The Man Behind a $3 Billion Industry: Environmental Practices Can Be Profitable

Can big companies be profitable and environmentally-conscious?  Yes.  Not only can they be mindful of the environment, they can actually benefit (as in cut costs and profit) by thinking about the planet as much as their bottom line.

That’s what Rick Fedrizzi, the man who helped make LEED certification for buildings, argues in his new book, Greenthink.

Fedrizzi started thinking about eco-friendly architecture, selling air-conditioners in Florida over 20 years ago.  Today, he’s the CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and LEED certification is perhaps the most widely used green building rating system in the world.  The industry is expected to be valued at more than $3 billion by 2020. According to Greenthink, LEED has more than 14 billion square feet of registered and certified space and is in effect in 150 countries in the world.

Environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio who has written the forward for Fedrizzi’s book calls his work “revolutionary.”

Here’s my conversation with Fedrizzi.

Chhabra: How much “greenwashing” is still being done?  

Fedrizzi: Too much.  That’s why third-party certification delivered transparently is the only way to be sure people are living up to their word. Volkswagen’s stunning transgressions are a cautionary tale about how critical it is to do the right thing and how costly it can be when you try to cover up the wrong thing with greenwash.

Read the full conversation at


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