What Advice Does Ray Anderson Have for Barack Obama?

  • Published on May 7th, 2009

During the Sustainable Industries Economic Forum this morning in San Francisco, keynote speaker Ray Anderson, Founder and Chair of Interface, a true green business pioneering company, was asked what his best three pieces of advice for Barack Obama would be.

First was to shift the economy, and federal subsidies, from old technology to new and high tech industries.  It’s estimated that 50% of coal power plants would be unprofitable without subsidies.  “It’s time to shift the equation”, he said.

Second was to get a price on carbon.  “By hook or by crook,” Anderson said.  “It needs to happen, and I think a carbon tax is probably impossible politically, but cap and trade is possible.”  Anderson went on to say that “Carbon has been getting a free ride, and it’s time to change that.”

And third, Anderson cited the controversy over nuclear power.  Saying that our legacy of poison for future generations will be tough to justify, given that nuclear waste will outlast the lifespan of any language on the planet, so how can we possibly put good warning signs on our waste?

Scott Cooney is the author of Build a Green Small Business:  Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill).

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About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on