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Bill Shireman

Future 500 President and CEO Bill Shireman is called “a master of environmental entrepreneurism.” He has resolved conflicts between some of the world’s largest corporations and environmental activist groups. Shireman forged partnerships between Mitsubishi Motors, Mitsubishi Electric and the Rainforest Action Network to save the world’s forests, devised a forestry restructuring plan that brought Canada’s biggest forestry company, MacMillan Bloedel, together with Greenpeace and the Sierra Club, wrote many of California’s recycling laws, and forged the coalition that led to the California beverage container recycling law, the nation’s most cost-effective “bottle bill.”In 1996, Shireman joined with Mitsubishi Electric America CEO Tachi Kiuchi and other Fortune 500 chief executives to form a business network called the Future 500. It demonstrates how companies can profit from sustainability by applying measurement and management tools that stimulate innovation, by replacing products with services, and by driving waste toward zero.

Since that time, Shireman has helped corporate and government leaders successfully navigate difficult conflicts over recycling, forestry, indigenous peoples, women’s rights, consumer products, housing development, controversial facilities, and sexism in the workplace.

The innovative laws, programs, and policies he has developed have cut pollution and waste and promoted efficiency. In so doing, they have saved more than $2.5 billion for consumers and businesses (based on studies by Ernst & Young).

Shireman is the author of articles and books on business, environment, and the future. His writings have appeared in USA Today, Technology Review, Business Week, the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News, and other newspapers, magazines, and journals. He is co-author (with Tachi Kiuchi) of What We Learned in the Rainforest: Business Principles For The New Economy (Berrett-Koehler).

Before founding the Future 500, Shireman was executive director of Californians Against Waste, which during his tenure grew to become the largest and most effective recycling lobby in the nation.