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The entrepreneurs of Environmental Entrepreneurs have raised $1 million for the National Resources Defense Council. E2, as it is called, was formed just about two years ago by Bob Epstein, the founder of Sybase Inc., and Nicole Lederer, a former Stanford University medical researcher and environmental activist. Their purpose was to get environmentally sensitive businesses to speak out on environmental issues and send a check to the NRDC. (None of the money goes through E2.)
Last year, E2 members raised $750,000. As of early June this year, they had raised $1 million. E2's fiscal year ends June 30, so the amount could rise.
What got Mr. Epstein and Ms. Lederer going was their realization that there were few business voices to be heard on behalf of traditional environmental causes. They wanted to change that. "We wanted to see business interests acting on behalf of environmental interests," Ms. Lederer said. "This had not been done before."
The current debate in Sacramento over AB 1058, the bill that would direct the Air Pollution Control Board to set standards for carbon dioxide emitted by cars and light trucks, is a good example. E2 supports the bill. "We didn't want legislators to hear that business was opposed to the bill," Mr. Epstein said. Of course that's just what car dealers are saying, but in the case of E2's 180 members, it's not quite true.
Among the issues that Mr. Epstein and Ms. Lederer hope to tackle next are pollution from power plants and the preservation of fisheries in the Channel Islands. Their efforts would bring executives to the table. "It's too rare, which is why we exist," Mr. Epstein says.