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Jeffrey Hollender, entrepreneur and author, Social Entrepreneur, Jeffrey Hollender Biography,
Business Social Entrepreneur

Jeffrey Hollender: Champion of Sustainable Business and Social Responsibility

Early Life and Education

Jeffrey Hollender, born in 1954 in New York City, is a renowned American entrepreneur, author, and activist. Growing up in New York, he attended the Town School, Allen-Stevenson, Riverdale Country Day School, Putney School in Vermont, and Santa Barbara High School, eventually graduating from the Baldwin School. Hollender also attended Hampshire College for three semesters but did not complete his degree.

Jeffrey Hollender

Business Ventures

Early Career

From 1976 to 1978, Hollender founded and served as CEO of the Skills Exchange of Toronto, a non-profit organization based in Toronto, Canada. The Skills Exchange offered thousands of short-term evening and weekend classes inspired by Ivan Illich’s book Deschooling Society.

From 1979 to 1987, Hollender was the president of Network for Learning and Warner Audio Publishing, a division of Warner Communications. Warner Audio Publishing was the first major publisher of books on tape.

Seventh Generation Inc.

In 1988, Hollender, along with Alan Newman, acquired a small mail-order catalog focused on energy conservation products known as Renew America. This venture eventually transformed into Seventh Generation Inc., a company dedicated to environmentally friendly products. For twenty years, Hollender served as President, CEO, and “Chief Inspired Protagonist” of the Vermont-based company.

In June 2009, Hollender stepped down as CEO and became Executive Chairperson of Seventh Generation. However, in October 2010, he was let go by the board of directors.

American Sustainable Business Council

In 2009, Hollender co-founded the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC). The ASBC is a coalition of business networks advocating for public policies that support a vibrant and sustainable economy. It represents over 150,000 businesses and 300,000 entrepreneurs, managers, investors, and others committed to sustainable development and socially responsible business practices.

Other Ventures and Roles

In 2010, Hollender was named Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Greenpeace USA, having served on the board since 2005. He has also served on the boards of Verite, Health Care Without Harm, and Practically Green.

In August 2014, Hollender and his daughter Meika Hollender launched Sustain Natural, the first company to provide sustainable, fair trade, and non-toxic condoms. Sustain Natural aims to educate and connect issues such as condoms, hunger, healthcare, poverty, and climate change.


Hollender believes that the interconnected nature of social and environmental issues requires holistic solutions. He advocates for recognizing and addressing the connections between problems like social inequity, poverty, hunger, unsustainable agricultural practices, and global climate change.


Hollender has authored six books focusing on social and corporate responsibility, sustainable practices, and activism. His notable works include:

  • How to Make the World a Better Place (1985), co-authored by Linda Catling
  • Naturally Clean (2006), co-authored by Geoff Davis and Meika Hollender
  • In Our Every Deliberation: An Introduction to Seventh Generation (2006)
  • What Matters Most (2006)
  • The Responsibility Revolution: How the Next Generation of Businesses Will Win (2010), co-authored by Bill Breen
  • Planet Home (2010), co-authored by Alexandra Zissu

What Matters Most provides a framework for business leaders to assess their company’s performance and adopt a socially responsible approach. The Responsibility Revolution offers insights into how companies can build a better future and hold themselves accountable for the results.


Hollender has received several accolades for his contributions to sustainable business and social responsibility:

  • 2004 Terry Ehrich Award
  • Fast Company Fast 50
  • Winning Workplaces’ Best Bosses Award 2006 (sponsored by FORTUNE)
  • 2012 NYU Stern’s Citi Leadership & Ethics Program Distinguished Fellow

Recent Work

Hollender’s latest work on net positive, sustainable business was published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in April 2015, continuing his advocacy for responsible and impactful business practices.


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