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Gregory Unruh
Gregory Unruh is the author of Earth Inc. (April 2010) and the director of the Lincoln Center for Ethics in Global Management at Thunderbird, the leading graduate school of global management. An outspoken expert on sustainable business strategy, he is a sought after speaker and educator, having held positions at Columbia University in New York, Rotterdam School of Management in Holland, IE Business School in Spain, the Fletcher School in Boston and INCAE in Costa Rica. Dr. Unruh co-founded the Center for Eco-Intelligent Management with the renowned green-designer William McDonough to research cutting-edge sustainable business practice and shares his insights through public speaking, teaching and publications. You can learn more at

Entries by Gregory Unruh

How Would 'Future Influencers' Address Climate Change?

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 5:06 PM

Want to know what influential young leaders are thinking about the problem of climate change? I did, and was fortunate to be tapped as a consultant for the Future Influencers community; an exclusive think tank of young decision makers dedicated to tackling the problems of global sustainability. Initiated...

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Climate Crimes Against Humanity

(3) Comments | Posted October 30, 2012 | 12:26 AM

Last week PBS aired Frontline's "Climate of Doubt," documenting the success of the denialists in reversing U.S. political opinion on climate science. While journalists and academics have been covering this story, this was the first comprehensive television documentary about the groups and political forces driving the climate change denial effort.

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Platonic Sustainability Leadership

(0) Comments | Posted October 17, 2012 | 4:14 PM

When men like Adam Smith founded modern capitalist thinking, did they abandon earlier knowledge of what it takes to foster a sustainable world? Was the wisdom of ancients like Plato lost with the rise of ideas like free markets and the belief that the pursuit of self interest by itself...

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New Leadership for a Sustainability Generation?

(0) Comments | Posted September 17, 2012 | 5:37 PM

Author Mark Coleman foretells of a new "sustainability generation" in his recently released book, The Sustainability Generation: The Politics of Change and Why Personal Accountability is Essential NOW! While sustainability in the past has been mandated by waves of governmental policy in the 1960s and '70s, and...

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Being Global III: Global Leaders Act as Global Entrepreneurs

(0) Comments | Posted May 8, 2012 | 5:48 PM

In the previous post I discussed the importance of a global mindset for successful global leadership. But a global mindset's true value comes when global leaders act as global entrepreneurs and leverage their mindset for value creation. Global leaders become global entrepreneurs by using their global understanding and...

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Being Global II: Global Mindset

(1) Comments | Posted April 25, 2012 | 1:07 PM

As discussed in my previous post, today's global leaders have three common characteristics. The first of these is a global mindset. Global mindset can be defined as the ability to perceive and decode behaviors in multiple cultural contexts. It is an ability to connect with people from other...

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Being Global I: Global Leaders for Global Transformation

(0) Comments | Posted April 18, 2012 | 11:24 AM

Globalization has shaken up traditional leadership development. Language immersion, cultural etiquette tips and the like are wildly insufficient to prepare managers for the demands of today's global marketplace. Likewise, worrying about expat culture shock or the risk that employees "go native" are concerns of a past era. Today's global business...

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Sustainable Consumption Is a Myth

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2011 | 6:35 PM

I've been in over a dozen meetings now with organizations like the World Economic Forum and the U.N. Global Compact where people use the word "sustainable consumption." Everyone seems to like the term, so I always ask them, "What do you mean by sustainable consumption?" The usual answer, after uncomfortable...

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Red Queen Sustainability

(0) Comments | Posted July 28, 2011 | 2:59 PM

As Alice learns from the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass, "It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place." The feeling is shared by corporate sustainability executives confronting the constantly shifting expectations of greater social and environmental responsibility. Call it "Red...

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Sustainability Standards and Sustainability Creep

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2011 | 6:17 PM

In preparing for the Sustainable Brands 11 Conference, in June, I have been interviewing panelists including Ben Packard, VP Global Responsibility, Starbucks; Steve Arbaugh, VP Brand Marketing, Interface; Jennifer Schwab, Chief Sustainability Officer, Sierra Club Green Home and Bonnie Nixon, Executive Director, The Sustainability Consortium. The subject of our session...

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Why CSR Is Countercyclical

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2011 | 6:12 PM

In early 2009 I submitted a blog post to Harvard Business Online with the following title "Surprise! Green is Countercyclical." It was rejected, probably because it sounded so far-fetched at the time. At the start of the '07-'08 recession, sustainability naysayers were having a field day. A poor economy meant...

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Ronald Reagan: The Father of CSR

(0) Comments | Posted March 11, 2011 | 10:17 AM

As bizarre as it may seem, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher conceived a love child. Today the demanding adolescent goes by a number of aliases, but most business people call it Corporate Social Responsibility.

Before you start protesting, hear me out. Reagan and Thatcher believed in the power of the...

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The Carbon Bubble

(6) Comments | Posted March 1, 2011 | 5:41 PM

The dot com bubble. The housing bubble. Markets are prone to an endless succession of irrational exuberance that allows commodities to dramatically overshoot their intrinsic value. Greed and avarice blind the masses to the overvaluation until rationality unpredictably takes hold and the bubble collapses. There are always people who recognize...

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Business in a Post-Holocene World

(7) Comments | Posted January 10, 2011 | 11:46 AM

The talk in the investment world is the impact of the Australian floods on coal markets. Supposedly once-in-a-century rains have inundated Australia's open pit mines, turning them into lakes that can be seen from space. Investors are now scooping up stocks in coal producers operating in Canada and...

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The Reusable Starbucks Cup Experiment

(7) Comments | Posted December 21, 2010 | 1:44 PM

One of the hazards of earning a Ph.D. is that everything you encounter afterward becomes a hypothesis to be tested. For me this means that much of my life has become an ongoing experiment in sustainable consumption within the constraints of suburban American life. Often it's about pushing physical and...

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Transparency: The Internet's Killer CSR App

(2) Comments | Posted December 3, 2010 | 3:21 PM

When DARPA researchers connected computers between UCLA and Stanford in 1969, the Internet was born. But in the early days, the net was an academic oddity used for transferring arcane data sets. Then in 1971 Ray Tomlinson wrote a little program to send messages across the system and e-mail was...

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The "Climate is Gone"

(12) Comments | Posted November 5, 2010 | 4:19 PM

Words of truth from Karl Rove as he interpreted the impact of Tuesday's Republican victory for shale-gas executives: the "Climate is gone." He meant climate legislation. In reality, however, the electoral victory merely sealed the already determined fate of climate policy in this country. With the rise of...

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Green Jobs: Promise, Progress and Potential

(5) Comments | Posted September 28, 2010 | 7:25 PM

I led a session at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) last week entitled "Green Jobs: Preparing for the Green Economy" and can summarize the outcome in three areas: promise, progress and potential.

Most agree that a green economy -- and sustainable development more broadly -- are society's best...

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Scarcity: The Fountain of Innovation

(1) Comments | Posted September 16, 2010 | 12:20 PM

Monday morning Tianjin, China and it's the first session of the World Economic Forum's "Summer Davos 2010" event. Ironically, after a filling breakfast in opulent surroundings, my panel colleagues and I are discussing scarcity. With concerns about peak oil, peak water, peak real estate, peak financial markets - and just...

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Sustainable Consumption Rising on the Agenda

(1) Comments | Posted September 8, 2010 | 2:17 PM

Sustainable consumption? Sounds like an oxymoron. But that's what we'll be discussing at next week's World Economic Forum Summer Davos 2010 event in Tianjin China. In the session, entitled "Redesigning the Supply Chain in an Era of Sustainability," my WEF colleagues and I will ask CEOs and policy...

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