

This Sunday in New York, hundreds of thousands of climate activists will take to the streets to rejuvenate grassroots, media, and political support with "the biggest climate march in history."

They may succeed -- but not in the...

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Could Islamic State Defeat the U.S.? Yes - If the Left and Right Continue to Put Politics Ahead of the Nation

(6) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 6:11 PM

Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) could win its battle with the West, and advance its cause of Islamic fundamentalism -- if America's two major parties cannot unite in opposing them.

I believe the enemy is not just Islamic fundamentalism -- it is fundamentalism, period. I...

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Sharing Economy Leaders Will Be the New "Demons," as Airbnb and Uber Leapfrog Over Traditional Hotels and Taxis

(1) Comments | Posted August 15, 2014 | 4:25 PM

The sharing economy sector - where people with average holdings use their homes, cars, skills, and tools to make a living and pay their bills - passed a major milestone in 2014: it generated its first billionaires - the founders of room-sharing site Airbnb.


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The Triumph of Authoritarianism: What Ukraine Reminds Us About the Flaws of Progressives and Conservatives

(0) Comments | Posted May 5, 2014 | 7:21 PM

The battle over Ukraine may look like a simple power play between Russia and the U.S., but much more is at stake than which of the former arch-adversaries comes out ahead in the skirmish. Should the U.S. step in more forcefully? Or should we hold back? What is the right...

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How Environmentalists Created the Koch Brothers, and How the Heartland Institute Radicalized Environmentalists

(2) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 9:04 PM

A Plan for Destroying Freedom and the Planet in One Sweeping Move

When Big Oil and Big Green clash in public, reporters don't even need to witness the event to write an accurate story about it.

That was comically true when a senior executive of ExxonMobil faced off against a...

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Reflections On 30 Years of Corporate-NGO Bridge Building

(0) Comments | Posted January 24, 2014 | 1:37 PM

For over 15 years, I battled corporate giants over nuclear power, open space protection, and the throwaway society. I campaigned with Ralph Nader for consumer protection and recycling laws. I railed against oil companies and petitioned for anti-trust action. I organized college activists and raised a million dollars in media...

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The Bottom Line of Classical Economics: The Missing 20 Percent

(0) Comments | Posted December 11, 2013 | 6:52 AM

Classic economics presents a simplistic view of how companies operate. It expresses the view, using simple diagrams and mathematical models, that corporate actions are guided by rational self-interest; that companies and their executives make decisions that they believe will maximize the line at the bottom of the balance sheet. They...

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What Republicans Can Learn From Nike

(3) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 9:21 AM

America's Creative, Entrepreneurial, Can-Do Majority And How to Win It Back

In the mid-1990s, Nike suffered a blow to their brand when they were held responsible for using child labor to stitch soccer balls. As a result, their share of the footwear market dropped from 55 percent in 1996 to...

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Why Conservatives Deny Climate Change

(19) Comments | Posted October 1, 2013 | 3:53 PM

In Fighting to Protect Climate, Progressives Can Be Their Own Worst Enemies

The left assumes conservatives live to maximize profits at the expense of people and the environment. I don't find that true. Conservatives fear big government the same way progressives fear big corporations.

And when it...

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The Burden of Anti-Terror Security

(3) Comments | Posted May 7, 2013 | 1:24 PM

"Boston exposes antiterror frailties," says the Washington Post.

Last Thursday, I arrived early for a breakfast meeting at a New York hotel, placed my briefcase and small travel bag down next to a desk in a corner of the small hotel library, and sat down to wait.


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Why Obama Won: The Wishful Delusions of the Right and Left

(4) Comments | Posted November 12, 2012 | 1:43 PM

The ideological left and right are each pushing self-congratulatory narratives about Obama's reelection.

To some on the left, this was a triumph of the progressive movement, a breakout from the political wilderness equivalent to the Reagan revolution.

To some on the right, this is proof the GOP should have nominated...

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Are Republicans Lying? Are Democrats?

(15) Comments | Posted September 5, 2012 | 8:03 PM

Is John Sununu lying when he says President Obama eliminated the work requirement from welfare? Is Michael Moore lying when he blames capitalists for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? What about James Inhoffe, when he denies any legitimacy to climate science? Or Todd Akin, when...

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Paul Ryan's Two Gifts to the Progressives

(3) Comments | Posted August 21, 2012 | 2:06 PM

Last week, I made the case that Paul Ryan will likely benefit progressives, not conservatives, in the election this November -- in one of two very different ways.

Most likely, he will activate progressives, and give Obama the edge in the election. But if he is smart and...

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Can Paul Ryan Be a Progressive Hero? How Romney's Choice Could Win the Left, the Right and the White House

(8) Comments | Posted August 16, 2012 | 2:53 PM

No sooner had Mitt Romney announced his running mate than political strategists for both sides began spinning him into a straightjacket.

But for once, they were dressing him in the same clothes. Both sides cast Paul Ryan as a conservative ideologue who would dramatically cut the size, cost, and power...

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