Paul Hawken founded his first business in 1966—the country’s first natural foods company—and has founded or co-founded several companies and organizations in the years since. See below for information about his current activities with PaxIT and Groxis, as well as some of his past professional experiences.  

  OneSun is a thin film manufacturing company commercializing an ultra low-cost next generation dye-sensitized solar cell. This patent-pending photovoltaic technology is a novel cell design with the potential to produce a robust, durable energy source at the cost parity of coal. This cell is currently being optimized for commercial rooftop and utility-scale application.  
  Michael Baldwin at Baldwin Brothers (BBI) and Paul Hawken were dissatisfied with the integrity and standards of the conventional Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) universe. In 2003 BBI sponsored a study of the SRI mutual fund industry with Paul Hawken of Natural Capital Institute (NCI). Out of this study grew the inspiration to start a company to promote a new methodology for reviewing and rating corporate social, ethical and environmental behavior.

In 2004, Highwater Research LLC was established by Paul Hawken. Highwater believes their methodology raises the standards for the SRI industry as a whole, and will become the preferred method for SRI selection in the future. By establishing standards for social and environmental responsibility, bringing transparency to current business behavior, and driving investment to those companies who have adapted to these higher standards, Highwater reasserts the original intent of SRI – to influence the way business is done.

BBI and HWR launched the Highwater Global Fund on September 1st 2005, to address global sustainability opportunities by building a team of experts combining environmental, social and financial research into an alpha driven public equity fund.

  The Natural Capital Institute is a small research group working with institutions and individuals that wish to better understand principles and practices leading to social justice and environmental restoration. We both instigate and perform research projects on a variety of topics, submit our findings to clients and the public, and make the results available in various media, enabling society to make wiser informed choices for the future. Our mission is to provide the highest quality research in the dynamics between society and the biosphere in order to move humanity to a just and environmentally benign existence. Past research has dealt with environmental funding, water resources, and policy innovation. Current projects include an-depth study of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and corporate social responsibility (CSR). The research will describe the current state of SRI and present a counter-set of criteria for determining businesses appropriate for portfolio inclusion. Demand for SRI funds is growing more quickly than for any other type of investment. At present there are approximately 600 mutual funds. With the growth of the industry has come a bewildering set of standards that includes or has included companies such as Enron, WorldCom, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and others with troubled ethical, social and environmental records. The time has come for more definitive standards, one that will conform to people’s hopes and aspirations, but also their desire to allocate their savings and investments in a manner that will promote social and ecological change. We are creating the first database in the world of SRI mutual funds. Additionally, we will develop our own list of companies and will use NCI developed criteria that emphasizes the business model as having the greater weight with respect to SRI screening. Simply stated, it hardly matters how a company operates its business if where it is going is harmful. From these criteria we will develop a detailed and annotated list of the 100 Best Companies in the world. NCI recognizes that great companies are spread throughout the world—they’re geographically and culturally disparate, and often reflect an original business mission to improve social welfare and the environment through innovative products, services, or technologies. Utilizing current research tools in tandem with NCI’s extensive network of leaders in the business, environmental, and social justice fields, we will identify the financially solid companies that are proactively addressing social and ecological issues.
Metacode was a content management and knowledge synthesis company in the business of creating information productivity software. Metacode’s unique MetaData Modeling Language (MDML) linked databases to a proprietary resource integration systems model giving users the ability to create real-time models of any natural or human system. Data ubiquity is the most salient—and the most troubling—feature of the information age. People are suffering from "information anxiety" as they try to cope with the onslaught of data. This has resulted in information overload, greater data perishability, and limited productivity. In order to effectively plan and develop, institutions must have access to as much relevant data as possible, as quickly as possible. A number of software tools exist today that assist users in collecting and processing data and information, but there is as yet no standard or method for the organization of information into meaningful patterns generating insights into phenomena and behavior outside the boundaries of familiar contexts. Metacode’s language and associated products, including 3D Navigators, Filters, Circuit Viewers and Infoware, filled this gap. Metacode had 40 employees, with offices in San Francisco. In November 2000, Metacode was sold to Interwoven (IWOV).  
Mr. Hawken was hired by Interface 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. Team members include Amory Lovins (Rocky Mountain Institute), Janine Benyus (author of Biomimicry), Bill Browning (Rocky Mountain Institute), Daniel Quinn (author of Ishmael), Jonathon Porritt (Forum for the Future—UK), John Picard (E2 Consulting), and Walter Stahel (Product Life Institute—Geneva). The team as a whole is trying to help move the company to completely closed-loop manufacturing processes so that all product and waste is returned and remanufactured into new product. Mr. Hawken serves as a member of Interface’s internal Quest team incorporating zero-based waste concepts for industrial emissions. He wrote and co-designed the Interface Sustainability Report, which has won numerous awards and praise throughout the world. Interface’s CEO, Ray Anderson, cites The Ecology of Commerce as the reason for his decision to make Interface the world’s leader in industrial ecology.  
The Global Business Network is a private consulting network of professionals linking corporations and governments with thinkers in order to understand major changes in the business environment, a consulting company addressing real world business problems, and a communication company using the full potential of the new information technology to integrate and distribute global business intelligence. Among the 100 network members are Lynn Margulis, Mary Catherine Bateson, Brian Eno, Daniel Yergin, Peter Gabriel, Esther Dyson, Joel Garreau, Peter Calthorpe, Peter Coyote, Laurie Anderson, Michael Maccoby, James Hillman, Kevin Kelly, William Calvin, and Amory Lovins. Mr. Hawken’s work within GBN is focused on sustainability.  
Mr. Hawken created Smith & Hawken, a $75 million catalog and retail company, specializing in garden and horticultural products. It began as a non-profit offshoot of Ecology Action, specializing in hand tools used specifically in French-intensive/biodynamic gardening, and later branched off into several other horticultural areas. It is credited with changing the "landscape" of gardening in America by introducing European tools, techniques, varieties, and literature. After twelve years, there were four retail stores, a 100,000 ft. shipping facility, 600,000 yearly catalog customers, armfuls of awards for graphic design, and five distinct catalogs: furniture, tools, bulbs, work clothing, and general merchandise. Mr. Hawken designed many of the tools and products sold including the "Monet" bench, the most popular outdoor bench in America. Smith & Hawken was cited as one of the most environmentally innovative companies in the US, and was the first company to participate in a debt-for-nature swap in partnership with Conservation International. It won numerous awards for its environmental work including the Council on Economic Priority’s Environmental Excellence award in 1990, the first time a small company had been so honored.  
Mr. Hawken created the United States’ first natural foods company in Boston, Massachusetts. Prior to Erewhon, "health food" stores offered limited food options alongside some vitamins and personal care products. Erewhon focused exclusively on organically produced fruits, vegetables, dairy, beans, eggs, juices, and condiments. It was also the first US company to produce organically grown rice, grains, and seeds for oils, pasta, nut butters, cereals, and dozens of other products. By 1973, Erewhon had two mills, two rail cars, warehouses on both coasts, and contracts with farmers in 37 states on 56,000 acres to supply its four stores and more than 3,000 wholesale accounts.  
Mr. Hawken worked in New Orleans as a staff photographer focusing on campaigns in Bogalusa, Louisiana, the Florida panhandle, and Meridien, Mississippi after the three civil rights workers were tortured and killed. His photographs were published throughout the world.  
Mr. Hawken worked as Press Coordinator with Martin Luther King’s staff in Selma, Alabama prior to the historic march on the capitol of Alabama. He registered press, issued credentials, gave updates and interviews on national radio, and acted as marshal for the final march. Along with security, he was responsible for several entertainers on the eve of the march including Leonard Bernstein, Joan Baez, Sammy Davis Jr., and Ella Fitzgerald.  
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