Is Environmental Defense leader Fred Krupp a savvy dealmaker or a stooge?
I keep meaning to link to The New Republic‘s thoughtful profile of Fred Krupp, head honcho at Environmental Defense:
Krupp, of all environmentalists, has been the most successful in persuading the corporate world–and those who support its interests–to embrace the green cause. Among his accomplishments, Krupp has helped convince McDonald’s to abandon Styrofoam for paper, Wal-Mart to stock energy- efficient light bulbs, Duke Energy to invest in wind power, and Federal Express to use hybrid trucks. He was one of the main architects of the Kyoto Protocol and is a linchpin in Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s GreeNYC plan. In January, he assembled the United States Climate Action Partnership, a watershed consortium of Fortune 500 companies pledged to cut global warming. And, in February, he convinced billionaire Henry Kravis and his partners to amend the biggest private equity buyout in history, the $45 billion TXU Energy deal, by scrapping plans for a raft of new dirty coal-burning electricity plants.
Krupp has been able to accomplish these feats because people who don’t like environmentalists like him.
On the other hand, lots of people who are environmentalists don’t like him either.
You can probably guess my take. I value the person who moves a penny more than the person who talks about moving $100. Krupp has gotten lots of stuff done that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten done. As to whether he’s helping corporations "greenwash," I find his response pretty sensible:
“It’s true a CEO might have a combination of motives, including improving their reputation, including making money, including doing the right thing,” he says. “And it may be that doing the right thing is the least important motivation. We don’t really care about that. What we care about is, are we putting them on track to do big and important things?”
The focus on motivations is a symptom of environmentalism’s lamentable moralism on climate change. Krupp has moved a lot of pennies, so while I’m not going to put a poster of him up on my wall, I’m glad he’s out there.