Sustainable Conservation, San Francisco
Sustainable Conservation website
Lauren Dachs, S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
In California, farmers and environmentalists have a long history of distrust. Decades-old feuds over water supplies, air quality, and pesticide use have left many believing that the divisions between these old factions run too deep to cross — but not Ashley Boren.
Ten years ago, Boren became executive director of Sustainable Conservation, a San Francisco environmental group founded on the idea that the environmental movement was missing a major opportunity to work more collaboratively with the private sector.
Since then, Boren and her colleagues have proven not only that it's possible to break through long-standing animosities, but that a collaborative, problem-solving approach to environmental challenges, one that involves businesses as partners rather than opponents, can succeed in ways that more traditional strategies of regulation and litigation may not.
Consider some of their achievements:
Sustainable Conservation’s success is due in part to its disarming approach. Boren and her colleagues start by developing a thorough understanding of the businesses and industries involved. Then they work in partnership to find practical, cost-effective ways to protect the environment that also make business sense.
Boren herself is a model of this approach. A former fund-raiser for the Nature Conservancy with a Stanford M.B.A., she blends a lifelong commitment to the environment with strong business acumen.
By promoting these innovative strategies, she and her colleagues at Sustainable Conservation are addressing a range of California's major problems — including climate change, air and water pollution, and loss of wildlife — and helping entire industries shift toward environmental sustainability.
For her practical, collaborative approach to solving some of the state's toughest environmental challenges, Ashley Boren is a recipient of a 2007 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award.