Paul Hawken
Hawken in 2017
Hawken in 2017
Born (1946-02-08) February 8, 1946 (age 78)
San Mateo, California, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, entrepreneur, activist
GenreEcological business
SpouseJasmine Scalesciani Hawken

Paul Gerard Hawken (born February 8, 1946) is an American environmentalist, entrepreneur, author, economist, and activist.[1]


Hawken was born in San Mateo, California, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where his father worked at UC Berkeley in library sciences.[2] He attended UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University. Hawken's work includes founding ecological businesses, writing about impacts of commerce on living systems, and consulting with corporations and governments on economic development, industrial ecology, and environmental policy.[1]

Hawken was the co-founder and executive director of Project Drawdown, a non-profit that describes how global warming can be reversed.[3]

Hawken was active in the civil rights movement.[4] He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.



Hawken has authored articles, op-eds, and peer-reviewed papers, and seven books, including: The Next Economy (Ballantine 1983), Growing a Business (Simon and Schuster 1987), The Ecology of Commerce (HarperCollins 1993), and Blessed Unrest (Viking 2007).[5]

The Ecology of Commerce was voted the #1 college text on business and the environment by professors in 67 business schools.[6] The businessman and environmentalist Ray Anderson of Interface, Inc. credited The Ecology of Commerce with his environmental awakening. He described reading it as a "spear in the chest experience", after which Anderson started crisscrossing the country with a near-evangelical fervor, telling fellow executives about the need to reduce waste and carbon emissions.[7]

Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution, co-authored with Amory Lovins, wrote about the idea of natural capital and direct accounting for ecosystem services.[8] Natural Capitalism has been translated into 14 other languages. Together with The Ecology of Commerce these books have been described as being "among the first to point the way towards a sustainable global economy".[9]

Blessed Unrest, How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming, published in 2007, argues that a vast "movement with no name" is forming involving environmental, social justice, and indigenous rights organizations. Hawken conceives of this "movement" as developing not by ideology but rather through the identification of what is and is not humane, and has compared it to humanity's collective immune system.[10]

Growing a Business became the basis of a 17-part PBS series, which Hawken hosted and produced. The program, which explored the challenges and pitfalls of starting and operating socially responsible companies, appeared on television in 115 countries and reached more than 100 million people.[2]

Hawken co-created Project Drawdown in 2013 with Amanda Joy Ravenhill, and was the co-creator, author, and editor of Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, published in 2017. It was collaborative effort involving 200 researchers and advisors who came together to model the most substantive solutions to reverse global warming.

In 2021, Hawken published the New York Times Bestseller,[11] Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation.[12]

Hawken's books have been published in more than 50 countries in 30 languages.[13]


Hawken founded several companies, starting when he took over a small retail store in Boston in 1967 called Erewhon (after Samuel Butler's 1872 utopian novel) and turned it into the Erewhon Trading Company, a natural-foods wholesaler, and one of the first in the US that relied solely on sustainable agricultural methods.[14] When he left the company in the 1970s, it had over 30,000 acres of organically grown food under contract. Hawken co-founded the Smith & Hawken garden supply company in 1979, a retail and catalog business.[15] In 2009, he founded OneSun, an energy company focused on ultra low-cost solar based on green chemistry and biomimicry.[16]

From 1994 to 1998, Hawken founded and headed up The Natural Step USA. From 1996 to 1998, Hawken was co-chairman of The Natural Step International.[17] The Natural Step was founded in 1989 by Swedish scientist and medical doctor Karl-Henrik Robèrt in order to create shared frameworks for understanding sustainable development. Its purpose is to teach and support environmental systems thinking in corporations, cities, governments, unions, and academic institutions through a dialogue process rooted in basic science.[18]

In 1998, Hawken created the Natural Capital Institute (NCI) located in Sausalito, California. Its main focus was, an open-source database of activists and civil society organizations focused on environmental and social justice.[19]

Hawken was previously the executive director of Project Drawdown, which is working towards the drawdown of greenhouse gases to reduce climate change.[20]


In 1965, Hawken worked with Martin Luther King Jr.'s staff in Selma, Alabama, preparing for the Selma to Montgomery marches. As press coordinator, he registered members of the press, issued credentials, gave dozens of updates and interviews on national radio, and acted as marshal for the final, March, 21, March to Montgomery. That same year, Hawken worked in New Orleans as a staff photographer for the Congress of Racial Equality, focusing on voter registration drives in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and the panhandle of Florida, and photographing the Ku Klux Klan in Meridian, Mississippi, after three civil rights workers were tortured and killed. In Meridian, Hawken was assaulted and seized by Ku Klux Klan members, but escaped due to Federal Bureau of Investigation surveillance and intervention.[21]


As a speaker, Hawken has given several hundred talks, including keynote addresses to major associations, companies, government agencies. His University commencement addresses have included:


Hawken has been awarded six honorary doctorates,[22] and received the Green Cross Millennium Award for Individual Environmental Leadership presented by Mikhail Gorbachev in 2003.[24]



  1. ^ a b Epstein-Reeves, James; Weinreb, Ellen. "Pioneers of Sustainability: Lessons from the Trailblazers" (PDF). Weinreb Group. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Makower, Joel (July 11, 2013). "Why Paul Hawken is teaching MBAs". GreenBiz. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  3. ^ "Project Drawdown". Project Drawdown. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  4. ^ "Paul Hawken Part II: Cultivating Progress". Sea Change. November 11, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  5. ^ "Paul Hawken". Sustainable Brands. 2016. Archived from the original on November 12, 2018. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  6. ^ "Solutions Summit Event". Archived from the original on September 12, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2015.
  7. ^ Vitello, Paul (August 10, 2011). "Ray Anderson, Businessman Turned Environmentalist, Dies at 77". The New York Times.
  8. ^ Hawken, Paul (1997). Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. Little Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-35300-7.
  9. ^ Gunther, Marc (October 22, 2014). "First look: environmental entrepreneur Paul Hawken's long-awaited new book". The Guardian. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  10. ^ Hawken, Paul (2007). Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming. New York: Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-03852-7.
  11. ^ "Paperback Books - Bestseller". The New York Times. October 17, 2021.
  12. ^ Hawken, Paul (2021). Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0143136972. Ending the climate crisis in one generation
  13. ^ "Paul Hawken". No. Transition to a Low-Carbon World. University of Notre Dame Mendoza College of Business. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  14. ^ "Heritage of Health Foods: Erewhon History". Attune Foods. Archived from the original on June 20, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  15. ^ Welte, Jim (July 9, 2009). "Smith & Hawken to close; going-out-of-business sales started Thursday". The Mercury News. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  16. ^ Gunther, Marc (February 11, 2010). "Paul Hawken's Winning Investment Strategy". GreenBiz. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  17. ^ "Bio Paul Hawken" (PDF). The Rocky Mountain Institute.
  18. ^ "The Natural Step About Us". The Natural Step. September 17, 2014. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  19. ^ Grover, Sami (June 21, 2007). "WISER Earth: User Created Directory of 'the Largest Movement on Earth'". Treehugger. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  20. ^ "Our Team". Project Drawdown. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  21. ^ Stephens, James C. Climate Change: An Encyclopedia of Science and History (Volume 1 ed.). p. 849.
  22. ^ a b c EW. "Paul Hawken". EcoWatch. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  23. ^ Loeb, Paul (May 2, 2014). "Best Environmental Commencement Speech Ever?". The Huffington Post: The Blog. The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  24. ^ "Global Green USA Millennium Awards". Global Green. Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  25. ^ Mainwaring, Simon (September 15, 2021). "Purpose At Work: Paul Hawken's 'Regeneration' Reveals A Critical Roadmap To End The Climate Crisis". Forbes. Retrieved September 21, 2021.
  26. ^ Hawken, Paul (2017). Drawdown: The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming / edited by Paul Hawken. New York, NY: Penguin Books. ISBN 9780143130444.
  27. ^ Hawken, Paul (2007). Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came Into Being, and Why No One Saw It Coming (1 ed.). New York, NY: Penguin Group. ISBN 978-0-67003852-7. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  28. ^ Hawken, Paul; Lovins, Amory; Lovins, L. Hunter (1999). Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution. New York, NY: The Hachette Book Group Publishing. ISBN 978-0-316-03153-0. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  29. ^ Hawken, Paul (1993). The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability. New York, NY: HarperCollinsPublishers. ISBN 0-88730-655-1. Retrieved September 21, 2016. the ecology of commerce.
  30. ^ Hawken, Paul (1987). Growing a Business. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks. ISBN 978-0671-64457-4. Retrieved September 21, 2016. growing a business.
  31. ^ Hawken, Paul (1983). The Next Economy. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 9780207149313.
  32. ^ Hawken, Paul; Ogilvy, James; Schwartz, Peter (1980). Seven Tomorrows. New York, NY: Bantam Books. ISBN 9780553014754.