Corporate and Public
Climate Change and
|Corporate and Public Sector Leadership|
David Olsen has led these organizations:
Patagonia, Inc., a $220 million manufacturer of high quality outdoor gear, with 1,000 employees and sales in 20 countries in retail, wholesale and mail order distribution. As President and CEO, Olsen restructured product design, development and marketing into market-based teams and decentralized company operations; invested heavily in information technology infrastructure and launched Internet distribution; reorganized European and Japanese subsidiaries; and grew sales 30%. He created a process to clarify the companyís purpose and core values, to reconcile its social and environmental commitments with business success. Under his leadership, the company expanded its commitment to principles of sustainable operation; invested in new materials R&D; set a schedule for eliminating toxic substances; and supported suppliers to make environmental improvements. http://www.patagonia.com/
International Utility Structures, Inc., manufacturer of recycled steel utility poles and towers providing a non-toxic alternative to treated wood poles, with plants in France and the US and sales in 100 countries; traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. As Director, Olsen developed marketing approaches to leverage the environmental advantages of the steel products, and served on the Corporate Governance and Compensation committees of the board.
As President of Clipper Windpower Development Company, he created the start-up business strategy, recruited a project development team, assembled a portfolio of 2,200 MW of projects, won bids, negotiated power purchase agreements and closed financings/ project sales for new wind projects. http://www.clipperwind.com/As Vice President of Magma Power Company, he was responsible for worldwide business development, major customer relationships, and investor relations (Magma traded on NASDAQ). Magma was a developer, owner and operator of geothermal power projects in California, Asia and Latin America. Olsen was also Founder and President of Magma subsidiary Peak Power Corporation, developer of modular hydroelectric pumped storage projects. Magma was acquired by CalEnergy/MidAmerican Energy in 1995 for $968 million. http://www.midamerican.com/
As President and CEO of Northern Power Systems, he developed the MicroGrid system structure for high reliability power systems serving telecommunications and village power applications. Under his leadership, these hybrid systems were installed in many countries, on every continent. http://www.northernpower.com/
Olsen was Founder and Director of the San Francisco Labor-Management Work Improvement Project, a joint union-management productivity improvement effort involving 12,000 city and county workers. He also directed public sector labor-management programs in other California cities and state agencies. He served on the White House Commission on Industrial Innovation in 1978 and on the California Commission on Industrial Innovation in 1980.
Olsen has been one of the architects of the corporate sustainability agenda, and earlier, of the corporate social responsibility and socially responsible investing movements. As president of the Shalan Foundation in the 1970s, he helped spur creation of the social investment program at Boston Trust and Investment Management Co., and development of the Social Investment Forum. In 1982, he helped found Working Assets Money Fund, which utilized social and environmental criteria to screen investments and provided a union-directed investment alternative for labor union funds.
The corporate sustainability agenda today includes intentionally designing materials to be non-toxic and non-carcinogenic; the phasing out of fossil fuel use; increasing resource efficiency/reducing resource intensity; and the developing cradle-to-cradle responsibility for the acquisition, transformation and continued re-use of materials. More fundamentally, sustainability challenges us to learn how to live in harmony with the eco-systems that support us, and within their limits.
The first Industrial Revolution proceeded without much reflection about its social and ecological consequences. Today, in contrast, we have the opportunity to deliberately build sustainable economic security. A Next Industrial Revolution can engage our communities, our schools and our churches, alongside our corporations, as we learn together how to develop our economy to be both more equitable and to better integrate our technical skills and growing knowledge of ecosystem dynamics.Equality is both goal and pre-requisite for this transformation, which canít be achieved, or even fully imagined, only by developed countries or economic elites. Changing our expectations and behavior will necessarily draw on the moral, spiritual and intellectual resources of every one of us. Olsenís work revolves around helping corporations and government agencies structure their planning to take advantage of the opportunities in the transition, first, to a more secure and sustainable energy future for the United States.
David B. Olsen|
Ventura, CA 93001