How the Rocky Mountain Institute Works

The Rocky Mountain Institute set up headquarters in Snowmass, Colorado.
The Rocky Mountain Institute set up headquarters in Snowmass, Colorado.
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At some point during the past few years, the idea of "going green" ceased being a trend and became a standard for living. So what differentiates the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) from any other green organization?

RMI's mission isn't simply sustainable living. Its focus is to combine prosperous living with green living -- to make the world healthier on an environmental level and on a financial level. RMI achieves these goals through consulting with businesses, organizations and individuals on developing more productive and efficient ways of working and living. Simply put, RMI is a think tank, or an institution organized for intensive research and solving of problems [source: American Heritage Dictionary].

RMI employs a unique business model called natural capitalism. Natural capital encompasses the planet, its ecological systems and energy sources -- resources that support life as well as hold economic value. Historically, typical business models didn't take healthy environmental practices into account. The reason is that it's never really been profitable for companies to utilize newer, more environmentally sound technologies and practices. The core belief of natural capitalism is that by implementing earth-friendly technologies, efficiency gains will benefit the bottom line, not only through reduced energy consumption, but also in competitive advantage and possible government subsidies [source: RMI].

What started out as a small but committed group of individuals in 1982 is now a multifaceted consulting organization. How did RMI begin? Who is its founder? And what has this organization accomplished over the years? Read the next page to start learning.