David B. Olsen


Energy Development
   And Policy

Corporate and Public
   Sector Leadership

Climate Change and

Public and Community

Publications and

  Climate Change and Sustainability

In 2000, David Olsen led creation of the California Climate Action Registry, the first state registry of greenhouse gases. Its protocols for monitoring, reporting and verifying emissions and the software developed to support these functions are now employed by international organizations and other states. “State Climate Initiatives: Creation of the California Climate Action Registry,” (2003: Wirth Chair/University of Colorado), describes the organization of the Registry and the development of its measurement, verification and reporting protocols; it is available at: http://thunder1.cudenver.edu/wirthchair/pb_2003.htm.  In April 2005, the California Registry honored Olsen as a Climate Action Champion.

From 2000-2004, Olsen served as Senior Fellow of the Wirth Chair in Environmental and Community Development at the University of Colorado, Denver. In this role he spoke widely on sustainability and climate change issues, and organized the Colorado Energy Partnership to support companies and cities to monitor their greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency. http://thunder1.cudenver.edu/wirthchair.

As President and CEO of Patagonia, Inc., in addition to leading the company to sustained sales and financial growth, Olsen extended a program to identify and phase out the use of toxic substances in  its product line. This included a multi-year effort to develop vegetable-based dyes to replace toxic metallic ones, and the development of an organic cotton supply chain to replace pesticide-laden conventional cotton. He stimulated more than a dozen R&D projects, in cooperative efforts with major chemical companies, aimed at developing benign replacement compounds and processes and entirely new, non-toxic materials. He created an Advanced Concept Development Center to conduct over-the-horizon research separate from product development. Under his leadership, after committing itself to meet the greenhouse reduction targets of the Kyoto protocol, the company reduced its energy use 20% and became one of the first companies in the US to have its electricity supplied by wind power. Olsen also led a company-wide exploration of different business models and customer relationships to support sustainable operations.

David Olsen was a director of the CEO Coalition to Advance Sustainable Technology, and served as its President, 1998-2000. Coalition members see great business opportunity in the challenges of sustainable development. The Coalition works to develop policy solutions capable of delivering continuously improving environmental performance. Member involvement revolves around three policy areas: Its Energy Working Group develops policy proposals to advance the “Smart Grid,” distributed generation, clean energy and emissions cap-and-trade programs. Its Transportation Working Group promotes policies to support the development of hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, and growth management and public transportation, including employee transportation. A Manufacturing Working Group develops policies to encourage and reward sustainable choices in materials and energy inputs and increased resource efficiency, beginning  with a “Water-Star” program to encourage water-use efficiency.  http://www.ceocoalition.com/asp/lot_ceo_1_index.asp

Olsen is actively involved in the development of policies to address climate change at the state and national level. He has recently convened or led these meetings:

        “Procurement Incentive Framework for GHG Reduction,” (R.04-04-003) California Public Utilities Commission, March 7-9, 2005.

        "Adapting to Higher Energy Cost and Carbon Constraints in the Mountain West," a Leadership Roundtable on Energy Efficiency. Wirth Chair, University of Colorado, Denver, September 27-28, 2004.

        "Registries and Trading as Climate Change Policy Approaches," Aspen Institute, Washington DC, March 8, 2004.

        Colorado Business Energy Partnership, monthly meetings of Colorado companies and cities working to monitor their greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy efficiency. 2000-2005.

"National Leadership Forum on Energy Efficiency and Climate Change Policies," CEO Coalition to Advance Sustainable Technology, Washington, D.C., May 10, 2000.
    David B. Olsen
Ventura, CA  93001