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William R. Bill Blackburn

  • Bill BlackburnWilliam R. Blackburn is president of William Blackburn Consulting, Ltd., focusing on sustainability; environment, health and safety management; and emergency and crisis response. The firm is a social enterprise with all revenues beyond taxes and other expenses going to The Green Hollow Center, a nature preserve and sustainability learning center in the Loess Hills of Southwest Iowa.  He has served companies like Novartis, United Stationers Supply, ConEd, Continental, Covanta Energy, General Dynamics, Genentech, Hospira, Southwire, Medtronic, SPX, Integrated DNA Technologies and Follett Corporation, as well as a number of business associations, major universities, and nonprofits.  

    Bill is a frequent lecturer around the world.  He has over 40 years’ experience in environmental law and management.  Until 2003 he was vice president and chief counsel, Corporate Environment, Health and Safety and the sustainability leader at Baxter International Inc., a $14 billion global manufacturer of health-care products based in Deerfield, Illinois.  At Baxter, he led efforts in pioneering innovative environmental management standards; EHS performance measures and goals; public reporting on corporate EHS and sustainability; environmental cost and income statements; and emergency response programs. Under his leadership, the Baxter EHS program received over 300 external awards.  The company is in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and has regularly been recognized at the Davos World Economic Forum as among the top 100 most sustainable large companies in the world.  Bill’s book, The Sustainability Handbook—The Complete Management Guide to AchievingSocial, Economic, and Environmental Responsibility, was published by the Environmental Law Institute and Earthscan in 2007, (2nd edition in 2015), and is used for course work at Harvard and other universities.  It is also available in Mandarin Chinese.

    Bill is former chair of Chief EHS Officers Council I of The Conference Board, a business association, and the former senior research fellow at the organization’s Center for Corporate Citizenship & Sustainability.  From 2007-09, he was co-chair of the Climate Change, Sustainable Development and Ecosystems Committee of the American Bar Association, which was selected the top-rated committee among 40 in its section.  At the ABA, he led the development of a model sustainability policy and implementation guide for law firms. Bill is a member of the Sustainability Leadership Council of Loyola University’s Quinlan School of Business in Chicago.  In addition, he is a founding member of the Stakeholder Council of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a coalition of non-profits, investors, academics, companies, and others promoting public reporting by organizations on sustainability performance.