L. Hunter Lovins (née Sheldon, born 1950) is an author and a promoter of sustainable development for over 40 years, is president of Natural Capitalism Solutions, a 501(c)3 non-profit in Longmont, Colorado and the Chief Insurgent of the Madrone Project. She teaches sustainable business management at Bard College in New York. She was a founding professor at Presidio Graduate School's MBA in Sustainable Management program (2002-2010). She also has taught at various universities, consulted for many citizens’ groups, governments and corporations. She co-founded with her then-husband Amory Lovins the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) which she led for 20 years. She has addressed the World Economic Forum, the U.S. Congress, the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and other major conferences. Named a "green business icon" by Newsweek, a millennium "Hero of the Planet" by Time Magazine, she has also received the Right Livelihood Award and the Leadership in Business Award, among other honors.
Lovins received her undergraduate degree in sociology and political science from Pitzer College, in Claremont, California and her J.D. from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. In 1979 she married Amory Lovins; they separated in 1989 and divorced in 1999.
A practicing attorney (member of the State Bar of California), Lovins helped establish, and was for six years Assistant Director of the California Conservation Project (Tree People), an urban forestry and environmental education group. She served as policy adviser for Friends of the Earth under David Brower. Named Henry R. Luce visiting professor at Dartmouth College, Lovins has taught at several universities, and is currently professor of Sustainable Management at Bainbridge Graduate Institute which offers an accredited MBA in sustainable management. In 1982 she co-founded the Rocky Mountain Institute, a 50-person research center with a $7 million annual budget, half of it earned through programmatic enterprise. She was RMI's CEO for strategy until 2002.
Lovins was one of four people from North America to serve as a delegate to the UN's prep conference for Europe and North America for the World Summit on Sustainable Development, and lead a delegation to the World Summit. She was a commissioner in the State of the World Forum’s Commission on Globalization, co-chaired by Mikhail Gorbachev, Jane Goodall, George Soros and others. In 2003, she created Natural Capitalism Inc. and the non-profit Natural Capitalism Solutions to implement the ideas of sustainable development on a global scale.
She advises companies and non-profits, including Engineers Without Borders, Portfolio 21, GreenMountain.com and The Natural Edge Project. She was a founding director of RMI’s for-profit spin-off, E SOURCE, until its 1999 sale for $18 million to the Financial Times. She is a Distinguished Fellow of the Fowler Center's Business as an Agent of World Change at Case Western University.
In 2013, Hunter served as a mentor for Unreasonable at Sea, a technology business accelerator for social entrepreneurs seeking to scale their ventures in international markets. Founded by Unreasonable Group, Semester at Sea, and Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design.
Lovins has presented to an array of audiences around the world, including:
- U.S. Congress
- World Summit on Sustainable Development
- World Economic Forum
- Global Economic Forum
- Daughters of the American Revolution Continental Congress
- World’s Fair Energy Symposia
- State of the World Forum
- St. John the Divine Cathedral Epiphany Service
- Industrial Designers Society’s WorlDesign
- United Nations Development Program
- Institution of Engineers Australia
- United Nations Industrial Development Organizations Annual General Conference
- Hundreds of conferences & college symposia
- Queensland EPA Sustainable Industries Division
- New Zealand Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
- Western Australia Environmental Policy Unit
- IPENZ National Convention / Newnham Lecture Australian Conservation Foundation
- European Climate Exchange
- Green Festivals
Television and film appearances
- NOVA "Poison in the Rockies"
- Planet Forward
- 60 Minutes (USA)
- Good Morning America
- Bill Moyers' NOW
- Pat Robertson’s "700 Club"
- Australian Broadcasting Company
- The Merv Griffin Show
- Award-winning film "Lovins On the Soft Path"
- Chicago Manufacturing Center online training course for the Sustainability Helix
Lovins shared a 1982 Mitchell Prize for an essay on reallocating utility capital, a 1983 Right Livelihood Award, a 1993 Nissan Award for an article on Hypercars, the 1999 Lindbergh Award for Environment and Technology, and several honorary doctorates. In 2000, she was named a Hero of the Planet by Time Magazine, and received the Loyola Law School Award for Outstanding Community Service. In 2001, she received the Leadership in Business Award and shared the Shingo Prize for Manufacturing Research. In 2005 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award of Pitzer College.
Lovins has co-authored 14 books including Climate Capitalism: Capitalism in the Age of Climate Change (2011), Natural Capitalism: Creating the Next Industrial Revolution (1999), and The Natural Advantage of Nations (2006), Green Development (1998), Factor 4: Doubling Wealth - Halving Resource Use and Least Cost Energy (1997, together with Ernst Ulrich von Weizsäcker), Energy Unbound: A Fable for America's Future (1986), The First Nuclear World War (1984), Brittle Power: Energy Strategy for National Security (1983), Solving the CO2 Problem (1981). The Way Out: Kickstarting Capitalism to Save Our Economic Ass (2012), Creating a Lean and Green Business System (2013)
- She has dozens of professional papers published in journals including the Harvard Business Review, Foreign Affairs, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Journal of the American Bar Association, Natural Resources Journal and Journal of the U.S. Green Building Council
- Recent articles have appeared in World Link, World Business Academy Review, The Guardian, American Prospect, Los Angeles Times, Yes! Magazine (see photo), and In-Business Magazine
- Lovins sits on the Editorial Board of Sustainability: The Journal of Record, (publisher Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.) where she has contributed articles and editorials
- Lovins has written several articles for Unreasonable Group’s social entrepreneurship hub, UNREASONABLE.is.
The business education programs developed by Lovins and her colleagues aim to demonstrate how socially and environmentally responsible business decisions benefit performance in corporate, government, and non-profit organizations. These programs draw upon expertise in international business, education, engineering, architecture, law, economics, and natural resources.
Lectures and teaching
In August 2003, Lovins and her colleague, Walter Link, delivered the first class of the Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. Lovins has also delivered lectures in courses at leading universities and colleges in the United States and abroad.
- Aster, Nick (21 February 2006). "The TH Interview: L. Hunter Lovins". TreeHugger.com. Discovery Communications, LLC. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
- "Biography of L. Hunter Lovins" (PDF). NatCapInc.com. Natural Capitalism, Inc. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
- Lovins, Hunter. "President" (PDF). Natural Capitalism Solutions. Retrieved 2011-09-29.
- Feder, Barnaby J (28 February 2004). "Iconoclast Gets Consultant Fees To Tell Big Oil It's Fading Fast". SierraActivist.org. The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
- "Bard MBA Faculty: Hunter Lovins".
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