A reader wrote in recently to complain about the volume of green-related coverage in Fast Company. I feel obliged to respond.
Our editorial priority is not to pursue an environmental agenda. We are committed to highlighting innovative businesses and inspiring businesspeople who conceive and execute creative solutions to complex problems. This issue's articles about MySpace, sports doctor James Andrews, and D.C. public-schools chancellor Michelle Rhee are prime examples.
But no sophisticated chronicler of today's business landscape can ignore the seismic shift in energy and raw-materials prices that is sweeping our globe. As our authoritative June story on China's resource push in Africa illuminated (see Feedback, for a sampling of the remarkable response that story generated), there may not ultimately be enough resources on the planet to meet everyone's needs — unless drastic actions and dramatic innovations are embraced.
We at Fast Company are not predicting a worldwide catastrophe from the resource crunch or global warming. We try to avoid the crystal-ball business and prefer to emphasize the positive potential embodied in new ideas and new technologies. But a trend this big, this important, that affects every business and individual and goes to the core of so many of our activities and assumptions — well, we cannot help but pay it some mind.
By my calculation, roughly one-fifth of this issue's editorial content is, at least in part, green-related. Is that too much? All of you will be the final judges. Our commitment remains to tell the most interesting, compelling, and meaningful business stories we can find. So if that means our Fast Talk section on the food business (Good Enough to Eat) references environmental costs and healthy, sustainable sources; if our Next section includes a piece about one maverick's attempt to remake the California electricity market (Power Play); if one of our columnists unmasks the hypocrisies and limitations of recycling (Plastic Potion No. 9); if we talk to the CEO of Clorox about his unlikely alliance with the Sierra Club to sell more product (Cleaning Solution) — if all of that seems like too much greenery, then we are guilty. We believe each of these articles stands on its own and that, taken together, they reflect only one thing: Sustainability is one of the most critical stories of our age. We would be shirking our obligations if we ignored it.
A version of this article appeared in the September 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.