Hawken, Paul

January 10, 2011, 10:50 am

Paul Hawken is an environmentalist, entrepreneur, journalist, and author who wrote The Ecology of Commerce; Growing a Business; The Next Economy; Seven Tomorrows; and Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution and was the founder of Smith & Hawken.


Paul Hawken founded several natural foods companies in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including Erewhon Trading Company, which relied solely on sustainable-agricultural suppliers. He went on to co-found Smith & Hawken, the retail and catalog company in 1979, which he left in 1991 to devote his energies to the problem of global sustainability. In 1995 he founded Metacode, a software company specializing in proprietary content management tools. In 2000 he founded Groxis, a graphic information delivery provider for search engines, libraries, scientific repositories, and databases. He is presently the head of PaxIT, PaxTurbine, and PaxFan, three companies associated with Pax Scientific, a California-based research and development corporation focused on proprietary technologies involving fluid dynamics, convection, flow form geometry, propulsion, and thermodynamics. He also heads the Natural Capital Institute, a research group located in Sausalito, California. The Natural Capital Institute conducts research on socially responsible investing (SRI), global civil society, environmental funding, water, and other topics.

He has served on the board of many environmental organizations including Point Foundation (publisher of the Whole Earth Catalogs), Center for Plant Conservation, Trust for Public Land, Friends of the Earth, and National Audubon Society. He was the founder and Chair of The Natural Step in the United States as well as The Natural Step International in Stockholm.


Paul Hawken is author and co-author of dozens of articles, op-eds, papers, as well as six books. The Ecology of Commerce has become a classic text on business and environment. His last book, Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Little, Brown. September 1999) co-authored with Amory Lovins and L. Hunter Lovins, is published in fourteen languages and has been read and referred to by several heads of state. The book has also generated a website. Over the years, his books have been published in over 50 countries in 27 languages and have sold over 2 million copies. In 1983, Hawken authored the best-selling book, Growing a Business, about his experiences at Smith & Hawken. The book later became the basis of a 17-part PBS series, which explored the challenges and pitfalls of starting and operating socially responsive companies, hosted and produced by Mr. Hawken. He is currently writing a book to be published by Viking in Spring 2007 entitled Blessed Unrest.

Select Bibliogaphy of Paul Hawken

  • Seven Tomorrows (Schwartz and Ogilvy 1980)
  • The Next Economy (Ballantine 1983)
  • Growing a Business (Simon and Schuster 1987)
  • The Ecology of Commerce (HarperCollins 1993)
  • Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (Little, Brown. September 1999)

Awards and Recognitions

  • Green Cross Millennium Award for Individual Environmental Leadership presented by Mikhail Gorbachev in 2003
  • World Council for Corporate Governance in 2002
  • Small Business Administration “Entrepreneur of the Year” in 1990
  • Utne “One Hundred Visionaries who could Change our Lives” in 1995
  • Western Publications Association “Maggie” award for “Natural Capitalism” as the best "Signed Editorial/Essay” in 1997
  • Creative Visionary Award by the International Society of Industrial Design
  • Design in Business Award for environmental responsibility by the American Center for Design
  • Council on Economic Priorities’ 1990 Corporate Conscience Award
  • American Horticultural Society Award for commitment to excellence in commercial horticulture
  • Metropolitan Home Design 100 Editorial Award for the 100 best people, products and ideas that shape our lives
  • The Cine Golden Eagle award in video for the PBS program “Marketing” from Growing a Business
  • California Institute of Integral Studies Award “For Ongoing Humanitarian Contributions to the Bay Area Communities”
  • Esquire Magazine award for the best 100 People of a Generation (1984)
  • Five honorary doctorates.

Further Reading



Kubiszewski, I. (2011). Hawken, Paul. Retrieved from http://www.eoearth.org/view/article/153272


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