Elon Musk is accelerating the world’s movement towards renewable energy and clean technology. Musk has shown that he has an extraordinary capacity for building sustainability focused businesses. He has demonstrated his abilities in a wide range of ventures including Tesla Motors, Tesla Energy, SpaceX, and the Hyperloop.
Musk built his fortune on Zip2 and PayPal. The former he sold for $305 million and the latter he sold for $1.5 billion. Musk’s personal take from Zip2 was $22 million, which he invested in PayPal. He invested the $160 million he earned from the sale of PayPal into electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla Motors and battery manufacturer Tesla Energy. In a bit more than a decade Musk has revolutionizing both the automotive industry and the renewable energy sector.
Musk has earned the respect of those who champion the opportunities associated with sustainability. He is a leader whose accomplishments stand out above the rest. He is adding to the legacy of the pioneers of sustainability. One shining example of sustainability pioneers is Ray Anderson the late CEO of Interface.
In a more contemporary context we could not be faulted for being smitten by the leadership of Jeffrey Immelt CEO of General Electric. In 2010 he argued for a national energy policy including a carbon pricing scheme and in 2012 he launched an excellent program called Ecomagination. Another meritorious business leader is Unilever CEO Paul Polman. He is a previous recipient of the Duke of Edinburgh Conservation Medal awarded annually by WWF for outstanding service to the environment. He was awarded the UN’s Champion for Global Change Award.
In this interview Polman discusses why capitalism must evolve, his company’s efforts to change, and how business leaders are critical to solving intractable problems. “The amount of resources we currently use is 1.5 times the world’s resource capacity.” Polman says and then he asks, “Is that sustainable? A billion people still go to be hungry. Is that sustainable? The richest 85 people have the same wealth as the bottom 3.5 billion. Is that sustainable?”
In the spirit of these three great men, I include Elon Musk. Musk has earned his place as the leading sustainability focused business mind of our times. His efforts have inspired a series of posts that cover a wide range of topics from Musk’s genius as the head of Tesla Motors to the ways he is revolutionizing renewables with his gigafactories. I have also reviewed why Musk thinks Donald Trump is bad for business.
In a wide ranging interview in July at the National Governors Association meeting Musk laid out the big picture. Musk talked about what drives him, public policy, energy, innovation, cars, space, and the risks of A.I. He specifically highlighted the need to “accelerate the transition to sustainable generation and consumption of electricity,” saying, “it matters if it happens sooner or later.”
Tesla’s Revolutionary Gigafactories
Telsla’s Elon Musk Thinks Trump is Bad for Business
Elon Musk is a Sustainability Titan (Video)
The Model 3 is Proof of Musk’s Strategic Genius at the Helm of Tesla Motors
Tesla Motor’s Growth and the Bottom Line
13 Applications of Tesla Batteries that are Revolutionizing Renewables
Elon Musk’s Innovative Vision and Tesla’s Sustainability Leadership (Videos)
The Electric Tesla S is Motor Trend’s Car of the Year
Video – Elon Musk Dismisses Hydrogen Powered Cars?
Tesla Battery for Home and Business: Emissions Free Energy
The Hyperloop: Solar Powered Rapid Transportation