Image courtesy Jeffrey Hollender/Seventh Generation
Six years ago, when Jeffrey Hollender's son Alex was hospitalized for an asthma attack, an asthma specialist confirmed the cause was 100 percent environmental and suggested the family make switch to non-toxic cleaners. And make a switch they did...
Soon after, Jeffrey founded the company Seventh Generation and turned it into the leading and fastest-growing brand of natural home products—from post-consumer recycled paper towel and toilet paper, to non-toxic, botanical-based dishwashing liquid, all-purpose cleansers and eco-friendly diapers. All of which are as good for the earth as they are for its inhabitants. The brand's packaging often touts this quote from the The Great Law of The Iriquois Confederacy, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations."
Seventh Generation's strong foundation of social awareness is due in part to Jeffrey's long and early career in adult education?founding several not-for-profits. He now speaks publicly about social and environmental responsibility, leads the Seventh Generation blog Inspired Protagonist and has authored books like What Matters Most and Naturally Clean.
When not crusading towards a cleaner, greener planet, Jeffrey takes pride in his close-knit family including his wife Sheila and their three children, Meika, Alexander, and Chiara.
How did you get into this line of work?
I guess I am a left over idealist and hippie from the 60s.
What was your "a-ha" moment?
Every day is an "a-ha" moment.
Who is your green hero?
Ghandi, "We must be the change we seek in the world," and the ecological economist, Herman Daly.
What is your ultimate green goal?
To change the economic, tax and regulatory system so that it reflects the true cost of products and services. This new economics would value nature as an asset.
What is your motivation?
My three children, Meika 21, Alexander 19 and Chiara 14.
What is most important to you, ecologically speaking?
To create a more just, equitable world.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
The experience that so much of the good work we do is about rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
What is the most rewarding?
The people I work with at Seventh Generation.
Of the people you have worked with, who impresses you most?
This is a terribly incomplete list, and it would be unfair to name any one person, but some of my favourites include Peter Senge, Amory Lovins, John Elkington, Muhammad Yunus, Thomas Freidman and Robert Kennedy Jr.
What green thing do you do everyday?
Create hope and inspire other
What do you wish you could do?
Drive an electric car powered by my wind turbine.
What is your biggest eco-sin?
Lusting after rides in private jets.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
I'd teach everyone to think systemically.