Paul’s history is one of deep commitment to social action and cutting edge experiments in social change, in business and the non-profit sector. Over his 35 years of active engagement on sustainability, Paul has helped to break new ground as an entrepreneurial businessman and CEO and as a creative campaigner and activist in many NGOs. His personal philosophy and lessons from this life of social change, along with a full overview of his diverse experience, was the subject of a commencement speech at the University of Technology in Sydney in 2006.
Paul has been involved, and in many cases has led, countless activist campaigns on a wide variety of social and environmental issues.
- In the 1970’s he worked on campaigns on anti-apartheid, human rights in East Timor, Aboriginal land rights campaigns and lived with an Aboriginal community in remote northern Australia.
- In the 1980’s he worked on labour rights and then served in the RAAF as an instrument fitter (working as a technician on Flight Simulators and living on Richmond RAAF base). He also became deeply engaged in the peace movement, including campaigns against nuclear weapons with personal involvement in direct actions against visiting nuclear armed warships in Australian ports (initially doing this while he was also in the RAAF!). After leaving the airforce, he was arrested several times in these protests on Sydney Harbour.
- In this era he was also national coordinator of the Save Jervis Bay campaign which involved leading the occupation of a military bombing range in protests against bombing on Aboriginal Land. This alliance of aboriginal, peace and environmental groups successfully prevented the construction of a major naval base at Jervis Bay and achieved its conversion instead to a national marine park.
Between 1989 and 1994, Paul served with Greenpeace including:
- leading Greenpeace Australia’s Clean Water’s Clean Seas campaign which involved direct action against illegal waste dumping by major Australian corporations, in a 6 month tour with the boat Redbill and visits by the Rainbow Warrior.
- as Executive Director of Greenpece Australia
- as Executive Director of Greenpeace International based in Amsterdam.
After leaving Greenpeace, he founded Ecos Corporation in 1995 and led this successful company until its sale in 2008. Ecos was a ground breaking consultancy working with the CEOs and executives of some of the world’s largest corporations, including DuPont, Ford Motor Company, BHP Billiton, Anglo American and Diageo as well as leading Australian companies such ANZ Bank, Insurance Australia Group and TRU Energy.
From 2005 to 2007, Paul helped build Ecos Corporation owned Easy Being Green from a struggling start up to a very successful business employing over 200 people. This innovative company broke new ground globally using carbon trading to drive mass consumer action on energy efficiency. Paul served as CEO and helped build a team who delivered energy efficient lighting into over 600,000 households. In doing so it achieved 4,300,000 tonnes of CO2 reductions and established domestic energy efficiency as a mainstream consumer and policy priority opportunity in Australia. Easy Being Green’s operations were suspended in Nov 2007 when the NSW State carbon price collapsed and the company was sold. This also led to the sale of Ecos Corporation because of Easy Being Green related debt.
Although with the collapse of the NSW State carbon price these businesses failed by traditional criteria, they were great successes in social entrepreneurship, dramatically breaking new ground and showing the way for many other businesses to follow. The example of Easy Being Green’s success led to much stronger State and Federal government programs in energy efficiency, including for low income households. The team from Ecos Corporation has gone on to join other consultancies and companies in the USA and Australia, where they continue to drive improvements in corporate social and environmental performance.