Eco-Conscious Business Leaders
New York has its fair share of movers and shakers in the environmental world. While most people assume that someone recognized as an environmental leader probably works for a non-profit, the truth is that there are many wealthy business-people out there that take environmental ethics to heart. In a place like New York, the push toward greener business is very strong, and members of the business community are definitely listening. While this may not definitely arise from a genuine care for the environment on the part of these business leaders, the desire of meeting the needs of their clients growing concerns over the environment.
One of the biggest environmental business leaders in New York actually turns out to be the Mayor of New York City-- Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg is the 12th richest person in the United States, and has recently become the mayor of the largest municipal government in the world. His wealth is derived mostly from the media empire that he has created, with his most notable brand being Bloomberg News. Not only has Mayor Bloomberg shown his environmental chops through his Mayoral work, but he has also shown a great deal of leadership through his personal and business life. For example, Bloomberg has recently donated $50 million to the Sierra Club to help fund its powerful anti-coal campaign. The Sierra Club has stated that the donation is a real “game changer” in their coal campaign, and it further strengthens Michael Bloomberg's status as an environmental leader. As Mayor, he is pushing major changes in the way New York City is approaching sustainability. He has started a lot of programs in the city to help businesses “green” themselves by providing funding and consultations.
One of the most understated environmental leaders in New York, Jerry I. Speyer bridges the gap between environmental ideals and developmental ideals. A real estate investor by trade, Speyer has been steadily raising his environmental portfolio. He has started to use his clout throughout the state to finance environmental initiatives, and he was even instrumental in the recent “greening” of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree lighting, located in Midtown Manhattan. The lighting now uses solar panels to power the 500,000 light display. This isn't just saving the city money, but it's a strong message about sustainability with the city's most prominent Christmas icon. Mr. Speyer is a very camera-shy man, and he often shirks the limelight even when he does positive things for the community. For many, this has led to the belief that he cares much more about the good being done than the recognition he achieves through that good.
Environmental concerns are the norm these days no matter where you go. Only a scant few decades ago, environmental concerns were non-existent in the public sphere, let alone in private industry. For some business people, a growing concern in the environment could be due to a real, personal belief in sustainability and ecological health. For others, it's simply a matter of responding to the changing concerns of their customer base. No matter what the reasons are, there is no doubt that more and more business leaders and New York office providers are pouring more of their money and time into environmental concerns today than they ever have.