TBT: Doing Good While Doing Well

Published: 
Thursday, January 14, 2016
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Throwback Thursday: From the Archives


PERC's 2015 Class of Enviropreneurs near Bozeman, Montana.

We’ve called them everything from enviro-capitalists to enviropreneurs, but environmental entrepreneurs have long solved environmental conflicts through contracts, property rights, and markets. They satisfy the growing demands for environmental quality with a business approach, doing good while doing well. In 1997, Terry L. Anderson and Donald R. Leal published their book Enviro-Capitalists, showcasing entrepreneurial approaches that use markets and property rights to protect amenity values in water, land, and wildlife. They wrote about the book in the August 1997 edition of PERC Reports:    

[Enviro-capitalists] are entrepreneurs using business tools to preserve open space, develop wildlife habitat, save endangered species, and generally improve environmental quality. To meet the growing demand for recreational and environmental amenities, enviro-capitalists invent new products, attract venture capital, contract with resource owners, and market their products.

Anderson and Leal share examples of individuals who use their businesses to conserve the environment while making a profit:

Peter S. O’Neill of Boise, Idaho, recognized the growing demand for natural amenities in an urban setting and responded by building communities for people as well as fish. His housing developments offer free-flowing trout streams, lush streamside vegetation, and biologically diverse lakes and wetlands.

One of O’Neill’s early projects was River Run, a 650-unit residential development in Boise that spans 120 acres along the Boise River. River Run’s single-family homes, condominiums, and custom homes were built to blend into the natural surroundings of the Boise River. The property’s natural amenities were enhanced by construction of a seven-acre lake called Heron Lake and by several free-flowing streams.

Anderson and Leal’s work with enviropreneurs in 1997 is just the tip of the iceberg of PERC’s involvement in environmental entrepreneurship. Today, PERC continues to believe in the power of enviropreneurs to see opportunity where others see environmental problems. 

To support these individuals and their environmental businesses, PERC started the Enviropreneur Institute in 2001. We provide enviropreneurs with the skills to successfully enhance environmental assets. Through educational and classroom experiences, practical entrepreneurial training, and networking opportunities, the Institute cultivates the talents and tools necessary to grow and scale a business venture.

To learn more about how you can do good while doing well, check out the Enviropreneur Institute, and keep a lookout for the 2016 application coming soon! 

Read the original article in full here.

Hannah Downey is the policy and partnerships coordinator and a research fellow at PERC, helping to move projects along from conception to completion. After being introduced to PERC her freshman year of college, she pursued the ideas of free market environmentalism and became a research assistant as a senior. She graduated from Montana State...
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