At Fortune’s recent Brainstorm Green conference, Green Wombat had a chance to get a guided tour of Sierra Club Green Home — the new for-profit online venture of the venerable Sierra Club — from Jennifer Schwab, the startup’s sustainability director.
As interesting as the site is the business model being pursued by the 117-year-old non-profit. As I wrote in my Green State column on Grist:
It’s not unusual these days for big green groups to get in bed with business, but one of the oldest and most-respected environmental organizations—the Sierra Club—is going them one better by getting into business itself.
The San Francisco-based Sierra Club has launched a for-profit online venture called Sierra Club Green Home as a one-stop shop for information and services to green up your lifestyle and decarbonize your abode.
Sierra Club Green Home is a joint venture between the 117-year-old institution and a group of individual investors—or “donors” as they like to call themselves. “It’s the social entrepreneurship model,” says Gordon Wangers, the company’s marketing chief and one of the donor/investors. “A non-profit finds some enterprising business types who are committed to a cause but bring business savvy to a venture and have the skills and wherewithal to run it.”
Wangers thinks it’s a model for other green groups as the economic collapse zaps the fortunes of their well-heeled donors.
You can read the rest of the column here.