Founder, Upstream 21 & Portfolio 21, Seattle
"Small companies are critical to the future of our communities," says Leslie Christian, 62—so she helped concoct an innovative way to support them. Upstream 21, whose board she chairs, is a Portland-based regional holding company that acquires and supports small, locally focused, privately held companies in the Pacific Northwest—currently, three forest-products companies that are embracing sustainable practices. Right from the drafting of its foundational document, Upstream 21 aimed to break away from business as usual: "Our corporate charter specifically states that the best interests of employees, customers, suppliers, the community, and the environment must be balanced with those of the shareholders over both the short and long term," Christian explains. She is also president and CEO of Portfolio 21 Investments, which specializes in environmentally and socially responsible investing, offering a "healthy," if not hefty, return on investment. (Watch Christian explain the Upstream 21 vision here.)
Founder, Front Seat, Seattle
After working at Microsoft and founding an Internet publishing firm, Mike Mathieu, 41, decided to put his software smarts to work for the greater social good. Seattle-based Front Seat, which he founded and chairs, has launched "civic software" projects like Walk Score, which shows you how "walkable" any given US address is, (Grist HQ scores a whopping 98 out of 100—a "Walkers' Paradise"), and City-Go-Round, which spotlights innovative public transit apps like Exit Strategy NYC, which shows you exactly where you should stand on the subway platform to arrive directly in front of the exit at your destination (brilliant). Walk Score has already started to change the way the real-estate industry thinks about walkability; its scores have been incorporated into sites like Zillow.com as well as many agents' individual listings, giving prospective homebuyers more info about the kinds of neighborhoods and lifestyles they might be buying into.
To read the full, original article click on this link: 14 Innovators Who Are Changing Green Business | Mother Jones